I love this deal with PlaySpan and Facebook. It shows that Facebook credits will most likely become a defacto electronic currency. Perhaps even becoming what the US dollar is (or used to be) to real life currency exchanges.
In another life I knew Karl Mehta the CEO of PlaySpan and hats off to you my friend for getting this deal done!
Deborah Liu (pictured below, right), manager of product marketing for Facebok Credits, said in a talk at the Virtual Goods Summit in San Francisco that the deal with PlaySpan coincides with a big expansion of the use of Facebook Credits across Facebookâ€™s social apps.
Facebook Credits is a virtual currency. Users can buy it with credit cards or other payment methods and then use the credits to purchase virtual goods in social games, such as fuel for tractors in Zyngaâ€™s FarmVille game on Facebook. Facebook keeps a 30 percent stake in every transaction. In return, it promises to deliver more liquidity and user participation in transactions for its app partners.
More than 75 developers are using Facebook Credits in 200 games on Facebook now, Liu said. Twenty two of the top 25 games use Facebook Credits.
Now, beyond using credit cards, users will be able to choose from 20 new payment options via PlaySpanâ€™s Ultimate Pay service, allowing for more international purchases. Since credit cards arenâ€™t used in every country, PlaySpan offers more payment options that are used in certain regions. That expands the reach of Facebook games â€” and the ability to make money from them through credits purchases â€” to a wider audience.
The PlaySpan payment options will roll out in the coming months, supplementing current payment systems such as credit cards, mobile phone payment services, and PayPal. Through Ultimate Pay, some of the new options include prepaid cards such as PaySafeCard, Wallie-card in Europe, MyCard and Gash cards in Taiwan, and other regional payment services.
Liu said the goal is to make Facebook Credits into an international virtual currency, where you can use it to buy for virtual goods wherever you are. The analogy is Europeâ€™s euro, the currency whose introduction resulted in the broadening of trade beyond country borders. Facebook wants users to take its virtual currency and make purchases across many different apps and in many different countries. Roughly 70 percent of Facebookâ€™s users are outside the U.S.
Currently, many games require you to register, log in and then pay for your currency. If you had to do that every time you played a game, you would be less likely to spend money, since virtual currency purchases are often spur-of-the moment decisions, much like cash purchases.
With literally hundreds of different online purchase options currently available to consumers, todayâ€™s news is inline with Facebookâ€™s aim is to make it as convenient and simple as possible for people around the world to buy Facebook Credits, the virtual currency for games and applications on Facebook Platform. PlaySpanâ€™s payment and other monetization services are used in more than 1,000 games.
Jessica Rovello (pictured, left), president of casual game publisher Arkadium, said that her company is using Facebook Credits in five games on Facebook today. Rovello said that her company had doubled its revenue from those games after introducing Facebook Credits in them. That more than makes up for the 30 percent fee that Facebook takes on the transactions.
Digital Chocolate, meanwhile is using Facebook Credits in its Millionaire City game. Thomas Chung (pictured, middle), director of partnerships at Digital Chocoloate, said his company also saw a several-times increase in conversion, or the percentage of players who convert from free game play to paying for something in the game.
Liu said that Facebook will now add four or five times as many developers to the Facebook Credits program than it was doing before.