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Davis: 'Facebook Credits' Payment Method Could Boost Games

Talking to Gamasutra, Facebook platform manager Gareth Davis has been explaining how the social network's Facebook Credits payment system could further boost th
Talking to Gamasutra, Facebook platform manager Gareth Davis has been explaining how the social network's Facebook Credits official payment system, currently being tested with select third-party apps, could further boost the rapidly-growing social network game market. Speaking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview about the social network's outreach into video games, as a number of Facebook game apps top 10 million unique monthly users, Davis commented in particular on the Facebook Credits system. The company launched a closed beta of its 'Pay With Facebook' system in June, and Davis explained: "We get a lot of requests to provide a platform-based monetization model. We want to help developers succeed as best as we can and also help users have a great experience. We have a gift shop on Facebook.com that enables our users to buy gifts using a virtual currency called Facebook Credits. And that's done very, very well for us. We're thrilled with that business, and it's growing... People love to buy [virtual] gifts and give them to their friends. It's a very fun, engaging activity. And so, having seen the success there and hearing the requests from developers that this would be of interest to them, we have begun testing the user Facebook Credits by offering them to developers, so that users can use Facebook Credits in an application to buy things. We're very early on in the test there, and so far, the results look good. We have a handful of apps live today." Many of the existing Facebook game applications from companies such as Zynga (Mafia Wars) and Playfish (Pet Society) allow microtransactions in order to monetize the player, but they use credit card entry or third-party solutions such as PayPal to charge the Facebook user. So, as Davis further details: "...The way it works is that when you're at the point of transaction, you're presented with the 'Pay With Facebook' that you click, and then we handle the transaction. We believe that this has a lot of potential to be beneficial for a user because the user experience can be much smoother. They're not redirected out of the party. They stay in the flow. Secondly, there's a Facebook-branded button, and since they already have a high level of trust with Facebook, they store a lot of information with us, they're more likely to go through the transaction. We believe there's a potential lift for users that they love this stuff. For a developer, same thing. It's like, 'happier user, more transactions.' It's potentially very, very appealing to them. That's what we think. We're testing this out right now, and as soon as we have more information to share, we'll share that." Though Davis believes that third-party applications on Facebook, including games, may receive a significant boost by using this system, when asked if any kind of developer/Facebook revenue split has been decided, he said simply: "We have not." The full interview with Facebook's Davis is now available on Gamasutra, including lots more specifics on what the platform means to game developers.

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