FarmVille in the real world

FarmVille is, I hear, some kind of game one plays on Facebook. Well, not just one; the game has over 82 million active users as of May 2010. I’ve never tried it myself, so I don’t really know what makes it so fun or addictive. And although I knew of it in passing, I thought it was confined to Facebook.

Not so.

FarmVille (and its sister games such as Mafia Wars) have entered the real world, the one that you and I live in, through (of all places) 7-11. I was driving along a week ago when I noticed this billboard. That’s right, if you buy a Slurpee, you get a “virtual gift” in the FarmVille world. The gift turns out to be 200 “FarmVille dollars.” Am I the only one who finds this utterly bizarre? I’m aware that people buy and sell virtual goods for real dollars in Second Life. I know that some MMORPG players pay others real dollars to generate game commodities like experience points or gold. But for these virtual objects and services to obtain a “real world” value, they have to reach a certain level of social dissemination and perceived value in a large real-world community. And certainly, 82 million people is a large community — I hadn’t realized just how many people were playing this game.

I now wonder how much of an incentive 200 $FV is. What’s that worth to anyone? Is there an exchange rate with USD? To those of you who’ve played FarmVille: would the promise of 200 $FV be enough to persuade you to buy a Slurpee?