Finding Out Where the Money’s Made in Facebook Games

Revenue comes to game developers through a number of channels, including virtual currency and goods sales, in-app offers, advertising, and marketing and promotion. Each of these is discussed next.

Facebook Credits

Facebook’s official currency used to be Facebook Credits (see Figure 3-5). The social network made this the mandatory payment method for all Facebook apps in 2011, then reversed course in June 2012, announcing that developers could now sell their own branded virtual currency, while converting users’ existing Facebook Credits reserves to their local cash equivalent.

Users can purchase virtual currency in Facebook with credit cards, PayPal, and mobile phones, among other options.

Figure 3-5: Facebook Credits offers wall

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In-App Offers

As the name suggests, an “in-app offer” is an advertising offer that is displayed within the game (see Figure 3-6). Instead of making direct purchases of virtual currency for use in Facebook, gamers can earn it by signing up for offers made by third-party companies. You can, for example, sign up for a Netflix account and get 10 Facebook Credits to use in CityVille. The game developer takes a cut for each completed offer, making this a good way to monetize most of the players who resist paying straight cash for Facebook Credits.

This year, Facebook allowed these in-app offers to ...

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