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back to article US lawyers float Facebook Credits antitrust suit

US attorneys are trying to drum up interest in a potential case against Facebook, claiming its Credits virtual currency is breaking US antitrust law. The firm, Newman DuWors, has thrown up the site Stopfacebookcredits.com to attract game developers and providers of virtual currencies who believe their businesses have been or are …

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$100m?

More like 100 million magic beans

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Zynga games are still able to use game cards bought online or at retail outlets so I don't see that the case has any merit.

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Anonymous Coward

OK so the lawyers are fishing for clients for a class-action suit? Things must be slow in lawyer-land.

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Headmaster

Rather pathetic

Next time you go to the casino, try and bet marbles instead of the casino's chips, see where that gets you. Or try paying in zlotys on a US website, for that matter.

Although it would be interesting to see FB lose this one; surely itunes, Sony, Microsoft (no, maybe not them, I hear they dropped MS points) etc would be next against the wall, with a nice jurisprudence too.

Seriously, whoever pays this guy for that suicide lawsuit has to be the nuttiest nutter in the sucksack. Especially as FB only has a monopole on, erm, FB; I am sure all Zucky-Zucky's lawyers will have to do will be to point at Google+ advertised figures and the lawsuit will be classed as frivolous faster than you can say "Sorry your Honor my attorney turned out to be a crook".

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Boffin

Re: Rather pathetic

Actually the answer is that it depends...

First suppose there's a company ... Wild Bob's Jerky Shop that has an external Website along with its own brick and mortar shop. They have presence on FB and accept FB credits. Suppose they honor FB credits on their external site too. Then what you have is FB creating its own currency. Then the case has merit.

Is this the case? Or is FB currency only good on FB? That's why its a tough call.

So ...

As to your argument... It falls flat. You have a casino. You exchange $5.00 USD for a chip. That chip is only good for that specific casino and if the casino changes the chips out, that old chip has no real value. So its a marker not currency. Nor could you use that chip as currency off the floor.

But I agree... lawyers fishing to see if they can get class action status for an easy win.( Read: Settlement)

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Re: Re: Rather pathetic

> As to your argument... It falls flat. You exchange $5.00 USD for a chip. That chip is only good for that specific casino and if the casino changes the chips out, that old chip has no real value. So its a marker not currency. Nor could you use that chip as currency off the floor.

I might be mistaken, but isn't it exactly how FB credits work? I also suspect that in casino-rich areas (Vegas, Monte Carlo, ...) you can actually use your chips off the floor, because everyone will recognise them for what they are worth, and know where to exchange them for real money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Rather pathetic

xRegarding Las Vegas, a hotel's chips are limited to that hotel. Even casinos owned by the same company will not accept a sister casino's chips. For example, MGM Mirage own several casinos linked by skybridges, but New York New York won't let you gamble with MGM Grand chips but will allow you to accrue rewards points/ meal comps across the company.

Back to Facebook, I'm not sure how much this differs from XBox Live's use of Microsoft Points. Perhaps the crux would be the fact that Xbox isn't holding a majority of the console game market while Facebook is the undisputed dominate force in social networks. Unless FB are taking a fee for using FB credits, I really don't see the problem that makes this an antitrust issue.

(Are they skimming revenue from FB credits or is it a straight passthrough in exchange for customer habits and purchase info?)

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Rather pathetic

> a hotel's chips are limited to that hotel.

Again, what is the difference with FB credits?

> Facebook is the undisputed dominate force in social networks

I wouldn't be so bold. They are dominant only in their section of the social network market. Even if you only consider "leisure general purpose social networks", not so undisputedly dominant, especially if you take Google's figures at face value (I am sure Zucky-Zucky's lawyers will). Then there is the argument that "leisure general purpose social networks" is not a market /per se/ when it comes to online games or apps. There are plenty of game sites, many of which have "social" features. And, of course, one is always free to launch one's own website. It would be a monopoly if you technically _had_ to use it to reach customers (a bit like MS Windows in the old days, when you could not find a Windows-free computer). Don't forget that FB is _just_ another website. It has a wide audience, so it facilitates the herding of customers, but there is absolutely no technical requirement to go through them. None at all. If you can access Facebook, you can access any other website where the disgruntled devs might put their apps.

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Re: Re: Re: Rather pathetic

"I might be mistaken, but isn't it exactly how FB credits work? I also suspect that in casino-rich areas (Vegas, Monte Carlo, ...) you can actually use your chips off the floor, because everyone will recognise them for what they are worth, and know where to exchange them for real money.

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Try it and see how far you get....

I don't do FB so I don't know how their credits work... Read my initial post. I was commenting that for the suit to hold merit that the credits would have to be accepted by non Facebook third parties.

It's an interesting argument.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rather pathetic

Pierre, I'm not in disagreement with you regarding Facebook credits; I don't see a vaild antitrust case where a party could show that Facebook a) has a monopoly and b) used that monopoly to cause that party harm as Microsoft was found to have done to Netscape.

I do disagree that one was forced to use Windows. Alternatives existed even in the old days and one could do just peachy without Windows. What Microsoft did was to use their OS dominance to coerce OEMs not to install Netscape, while integrating IE so thoroughly to Windows that complete removal was highly difficult.

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Apple methods

I actually went and read the blurb by the landsharks. They accuse FB of doing the same as Apple (30% share, prices must be the same on other platforms). Although FB lacks the device lock-in that makes Apple's system quite a bit worst.

No, really, I can't see the lawsuit OR the attempt at settlement working. But if it does work, then clearly Apple is next.

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WTF?

Re: Apple methods

Huh?

So how is Apple creating a currency?

I think you're confusing the cost of an app through Apple's App Store and buying credits to be used for an online game.

Again IANAL and I don't use FB so I can't really say anything about the merits of the case, just comment that the case may hold some merit. If even enough to not get tossed, it will more than likely force FB to settle.

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Re: Re: Apple methods

>So how is Apple creating a currency?

I'm not saying that, I'm saying that it's what the website complains about.

>the case may hold some merit.

If they can prove that FB has a monopoly on the internet, yes.

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