Facebook Apps that Exclusively Use Credits Now Featured on Games Dashboard

In the latest of Facebook’s many new efforts to promote Credits, the company appears to be giving special prominence to applications that exclusively use the virtual currency. Here’s what’s happening.

In the redesigned version of the home page, there are new Games and Applications dashboards, both of which are accessible from the home page. And there’s a “Featured” section in the Games dashboard. It has previously, from what we’ve seen, shown a pretty random variety of applications.

But now it’s only showing, from what we’ve seen, games from CrowdStar, who is the only developer we know of that’s exclusively using Credits. And, next to each featured CrowdStar game, there’s a new Facebook Credits branded logo.

Here’s what Facebook tells us:

The applications in the “featured” section of the Games Dashboard currently include those that are testing Facebook Credits, to help users easily identify where they can interact with Facebook Credits, and better acquaint them with these applications. Selection process for the Games Dashboard will likely evolve over time.

The result is that this section will help Credits-only games advertise to millions of users — although it’s not clear how games that provide Credits as one of several currency options will be treated. By providing a virality and retention bonus via the Featured section, Facebook is incentivizing developers to switch to Credits.

In fact, the first sign of this move appeared last August, in test screenshots for the new redesign. From our analysis of Credits in December:

What’s more, as certain test screenshots have appeared to show, Facebook can make Credits — including the purchase process — an obvious and seamless part of the overall site experience. For example, the screenshot at the top of this post shows the number of credits you have within the top navigation bar on the site. It’s possible that Facebook makes Credits optional, but appealing, using site placement to encourage adoption. You can imagine a portion of the app store that features apps that use Credits, for example, as you can see in the screenshot below.

Facebook has separate plans for the Applications page’s “Featured” section, though. From the company:

The applications in the “featured” section of the Applications Dashboard include some of the most popular and engaging on the site, based on editorial selection by the Facebook team. This section provides an additional way for users to quickly find interesting applications. The remaining sections of the dashboards are populated with applications based on what you and your friends are interacting with.

We’ll be following how Facebook continues to roll out Credits.