Exclusive: Playfish Ending Playfish Cash, Going (Almost) All-In On Facebook Credits

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By AJ Glasser

EA Playfish is switching off Playfish Cash, its long-time cross-game currency, in favor of individual game currencies purchasable with Facebook Credits, the company tells Inside Social Games. The transition goes into effect starting today.

In an exclusive interview with us, Playfish VP of publishing and product management C.J. Prober described the motivation behind the move as one part quality consideration and one part agreement. With Facebook requiring all games to implement Credits after July 1, Playfish saw an opportunity to improve user experience across all its games while meeting Facebook’s requirement that it use the virtual currency. Because Playfish partnered with Facebook last year to begin the transition, the change has been the works for some time.

“It’s actually something we’re excited to get behind because we think that having individual game currencies in connection with Facebook Credits is a better user experience,” Prober said. “So going through that hurdle over the next couple of months will get us to that endpoint.”

As of this week, the developer will stop selling Playfish Cash to customers. Between now and June 30, Playfish customers with an existing Playfish Cash balance can exchange their currency for individual game currencies in any increment within any Playfish game at a one-to-one rate. As an incentive to transition, Playfish is offering customers a bonus item for the game in which the customer completes the Playfish Cash conversion. Note that Playfish is not using Facebook Credits as a premium currency within their game, which means that Frictionless Credits and Buy With Friends discounts won’t be coming to Playfish games in the short term.

“We’ve always taken the high road and really been focused on the consumers from everything from virality to payment methods,” Prober said. “Credits provides a much more seamless purchasing experience across the whole platform.”

Moreover, Prober continued, the chance to individualize game economies will make for a better user experience in the long run. Because Playfish used a single cross-game currency for its games (except in its two most recent titles, Monopoly Millionaires and World Series Superstars), the developer couldn’t offer discounts or alter prices within one game without impacting the economies of all its games at once.

“It’s one of those things that gives our game teams more independence around how they think about building up their economies, planning out their features, how they think about pricing,” he said. “As i’ts structured today, if there’s something that happens in a particular game that is a big swing away from our general economic approach across our games, that can have an impact and it creates kind of a heavy burden around coordination and working together on those economies. So [individual economies for each game] is going to allow us to act more freely on consumer demand and give our development teams more flexibility in terms of what they can offer users in the game.”

Playfish currently enjoys approximately 27 million monthly active users and 4.4 million daily active users across all its games on Facebook. The developer recently announced plans to sunset three of its older games and hired a new general manager to oversee development on new games. Follow Playfish’s progress on AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.