Facebook‘s virtual currency, Facebook Credits, will become the official coin of the realm beginning July 1, 2011. On that day, all social game developers on the Facebook platform will be required to process payments through Facebook Credits.

Currently, Facebook Credits is accepted as payment in around 350 apps from 150 developers, including 22 of the top 25 Facebook games. Credits is used for more than 70% of all virtual goods bought and sold on Facebook.

Facebooker Deborah Liu writes on the Facebook Developer Blog, “We’re excited to give Facebook users the confidence that when they purchase Facebook Credits or receive them as a gift, they can spend them in any game on Facebook.”

Between now and July, Facebook will be working with developers to ensure that every Facebook social game is using Credits, to help developers improve their revenues and to tweak the product to give users the best possible experience. Interested devs can check out Facebook’s Credits page for developers.

Facebook’s decision is fantastic for the company’s bottom line; the social network company takes a 30% cut of all Facebook Credits revenues. In other words, if you pay $2.00 for a talking horse on FarmVille, Facebook collects $0.60 from the Zynga. Already, Credits has made promising contributions to the company’s ever-rising revenue estimates (currently at $2 billion annual for 2010.

The Facebook Credits product has come a long way since its inception almost two years ago. About a year after Facebook Credits was first posited as an online payment option, Zynga adopted the product for use in FarmVille, then Facebook’s largest social game with 80 million users.

And now, users can buy Facebook Credits at big-box brick-and-mortar retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy.

What we can’t wait to see is how the virtual currency will be used in the future, particularly in non-gaming apps, for non-virtual goods or for off-Facebook purchases. We’re also wondering if and when Facebook Credits will become the only kind of currency allowed for Facebook apps — a move that could spell amazing things for Facebook’s revenue but that could also bring negative consequences for developers and end users. We’ll continue to report on Facebook Credits as it rolls out to more games this year; stay tuned.

More About: casual gaming, credits, facebook, facebook credits, social gaming




Social game developer Kabam has raised a whopping $30 million round of funding from Redpoint Ventures, Intel Capital and Canaan Partners in order to create multiplayer social games focused on hardcore gamers.

Kabam CEO Kevin Chou, a former associate at Canaan Partners, says that the fresh round of funding will be used to fuel new acquisitions and grow out the internal team to bring more products to market. A lot of the focus will be on launching new massive multiplayer social games. In addition, Kabam hopes to expand to other social and mobile platforms in 2011.

Unlike Zynga, Playfish and other social gaming juggernauts, Kabam doesn’t focus on the millions of casual gamers that permeate Facebook. Instead, the development firm is honing in on 25- to 35-year-old males who are looking for a deeper and more competitive in-game experience.

Kabam currently has three Facebook games on the market: Kingdoms of Camelot, Dragons of Atlantis, Glory of Rome and SI Fantasy Football. Kings of Camelot is by far the company’s most popular game, boasting 6.1 million monthly active users and 700,000 daily active users. The social gaming company has about 7.5 million monthly active users across its entire network.

Kabam’s games are far more like World of Warcraft than FarmVille. In Kings of Camelot, for example, users are actively trying to grow their kingdoms through commerce and battle. A key element to Kabam’s games is the player vs. player (PvP) aspect: Users are encouraged to form groups and actively attack other players to build their virtual empires.

Supporting massive multiplayer games and the calculations needed to make the battles happen instantly takes a lot of server power though, which is also where the funding comes into play. Not only will Kabam use the money from Redpoint, Intel and Canaan to buy more servers, but Intel Capital (a strategic investor) will provide assistance and insight in data center technologies and parallel processing. Redpoint Ventures led the round, while Canaan Partners is an existing investor in the company.

Social gaming is a rapidly expanding market, but there are countless companies in the space. We like that Kabam is distinguishing itself from the crowd and carving out its own niche with traditional hardcore gamers. Cornering even a slice of the social gaming market is definitely a recipe for success.

More About: Canaan Partners, funding, Intel Capital, Kabam, playfish, Redpoint Ventures, social games, social gaming, world of warcraft, Zynga