但在另一些游戏中，比如说《德州扑克牌》（ Zynga Poker）的虚拟货币使用可能将遵从当地的博彩法规条款。在线博彩活动在一些州中受到高度管制，在另一些地区则完全违法。但Zynga提交的应用专利申请强调，其虚拟货币的创新之处在它只有一种交易形式：玩家可以将现金存入系统中，但只进不出，不可再取出来，这样就避免了博彩活动的管制风险。
Facebook之前已推出Facebook Credits作为该社交网站游戏的通用虚拟货币，并从Facebook Credits交易中抽成30%，这一操作很是让Zynga和其他开发商恼火。如果本次专利申请获得批准，Zynga与其他公司在进行商业谈判时将会更具发言权（Zynga是Facebook上最大的广告主之一）。
Why social game maker Zynga wants a patent on virtual currencies
Zynga, the creator of social networking games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, has filed a patent on purchased in-game currency.
Online games have long offered virtual currencies, usually earned by performing actions within a game. The currency can then be traded for in-game objects which help players progress within the game. But they have not traditionally been something one can purchase legally. As a result, booming bootleg economies have sprung up around these games, leading to illicit operations in China and other countries known as “gold farms,” which pay third-world workers to play games hours on end and then trade in-game objects for real money.
Zynga’s twist on this business model has been to embrace and profit from gold-farming behavior. Rather than force players to go on the black market to buy in-game objects, Zynga freely sells its game currencies, like FarmVille Cash and FrontierVille Horseshoes.
For some of its games, like Zynga Poker, the use of virtual currency might fall under state gambling guidelines. Online gambling is highly regulated in some states, illegal in others. But Zynga’s patent application stresses that one of its virtual-currency innovations is that the currency exchange is one-way: Players can send cash into the system, but they can’t take cash out, arguably avoiding the risk of regulation as gambling.
The patent filing, on which Zynga CEO Mark Pincus’s name is listed as one of the inventors, is arguably defensive, potentially orestalling intellectual-property claims against Zynga. But it could also give Zynga leverage in its negotiations with Facebook, the social network which connects most of Zynga’s players with each other.
Facebook has sought to push Facebook Credits as the medium of exchange for virtual currencies in games played on Facebook. It reportedly takes a 30 percent cut of Facebook Credits transactions, an additional cost which Zynga and other app makers have bristled at paying. Facebook and Zynga have signed a five-year agreement committing Zynga to the use of Facebook Credits. But the patent, if granted, could give Zynga leverage in ongoing negotiations on other commercial issues between the companies. (Zynga is believed to be one of the largest advertisers on Facebook.)
A patent on how virtual currencies operate would also secure Zynga’s position as the dominant player in social games. Zynga is already the largest developer of games on social networks like Facebook. But there is a good bit of competition from other social networking game companies like Playdom and Playfish. Disney recently acquired Playdom for about $760 million, while gaming giant Electronic Arts picked up Playfish for around $400 million.
San Francisco-based Zynga is one of the fastest-growing gaming companies in history, with more than 1,200 employees now across studios in 12 cities. The company recently took a seven-year lease on a new headquarters in San Francisco’s South of Market district. That office can accommodate as many as 2,000 people. It’s been on a bit of an expansion kick as well, opening up offices in Dallas and Seattle.（source：venturebeat）