Facebook Tests Free Credits Promotion in Games Dashboard, Featuring CrowdStar’s Hello City

Social game developer CrowdStar’s new city-builder, Hello City, is getting a special promotion today from Facebook, that features Credits. Users who go to their Games Dashboard will see a gray box at the top of the page, that says “Earn 5 free Facebook Credits.”

If the user clicks “Continue” they’ll get the option to install the game, and receive the virtual currency. Facebook is providing an advertising offer for Credits — and for CrowdStar — through incentivizing users to play. Once players get the currency, they’ll be able to buy virtual goods within Hello City (or any other game that uses Credits), and CrowdStar will be paid its 70% portion by Facebook.

It’s the latest move by Facebook to try to promote its virtual currency, even as some developers have resisted it. They’ve complained that between the 30% fee, and non-explicit costs like breakage and lack of control, they are losing a significant amount of revenue that they had previously expected. Tests like this show how Facebook is trying to get more users comfortable using and buying Credits — the company believes it can help offset the cost to developers by bringing in new paying users. Credits, Facebook has previously said, is going to in some form be the only virtual currency on its site.

We asked Facebook about the promotion:

As part of our ongoing efforts to educate people about Facebook Credits, we’re working with CrowdStar to promote Hello City, a city building simulation game that makes it easy to get started with Credits quickly. Through recent updates, such as making the Credits balance more prominent on the right side of application pages, and marketing and seeding programs, our intent is to acquaint people with Credits and create more opportunities for game developers.

CrowdStar, Facebook’s designated Credits testing partner, has previously participated in a number of other Credits promotions. When its Happy Island simulation game launched in December, it was the first of any Facebook app from a major developer to exclusively feature Credits. Facebook has more recently advertised CrowdStar and Credits in sponsored ad inventory elsewhere on its site, and featured CrowdStar games (and, again, Credits) on the right-hand column of the games dashboard.