developer Zynga is offering an unadvertised Platinum Purchase Program to gamers looking to spend large amounts of real cash to buy virtual currency and goods in its titles.
Though the company's Facebook shop allows consumers to buy as much as $200 in digital credits at a time, the Platinum Purchase Program caters to those who want to spend even more -- its minimum purchases are set at $500 and require a non-refundable wire transfer.
Zynga's special program isn't advertised on its site or games, but there's an incentive for big spenders to find it, as they can earn bonus virtual currency for titles like FarmVille
and Mafia Wars
with their purchase. They receive even more credits by referring friends to the program, too.
The mainstream discovery of the program, which is described
by Gawker as "The Secret Dealer For Farmville Addicts", follows just a few days after Lightspeed Research published survey results
showing that 17 percent of social gamers consider themselves "addicted" to social games.
While the percentage of social gamers who spend more than $25 per month on a title is low, a previous study
by Social Gold found that top spenders, often called "whales" by developers and monetization firms, can sometimes buy tens of thousands of dollars worth of virtual currency.