Facebook Opens Credits to More Developers, Shares New Statistics

In a big push to bring more developers on-board with its virtual currency, Facebook said it now has the capacity to add three or four times as many partners to the Credits program as it did before. Credits is now offered in more than 50 percent of game sessions logged on the social network.

The company, which earns a 30 percent cut of all transactions in Credits, has been working aggressively to make its virtual currency a universal payments option across the platform. Before today, developers only had limited access to join the Credits program and there was a lengthy waiting list.

Facebook is also adding more 20 more payment options for users to buy Credits through a partnership with PlaySpan.

After testing Credits for more than a year, the social network is pushing to have it adopted by all developers on the platform. So far, it’s being used by more than 75 developers in more than 200 games, assisted by recent long-term deals with Zynga, Crowdstar, RockYou and LOLapps among others. That’s up from the 150 games figure Facebook reported as recently as last month.

Deb Liu, a product marketing manager for Facebook Credits, said that a universal currency will encourage users to spend more on digital goods because they won’t have to switch between different currencies offered by separate games.

“Users don’t want to go in one game and question buying currency because they have to think about it for the next one,” she said at the Virtual Goods Summit in San Francisco. “That’s a tax on our ecosystem, in terms of the mental energy needed to make a purchase.”

Liu said the company will focus on reducing payment friction and finding more ways for users to buy Credits during the next few months.

A few Facebook developers from social gaming companies Arkadium and Digital Chocolate shared best practices for using the virtual currency.

Arkadium co-founder Jessica Rovello said that the company had more success in pricing premium virtual items in Credits only.

“When you’re able to pay in soft currency, users will do whatever it takes to get the item for free,” she said. “They’ll play for a month. But if you only offer it in Credits, people will pay if they feel the item is valuable.”

Rovello said to set price anchors, or offer a new virtual good as a standalone item for a short period of time and then offer it in a bundle so users feel like they’re getting a deal. She also said to keep content fresh by retiring items and constantly introducing new inventory. She said never to offer any evergreen items, or goods that never expire in a game. If a good expires on a weekly or monthly basis, users are more likely to return to the game.