Services & Software

Facebook sued over social-gaming currency

Gambit, a virtual currency and payment-processing provider, is accusing the social-networking giant of breaking antitrust laws, according to a Bloomberg report.

Kickflip has sued Facebook, claiming the social-networking giant broke antitrust laws in the social gaming currency market, according to a report.

The company, operating as virtual currency and payment-processing provider Gambit, said Facebook's decision in 2009 to offer its own similar services to developers killed a "vibrant and competitive market," according to federal court papers examined by Bloomberg.

Such a service allows gaming providers to issue currency to players in exchange for real money or advertising offers.

Kickflip's complaint says that Facebook marginalized its competitors by "blacklisting" Gambit and forcing developers to use only Facebook's services in 2009 and 2010, according to Bloomberg.

Kickflip wants a judge to bar Facebook from enforcing its policy, and it also is requesting unspecified damages.

A Facebook spokesman, meanwhile, said that "we believe the lawsuit is without merit and will defend ourselves vigorously."

The idea of Facebook creditsfirst debuted in 2008 when the social network changed the monetary units for its "gifts" into "credits," rather than U.S. dollars. Then, throughout 2009 and 2010, the company rolled out a way for developers to work credits into their apps on Facebook's platform.

These credits can be used on hundreds of games and apps available on Facebook, such as Farmville, and be spent at select retailers, like Target. Facebook takes 30 percent of sales.