Games company EA strikes virtual currency deal with Facebook

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Electronic Arts said Tuesday that it has reached a five-year agreement with Facebook that calls for the social network’s virtual currency to be the exclusive payment method for EA games.

More than 200-million people play games on Facebook every month and “Pet Society” and “Restaurant City” from EA division Playfish are among the top 10 games on the social network.

The Redwood City, California-based videogame maker bought the London-based Playfish, the largest supplier of Facebook games after Zynga, a year ago for up to US$400-million.

EA said the five-year “strategic relationship” with Facebook calls for Facebook Credits to be the sole currency used to purchase virtual goods in EA games.

EA said it will receive the standard 70 percent of the revenue from Facebook Credits with Facebook getting 30 percent.

“Since gaming has emerged as the most popular category of applications on Facebook, the natural next step is for EA to broaden its relationship with Facebook and its 500-million users,” EA Interactive senior vice president and general manager Barry Cottle said in a statement.

“We are pleased to enter into this long-term partnership with EA to make it easier for people to purchase virtual goods across some of the most popular games on Facebook,” said Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships and platform marketing at Facebook.

“Playfish has a great reputation for building high-quality games on Facebook, and we look forward to working even more closely with them and the larger team at EA,” Rose said.

EA also plans to bring Monopoly, Pogo, Scrabble and Boggle to Facebook.

Popular EA videogame titles include “Rock Band,” “Madden NFL10″ and “The Sims.”

EA shares were up 1.20 percent in afternoon trading in New York at US$15.99 dollars. – AFP

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