Facebook is throwing its muscle into its vaunted application platform, requiring that its Facebook Credits system be used by all social game developers to process payments on the social network.
Launched to beta in 2009, Credits is a virtual currency system that lets consumers enter their payment information once to buy goods and earn money on games in the social network.
10 Facebook Credits cost $1 for consumers, who pay for their digital goods via a credit card, gift cards, eBay’s PayPal payment service and via mobile phones.
Facebook said Credits currently processes more than 70 percent of virtual goods transactions on the network, spanning more than 350 applications from Zynga, PlayFish and other game developers. Developers using Credits keep 70 percent of the revenue from virtual goods transactions.
However, Facebook wants to expand the effort both in the United States and overseas. To wit, the company is ordering the remaining 30 percent of developers using other virtual currency platforms on Facebook to switch to Credits, so on July 1 it will flip the switch to make all games developers use its homegrown system.
Deb Liu, a platform marketing manager at Facebook, said the company’s platform engineers will help “onboard” developers who are not yet using Credits.
Liu added that Facebook will incentivize developers who use Credits as their in-game currency by granting them featured placement on the Games Dashboard, premium ad targeting and new co-promotion opportunities.
“We’re excited to give Facebook users the confidence that when they purchase Facebook Credits or receive them as a gift, they can spend them in any game on Facebook,” Liu added.
Facebook is hardly the only Internet giant with an interest in virtual goods payment systems. Google in August acquired virtual payment system Jambool as part of its social software acquisition spree that included Slide and SocialDeck, as well as a $100 million investment in Facebook partner Zynga.
Jambool’s Solid Gold virtual payment platform allowed application developers to insert payment options into online games and other applications. The assumption with that buy is that Google is building its own social games offering within its broad Web services network.
Adding fuel to that fire is the fact that Google recentlylured Johnny Chung Lee, a noted “core contributor” for the Microsoft Kinect gaming sensor used for the Xbox 360, from Microsoft.