Facebook today provided updates regarding its transition from Credits to local currency pricing. The company offered new documentation for game developers and announced that migration will occur in Q3 this year.
Facebook decided to phase out Credits in favor of a user’s local currency — dollars, pounds or yen, for example — in June 2012. This allows the social network simplify the purchase experience and give developers more flexibility. Developers will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-U.S. users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis, as opposed to pricing their virtual goods in $0.10 USD increments as was required when Credits became mandatory in July 2011. This also eliminates any confusion that resulted from users trying to think about conversion rates for dollars, Credits and in-game currency.
Facebook says it will convert any Credit balances into the equivalent amount of value in users’ local currency, which they can spend on in-app items in the same way they do today. People can still redeem gift cards and store unused balances in their account.
Although there is no exact date for when local currency payments will launch, Facebook says it is aiming for Q3, and developers will have at least 90 days to implement the updated payments infrastructure. The company says more information will be available in coming weeks. It also noted that Plarium, a Tel Aviv-based games developer, has already seen positive results from early testing with local currency payment in its game Pirates: Tides of Fortune.
The social network first introduced what it called “Pay with Facebook” in May 2009. That eventually got combined with the Credits program associated with virtual gifts that users could buy and post to each other’s profiles. In July 2011, Facebook made Credits mandatory for social games.
Only 27 million users — a little over 2 percent of total monthly active users — paid for virtual goods on the platform in 2012. Facebook generated about $251 million in games-related payments revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012. That’s nearly 16 percent of total revenue for the quarter, a percentage that has been declining as game developers invest less in Facebook canvas experiences and as the social network focuses more on its ads business.
More details about the new payments are available from Facebook’s developer site here.