No More Facebook Credits – Areas of Impact for Social Game DevelopersJune 25th, 2012 at 3:20 pm by Ereika
Early last week, Facebook quietly announced the discontinuation of the Facebook Credits platform, starting in Q3 of this year. So with less than a week to go before Facebook changes the way social games do business online, what can we expect?
For developers who have relied on FB credits as their own in-game currency, now is the time to make an important decision. Either start the process of creating their own in-game hard currency, or look at how in-game items are currently priced in various local currencies to determine whether or not to adjust pricing.
While Facebook states they expect the effect on conversions to be “neutral to slightly positive” it is still important to consider the potential impact of having your players able to see exactly how much they are spending on a particular item.
Spending 5 credits for a power-up may not seem like a big purchase, but seeing that same power-up priced as $0.50 may cause players to reevaluate the relative value of the item versus its impact on the game experience.
Multiply this effect over hundreds (or thousands) of in-game items, and the potential need for an in-game hard currency becomes apparent, especially for games that have a diverse player base that spans multiple countries.
Facebook Subscription Services
Not every game automatically lends itself to subscription services, but this is a model that many games should be able to successfully incorporate with some planning and consideration. Access to premium items, more content, higher levels, or specific features is one way to successfully monetize through subscriptions. Another way is to provide specific rewards or items on a monthly basis for those who maintain an active subscription.
With either of these models, developers need to consider the impact on the gameplay experience for users who subscribe versus those who do not. For games which have a competitive element, care should be taken to maintain a fun and playable experience for free players, while still providing enough incentive to monetize those players as their engagement in the game increases.
With Facebook Credits set to disappear entirely by the end of the year, there isn’t much time for developers to get on board. The challenge for social game developers is how to successfully integrate these new business models into the play experience in a way that enhances gameplay for monetized players, while still appealing to their larger free demographic.