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EA's Pogo Adds Virtual Currency To Service

Officials from publisher Electronic Arts have announced that Pogo.com, the company's casual games portal, has launched its Pogo Gems program, introducing virtual currency and microtransactions to the site, as the casual game biz continues to heat up.
Officials from publisher Electronic Arts have announced that Pogo.com, the company's casual games portal, has launched its Pogo Gems program, introducing virtual currency and microtransactions to the site. Packages of the gems will range in price from $4.99 to $19.99 and be used by players to get special site items, including "Premium Badge Albums, Mix-n-Match Badge Albums and Pogo Mini add-ons." Pogo's "badge" system, somewhat akin to Xbox Live's "achievement" system, sees players on the service taking part in weekly challenges to earn badges to be displayed in albums or on a player's profile. The 6 premium badge albums now offered on the site contain additional challenges to be undertaken and extra badges to be earned and displayed. Similarly, the new Mix-n-Match albums allows players to customize their albums by selecting which badges they'd like to display. The Pogo Mini system is Pogo.com's avatar program, giving players a chance to build their own customizable representation of themselves, and the new purchasable Pogo Mini add-ons allows for new exclusive animated content to be added to the avatars, including special lighting, butterflies, and animated backgrounds. EA's Pogo site currently sees an average of 15.8 million users a month with a dedicated community of players, and offers a variety of cash and prize-based prizes through its online games. The site is also home to Club Pogo, a premium subscription based service, with exclusive games, better community features, and ad-free game play, which EA notes currently is home to 1.3 million subscribers. Commented EA VP and executive producer Andrew Pedersen, “For the three past years, Club Pogo players have enjoyed collecting badge albums and customizing their online avatars. The badge collection system has been hugely successful and the adoption rates really strong. Today, players are asking for more." He continued: "With this new Pogo Gems system, players get more badges and can further customize, dress-up and animate their Pogo Mini. It is a simple and fun way for players to enrich their online experience and express themselves in on of their favorite online playgrounds.” Gamasutra will debut an extended interview with Pedersen in the near future.

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