Controversial payment system that sees Facebook take a 30 per cent cut of all transactions will be mandatory from July 1.
Facebook has confirmed that its controversial Facebook Credits system will be mandatory from July 1.
The new rules, reported by TechCrunch, stipulate that any developers offering microtransactions through their Facebook games will have to use Facebook Credits, from which the social networking site takes a 30 per cent cut.
Facebook argues that the existing model, which allows developers to use their own payment systems, discourages users from buying virtual items in more than one game. By unifying the system across the entire platform, players will only need one login to be able to make purchases in all games on the service.
It is also expected that as the model grows in popularity Facebook will licence a ‘Pay With Facebook’ option to third-party sites, similar to Google Checkout.
Yet smaller developers argue Facebook’s cut – which is an industry standard, the same as Apple takes from sales on its App Store – will force them out of business.
The Escapist reports that at yesterday’s Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, Facebook’s Deborah Liu was asked about developer claims that the 30 per cent cut would drive them out of business. Her response began with: “Every day, every developer gets to choose between our platform and other platforms,” which, according to Business Insider, was “met with laughter, jeers, and hisses from the audience.”
In other words, Facebook’s response appears to be like it or lump it; pay us 30 per cent of your revenue or try to find another audience of 600 million people elsewhere. Which seems dismissive but is, at the same time, an entirely valid point; Facebook has until now been providing a gaming platform from which it does not directly profit.
Facebook spent much of last year hammering out deals with the bigger players, with PopCap and EA signing up. Zynga, by some way the biggest developer on the platform with more than 290 million monthly active users, took more convincing, but a deal was finally struck last May. TechCrunch claims Zynga is paying Facebook some $30 million each month in Credits commission.