Target (s tgt) will become the first brick-and-mortar retailer to carry Facebook Credits, the social network’s virtual currency, the chain announced today. The virtual currency will make its real-world debut on Sept. 5 in the form of Facebook Credit gift cards, which will be available in $15, $25 and $50 denominations at the retailer’s 1,750 stores. The $15 version was created specifically for Target, the retailer said. The cards can be used to buy goods in more than 150 different Facebook applications and games such as FarmVille and Bejeweled.
This isn’t the first deal that will see virtual currency related to Facebook make its way into the real world. Last month, the social network signed an agreement with MOL Global — the giant Malaysian company that acquired Friendster — which allows Facebook users to buy MOLPoints through the chain’s network of more than 500,000 outlets, including cybercafes, convenience stores and banks. The points can be used to buy virtual goods on Facebook in a variety of applications and games. Offering such deals is a way for the social network to connect its online offerings with people’s real-world lives and potentially expand its user base.
Zynga, the social-gaming giant whose Mafia Wars, FarmVille and other games depend heavily on the Facebook platform, has also been doing a virtual-currency related promotion through the 7-11 chain of stores under a deal announced earlier this year. Gamers who bought specific products in the chain’s 7,000 stores could get redemption codes for virtual goods inside one of the company’s Facebook games such as FarmVille.
Google (s goog) is getting into the virtual currency market too: Earlier this month, the search giant — which has acquired a series of social-gaming related companies such as Slide and SocialDeck, as part of its strategy to compete with Facebook in the social-networking market — bought a company called Jambool, whose main business is a virtual currency platform for games called Social Gold.
Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): Why Google Should Fear the Social Web