Bringing the Hammer Down

As widely anticipated, Facebook makes their virtual currency, Facebook Credits a  mandatory option for all social game developers that use a payment system.  Articles and analysis from:

The Wall Street Journal ” Facebook began testing Credits as a form of currency with some developers in 2009. It says they are now used in more than 350 applications from 150 developers, representing more than 70% of virtual goods transactions volume on Facebook.”

WebProNews “ Users and developers shouldn’t react with too much dismay.  Other in-game currencies will be still be permitted, and Facebook intends to let developers keep 70 percent of the revenue from transactions that involve Facebook Credits.”

The Street ” While some game developers have their own currency payment methods, most large app companies already use Facebook Credits.” 

GigaOM ” Facebook developers will have the option of using their own payment system in addition to Facebook Credits but Facebook will be offering incentives like early access to product features and on-site promotion to help get them on board fully.”

Forbes “ Forex traders and global conspiracy theorists take note: with close to 600 million people using the system, we could be watching a Dollar rival spring to life. To the bunkers! ”

TechCrunch “ This is about more than purple cows and gold coins, too — in the long run, Facebook has a strong incentive to maximize the number of users who are signed up for Credits. Right now the vast majority of Credits are spent on gaming, but it’s very likely that Facebook will eventually begin allowing third-party websites to offer a ‘Pay With Facebook’ option, and that may include everything from digital content to physical goods.”

Video: interviews with social game developers concerning the initial Facebook Credits announcement at the  f8 Conference (about 10 months ago)

 

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Facebook Credits poised for a massive 2011.

The following are articles that discuss the explosive growth of Facebook Credits virtual currency.

SFGate discusses the growing momentum of Facebook’s virtual currency, “Facebook Credits”. From the article:

” Facebook members use a regular credit card, PayPal account or mobile phone account to buy a certain value of Facebook Credits, starting with 15 credits for $1.50. Facebook Credits accepts payments using 15 currencies, including dollars, euros and yen.”

Inside Social Games has an excellent article about Facebook making a serious push to get social game players to purchase Facebook Credits virtual currency in 2011. From the article:

” Facebook, then, seems to have prioritized moving all direct payments over to Credits before messing with the variety of alternative payment options. That progression allows it to get Credits in front of the bulk of paying users while giving developers more flexibility around the switch. “

The Independent offers additional prespective on Facebook Credits.

” But some analysts believe the growth of this could become far wider if Facebook created more of its own games. Some predict that eventually Facebook credits could become currency to buy actual real-world products via the Facebook network. ”

SFGate discusses Facebook’s recent 50 Billion valuation within the context of Facebook Credits “tax”.

” Unlike Google or Microsoft, Facebook won’t have to figure out how to diversify its revenue. It just has to sit back and wait for the next Zynga or Groupon, design a way to tax that business (the way it suddenly sprouted Facebook Credits when Zynga got huge), and profit from the tax. ”

AllFacebook discusses forecast that project Facebook Credits eventually(potentially) generating $8 Billion a year.

” That’s exactly what Albert Babayev over at Seeking Alpha has concluded, after developing a model based on the future projections of Facebook revenue, with him expecting Facebook Credits to eventually become an $8 billion a year business. :

Reuters discusses TapJoy’s alternative ads for virtual currency model and the potential impact of Facebook Credits.

” Facebook plans to migrate its entire system over to Facebook Credits, an official virtual currency for all the applications running on the social network. But that hasn’t happened just yet, leading Tapjoy to bring in its best month of virtual currency transactions yet in December, Jessup said. Tapjoy is already prepared for the upcoming switch over to Facebook Credits, and is used on a number of other social networking sites like MySpace and Yahoo. “

 

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MocoSpace moves into Mobile Social Games

Mobile web developer MocoSpace is growing quickly and integrating mobile social games and virtual currency into its growth strategy. Articles and analysis from:

Forbes ” The company has recently taken its mobile Web strategy to its new MocoSpace Game Platform. It is allowing third-party developers to create browser-based games in HTML5, instead of native apps to each phone.”

