Wednesday, February 06, 2013

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Amazon to Launch Its Own Virtual Currency Soon

Amazon Virtual Currency

Well here's an interesting development: In May, Amazon will start selling its own virtual currency for U.S. customers to spend on apps, games, and in-app virtual goods on Kindle Fire. This adds more context to Linden Lab's recent move to selling Second Life starter packs on Amazon, joining many other free-to-play products on the retail site, because with a universal currency, Amazon now has an even better means of monetizing free-to-play games. Yes, Facebook tried to launch its own virtual currency, Facebook Credits, which failed to gain traction and was subsequently discontinued. Unlike Facebook, however, here's the thing:

Online Amazon users almost by definition have their credit card info and other payment methods already registered in the system. (There's also Amazon gift cards available at the nearest department/drugstore.) So this seems like a very smart move. Perhaps not coincidentally, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is a lead investor in Linden Lab, among other interactive entertainment companies.

Hat tip: Gamasutra.com

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Shockwave Yareach

As cool as it would be if Amazon chose the Linden as the currency, and as much business this could create for SL, I don't see LL agreeing to give up its cash cow charging for L purchases. And Amazon can't give LL the job of handling the L purchases and just reporting back to Amazon, since Amazon has the card data, not LL.

Perhaps the best we can hope for will be a Zonie unit of currency, and that that currency can be converted into Lindens by LL (for a small fee of course). It would be a good idea to be able to transfer L into Zonies too (for another small fee to LL). That way creators can put their creations on Amazon and sell them in Second Life, Inworldz, or any other Opensim group, with everyone using Zonies for the purchase no matter what system they use.

Then again, supporting an out-of-company marketplace which could then sell merchandise to other less expensive VWs, could be cutting LL's own throat. They bought Xstreet to prevent such a cross network marketplace from forming -- surely not even LL is dense enough to deliberately create for the competition the main thing they lack -- an economy.

Dartagan Shepherd

It's a good move for the Fire ecosystem. Not sure about the context statement to LL or their Amazon starter packs.

Amazon currency is for Fire apps, SL isn't going to become a Fire app, or likely to move over to Amazon currency.

At least Amazon is offering their currency at fixed rates rather than hokey conversion/exchange rates though.

And of course they'll be doing this:

"When Amazon Coins launches in May, we will be giving out tens of millions of dollars worth of Coins to customers to spend on Kindle Fire apps, games, or in-app items."

As opposed to LL selling $10-25 starter packs with a couple of vehicles for real currency.

elizabeth (16)

agree with shockwave

for creators of digital stuff we need a bank. a great big one like Amazon to start with. and others to follow

a interwebz bank where we can trade virtual tokens freely and safely. store them for us and allow us to convert/buy RL things with them as well

is very important this for the future of the interwebz. and the world generally

bc automation/computerization/etc replacing more and more traditional manual labour and service jobs. can see this now happening in the economic papers. increases in GDP/production/wealth no longer translate into jobs

so more and more we going to have to turn to personal creativity and services to replace this as this next century unfold

our Governments aren't going to do this for us. bc of the impact on their own traditional monetary sovereignties. so someone/something else going to have to make it happen

when it happens it will relegate RL sovereignties to regulatory policy only. not economic/fiscal policy. is going to be hard for them this. but it will happen. bc government economic policy all by itself cant create sustainable employment. in this now new environment

if they could then it be happening now. but it isnt. longterm traditional unemployment is trending up. and is going to keep going up. so we going to have to do something about it ourselves. bc our elected polies simply not able to bc of the sovereignty implications


Wolf Baginski

People have been talking about micropayments over the internet for as long as I have been using it (and I have had my own domain name for longer than Second Life has had one).

Paypal looked useful, and I still use it, but it isn't a micropayment system. The only system which seems to have any legs, and then only in a restricted domain, is the L$. I can see Amazon wanting to emulate that in their Kindle Fire App Store. One real-money transaction, with a minimum set by whatever minimum fees there might be, and then people spending the tokens as they wish.

Unlike the SL Marketplace, I expect Amazon's system to work as advertised/ I also expect Amazon to be rapacious tax-dodging bastards. Is this really going to change anything important?

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