Too good to miss is the news that Visa has teamed up with the World of Warcraft alternate reality/massively multi-player online role playing game (depending on your preferences) to offer a US card which contributes to the cost of the monthly Warcraft subscription.
Obviously it’s no different in principle from any other affinity-based card, although the Visa terms and conditions don’t sit completely comfortably in the World of Warcraft design style. And it’s not a great offer; a month’s free sub when you make your first purchase, thereafter a cent off your monthly sub for every dollar you spend on the card (so you need to spend $1,500 a month for a free month of Warcraft). The most significant drawback to use, though, may be identify conflict caused by the fact that Warcraft players need to use their Warcraft name to sign up – thereby connecting it back to their ‘meatspace’ name.
But this must only be a first step. It can only be matter of time before the rewards move beyond earth-based money to virtual currency. As Philip Torrone predicted more than a year ago:
“credit card companies and game makers will reward their customers who spend money in the real world using private label “rewards” credit cards. They will use gifts of virtual currency such as Blizzard’s World of Warcraft gold and Second Life’s Linden dollars.”
Thanks to Core 77 for the tip.