SFGate ” By building games on the mobile browser, developers can reach more players’ social graph and allow games to gain popularity on a wider range of mobile devices. “

VentureBeat ” MocoSpace was founded as an entertainment destination on the mobile internet in 2005 and has more than 15 million registered users who view about 3 billion pages a month.”

 

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Virtual Showdown

Social gaming giant Zynga goes for the jugular and files for a patent for  non-redeemable virtual currency. Is this move intended as a bargaining chip with Facebook or something much larger? Articles and analysis from:

TechCrunch ” While at first glance it seems like the patent’s strictures only pertain to poker chips, it explicitly references Zynga games Zynga Poker and Farmville in its “Examples of Embodiments” section, which delinates both “Non-Redeemable Virtual Currency” and “Non-Redeemable Virtual Poker Chips” as inventions that Zynga is claiming the rights to.”

AllFacebook ” For Facebook the stakes are higher. The social networking site earns a 30% cut every time Credits are used to buy virtual goods in a game. With the burgeoning popularity of social games on Facebook, it would be a serious blow if it lost this growing source of revenue.”

VentureBeat ” The patent filing, on which Zynga CEO Mark Pincus’s name is listed as one of the inventors, is arguably defensive, potentially orestalling intellectual-property claims against Zynga. But it could also give Zynga leverage in its negotiations with Facebook, the social network which connects most of Zynga’s players with each other.”

Online-Casinos.com ” Zynga’s patent application points out however that its virtual-currency uniqueness is that the currency exchange is only one-way. Players can put money in but they can’t take it out thus circumventing the online gambling dilemma.”

Tom’s Guide ” Essentially the company may be trying to patent the process of purchasing virtual money that cannot be re-sold. The patent also seems to indicate that Zynga may implement a fraud prevention system to inhibit players from using cash to purchase virtual funds from other players within Zynga products.”

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Marvelous Team Up: Sometrics meets Facebook

Sometrics has partnered with Facebook so that its Game Coin virtual currency can be exchanged with Facebook Credits. Articles and analysis from:

VentureBeat ” Facebook itself views Facebook Credits as the equivalent to the introduction of the euro, which gave Europeans a single currency and encouraged more cross-border trade. Facebook believes Credits will encourage users to spend more money across larger numbers of apps, allowing the whole ecosystem to benefit”

InsideFacebook ” Sometrics has more than 250 publishers outside of Facebook signed up already, with a combined 225 million users it says, and it has gained experience figuring out what services to provide gamers, and connect them to publishers”

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Marvelous Team Up: PlaySpan meets Facebook

Social Networking giant Facebook partners with in-game monetization specialist PlaySpan to globally expand the reach of their virtual currency, Facebook Credits. Articles and analysis from:

InternetRetailer ” More than 75 developers use Facebook Credits in more than 200 games and applications on the social network. This agreement should spur significant growth in developers using Facebook Credits in the next few months, says a PlaySpan spokesman.”

InsideFacebook ” This deal helps Facebook quickly make it easier for users to pay in the international markets where PlaySpan has worked to develop payment partnerships.”

AllFacebook ” The additional payment options make it easier for developers to expand their international reach and attract a broader set of people, since not everyone has access to credit or debit cards or PayPal. “

Gamerlaw.co.uk Facebook Credits are an increasingly healthy source of  revenue for Facebook – consumers pay real money for Credits and use those Credits in virtual goods transactions, e.g. in games like Farmville, with Facebook deducting a 30% transaction fee.”

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The Games within the Games

Trialplay rolls out Dealspot, providing exclusive offers to players that are “in-game”. Articles and analysis from:

TechCrunch ” The company is partnering with Groupon, Tippr and Living Social for local deals, LOVEFiLM for subscription entertainment, branded retailers such as Yves Rocher and Lancôme for shopping, Rue La La and Mertado for flash sales and more.”

PRNewswire ” Monetization of social games is still in its infancy, with only 1-3 percent of the 300 million social game players actually purchasing virtual goods.  However, with DealSpot, publishers can now monetize users around virtual items and in-game events rather than hoping that players visit a separate payment page.

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