Are Facebook Credits the next Web Currency? Should PayPal be worried? The social media gurus over at Mashable say yes – it will take a while – but yes.
Facebook introduced the Credits system back in April as a way to simply give friends spending money in the virtual gift shop. It’s now also part of the gift marketplace, where you can use Facebook Credits to buy real gifts.
Facebook has been pushing for third-party applications to adopt their could-be-universal virtual currency system. Some publishers are reluctant, as they would see a significant decrease in profits from microtransactions – most notably, social gaming giants like Zynga and Playfish will likely be on the Facebook Credits hold-out list for some time to come. Can you blame them? Recent reports show that the online sale of digital goods in 2009 reached $1 billion. There are however, some early adopters testing the waters of Facebook’s currency system – CrowdStar just launched Happy Island, a new social game that uses Facebook Credits as it’s exclusive virtual currency. Happy Island has been in beta testing for the last 10 days and currently has ~100,000 daily active users.
How would a universal virtual currency change the Facebook gaming landscape? The social game boom is changing the face of social networking in a number of ways, and it’s good to see Facebook taking an active role in its future of play. Once the whole microtransactions currency thing is sorted out, maybe they’ll get around to revamping game notifications, bookmarks and news feed features for games too. I’ll have more on that tomorrow.