Facebook‘s virtual currency, Facebook Credits, will become the official coin of the realm beginning July 1, 2011. On that day, all social game developers on the Facebook platform will be required to process payments through Facebook Credits.
Currently, Facebook Credits is accepted as payment in around 350 apps from 150 developers, including 22 of the top 25 Facebook games. Credits is used for more than 70% of all virtual goods bought and sold on Facebook.
Facebooker Deborah Liu writes on the Facebook Developer Blog, “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.”
Between now and July, Facebook will be working with developers to ensure that every Facebook social game is using Credits, to help developers improve their revenues and to tweak the product to give users the best possible experience. Interested devs can check out Facebook’s Credits page for developers.
Facebook’s decision is fantastic for the company’s bottom line; the social network company takes a 30% cut of all Facebook Credits revenues. In other words, if you pay $2.00 for a talking horse on FarmVille, Facebook collects $0.60 from the Zynga. Already, Credits has made promising contributions to the company’s ever-rising revenue estimates (currently at $2 billion annual for 2010.
The Facebook Credits product has come a long way since its inception almost two years ago. About a year after Facebook Credits was first posited as an online payment option, Zynga adopted the product for use in FarmVille, then Facebook’s largest social game with 80 million users.
What we can’t wait to see is how the virtual currency will be used in the future, particularly in non-gaming apps, for non-virtual goods or for off-Facebook purchases. We’re also wondering if and when Facebook Credits will become the only kind of currency allowed for Facebook apps — a move that could spell amazing things for Facebook’s revenue but that could also bring negative consequences for developers and end users. We’ll continue to report on Facebook Credits as it rolls out to more games this year; stay tuned.