Since Facebook introduced its own virtual currency called Credits in 2009, many of its users have been coming across an inconvenience when trying to pay for third-party apps (mostly for games), because they first had to change their money into Facebook Credits, and then Credits into in-game money, whereas Facebook was getting a 30% cut from all these on-site transactions.
Having reviewed all related issues properly, Facebook administration has decided to find some new ways to monetize its business – namely by implementing subscriptions and local-currency pricing, as it has been recently announced in the developers blog.
Starting from July 2012, developers will be able to collect monthly subscription fees for third-party software, as well as offer premium access or paid features within their applications. This should certainly benefit media outlets and entertainment companies, some of which, like KIXEYE and Zynga, are already testing subscription options.
What's more important, Facebook is going to simplify the whole purchase process for all users by phasing out Credits and allowing users to pay for games and apps in regular money. That means all remaining credits and balances will be converted into local currency very soon, whereas the support for in-app purchases will be added in the next few months, and all apps offering commercial services are expected to switch to the local currency format by the end of this year.
"With local pricing, you will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-US users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis," said Director of Product Management Prashant Fuloria.
The general aim of all these changes seems to be the desire to make the Facebook payments system more flexible and encourage a much larger portion of the 900 million target users of the social network to make virtual purchases. As Prashant Fuloria added:
“We hope new features like subscriptions and local currency pricing help you monetize more effectively and reach more users globally.”