January 25, 2011, 4:38 PM

Facebook will require game developers to accept Credits as currency

All social games selling virtual goods will have to use Credits as of July 1.

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Facebook announced this week that all social game developers will have to include Facebook Credits as a payment option on the purchase of virtual goods on the social network. A Facebook spokeswoman says using Credits will improve users’ gaming experiences because they will be able to use the Facebook currency in any game on the site.

Games can continue to use their own in-game virtual currencies but must add Credits as a payment option by July 1. Facebook says it will offer game developers incentives to make Credits their sole accepted virtual currency. The company says Facebook Credits is used in more than 350 games on the site and already handles more than 70% of virtual goods payment volume on the site. Facebook keeps 30% of each transaction; developers get 70%.

E-retailers began to offer Facebook Credits as a marketing incentive last year. Shoebuy.com and Golfballs.com, for example, gave consumers free Facebook Credits with their real-life, e-retail purchases, which the consumers could then use in their Facebook game play.   For example, Shoebuy, No. 77 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, gave customers who bought from Shoebuy 50 free Facebook Credits. 10 Facebook Credits is equal to $1. The e-retailer says its target audience of middle-aged women also coincides with Facebook’s most active social gamers.

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