Nearly Three Quarters Default on "Kwedit" Offered Online

That anyone pays at all may still mean boon to game publishers

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Mar 12, 2010  |  Updated 3:30 PM PDT
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Silicon Valley High-Tech Company Tour

Kwedit

Don't worry, Kweddy the duck won't come to your house and demand payment, but he may foreclose on your virtual house.

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The sales pitch for startup Kwedit is that it allows you to "Play now, pay later."

Which you might be surprised to learn is not a translation of the motto e pluribus unum that appears on currency in the United States.

Instead, the company allows you to buy virtual goods -- those virtual tractors you play with on Zynga's FarmVille, for example -- with virtual currency in games by making a promise to actually send them your real American dollars later.

So far? Only 26 percent have made good on their promise.

Of course, since it costs Zynga essentially nothing to sell a virtual tractor, any unpaid debts don't actually cost the game developers -- companies don't need 100 percent of Kwedit's borrowers to make good in order to still earn some revenue.

The site has proven controversial, though not controversial enough to keep it from garnering $3.3 million in venture capital investment. Stephen Colbert openly mocked it in his inimitable fashion during the Colbert Report last month.

In response, Kwedit CEO Danny Shader says it's only available to children over 13, that nobody will get kneecapped for lack of payment, and the cute cartoon duck that seemed targeted to younger children has been taken behind the virtual shed and figuratively shot.

Meaning children will have to wait for college before they can ruin their credit ratings and get hammered with interest and fees by filling out credit-card applications on campus in exchange for a cheap T-shirt. Or maybe a hat.

God bless America.

Jackson West has never paid for a "virtual good," not even credit default swaps.

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