Virtual Goods Summit: Facebook Expands Credits

Today at the Virtual Goods Summit, Facebook announced an expansion of its virtual currency, Facebook Credits. The social networking site has now increased the number of developers that can be part of the program, and also added up to 80 new payment options through its partnership with Playspan.

Today at the Virtual Goods Summit, Facebook announced an expansion of its virtual currency, Facebook Credits. The social networking site has now increased the number of developers that can be part of the program, and also added up to 80 new payment options through its partnership with Playspan.

The changes are outlined in a post on the Facebook Developer blog. Facebook first started testing Credits in May 2009 and expanded the beta in February this year. Facebook Credits are now used in more than 200 games and applications on Facebook from more than 75 developers.

Now Facebook is inviting more developers to join the Credits scheme, by applying here. However, the post cautions: “We won’t be able to accommodate everyone immediately, but we’re excited to open up Facebook Credits to many more developers.”

Facebook has also announced an expansion to the payment methods for users buying Credits. Recent additions include MOL points in Asia and Target gift cards in the U.S. but more are in the pipeline. “Working with PlaySpan, we plan to add many more ways to pay for Facebook Credits in the coming months, and some are already available in certain markets,” the blog post said. “Look for Paysafecard, Wallie card, bank transfer, and Boleto Bancario in the coming months.”

The additional payment options make it easier for developers to expand their international reach and attract a broader set of people, since not everyone has access to credit or debit cards or PayPal. Developers using Facebook Credits won’t have to do anything to offer these new payment options – they’ll appear automatically based on the user’s location.

Facebook did not say whether the upgrade meant Credits are now out of Beta development, but it’s clear that this is an area of focus for the company. Facebook gets a 30% share of the revenue from Credits and with the explosive popularity of social games on the site, it’s an attractive and growing new source of revenue. Facebook has reportedly been exerting pressure on game developers to switch to Credits and recently the biggest player in the sector, Zynga, agreed to do so.