Facebook is already the leader in social networking. With the popularity of the Facebook gaming content and the boom of virtual goods, Facebook credits was created as a way to bring a universal currency into the social gaming space.
The credits are now making their way from the virtual world into some of the more popular brick-and-mortar stores across the country. Target, for example, began carrying Facebook Credit gift cards in multiple denominations back in September, and more recently, Walmart and Best Buy have also began to sell the cards. The cards, which commonly come in $15, $25, and $50 versions, should help Facebook to capitalize on the huge popularity of social gaming.
Social gaming and their virtual goods are a booming business. It is expected that revenue for online virtual goods is to surpass 6 billion by the year 2013. Not only that, Facebook Credits are already accepted by over 200 Facebook games, and 42% of online buyers are social gamers. By adding the Facebook cards into brick-and-mortar stores across the country, Facebook hopes to garner more support for the virtual currency by adding a tangible product sold in an offline environment.
“The physical representation of a brand…adds more validity,” said Rob Goldberg, the founder of GMG Lifestyle Entertainment Inc., the company responsible for creating the Facebook Credit cards. The company is also responsible for the iTunes cards that are sold in retailers throughout the world.
Facebook Credits have the opportunity to become so successful due largely to the fact they have a very active ecosystem in which to operate. Although Facebook Credits isn’t the first online currency to attempt to unify online monetization, Facebook’s vast network provides the currency with an efficient platform on which to thrive. The popularity of the site itself, as well as countless of other sites which feature Facebook integration, make the concept of Facebook Credits even more ingenious and useable.
More recently, startup Ifeelgoods got the brilliant idea to offer Facebook Credits as a way to persuade customers to sign up for a website, share a favorite product, or even purchase something else online. The concept is interesting, but the company promises Facebook Credit promotions to be more effective and less expensive by using these virtual goods and currencies in place of tradition promotions.
Some critics suggest Facebook should provide ways for users to spend Facebook Credits that don’t just include virtual goods inside their social games. They could do so by utilizing their already enormously popular social networking system, much like Pay-Pal took advantage of the partnership between them and the eBay site.
Facebook Credits are still a fairly new concept, and Facebook has been keeping quiet on the actual direction in which the company intends to take. It is apparent, however, that Facebook wants to create an effective currency system for online social gaming, and hopes to eliminate the issues of international currency conversion fees charged by other companies. One thing is certain though, if Facebook plans to have their credit system become the only major online currency, it’s not going to be without making some key decisions.