Back in March of last year, Phillip Torrone wrote on his MAKE: Blog -
"Very soon, credit card companies and game makers will reward their customers who spend money in the real world using private label "rewards" credit cards. They will use gifts of virtual currency such as Blizzard's World of Warcraft gold and Second Life's Linden dollars... It's not a matter of if, just when - credit card companies, Pay Pal, Amazon, eBay and the individual "gaming" companies eventually bridge the real and virtual currencies with loyalty programs and private label credit cards - there's too much money out there to -not- to do this. This "demographic" is the battleground."
When I read what Torrone wrote last year, my reaction was - "He's absolutely right. As virtual economies grow, this one is a no-brainer"
Now, just more than a year later, Torrone's prediction has finally come true as Blizzard Entertainment announced this week that they've partnered with the First National Bank of Omaha to issue the first World of Warcraft Rewards Visa card. With the card, Wow gamers earn game time by using it for normal credit card purchases. Users accrue World of Warcraft game time at a rate of 1 percent of every dollar they spend. There is no annual fee and there is also an introductory rate of 0 percent APR for the first 12 months.
Personally, I'm surprised that it's taken so long for Blizzard to partner with a credit card company. It makes sense that Second Life will follow suit very soon.