Facebook is asking some developers to build versions of their applications for the HTML5 standard with the end goal of allowing developers to sell virtual goods within mobile browsers, according to unnamed sources in a Bloomberg news report. If this does indeed happen it will give Credits - the virtual currency that Facebook made mandatory on July 1 - a larger presence on the mobile landscape. It could also put a serious dent in Apple’s and Google’s mobile monetization strategies: Facebook would take a 30% commission of the revenue of the sale, money that currently goes to the mobile OS providers, Bloomberg pointed out.
Social Gaming Is A Huge Category
Social gaming has become a huge growth category - one that advertisers are eager to tap. eMarketer's short-term forecast of ad spending on social gaming is pretty aggressive, it says, with ad spending expected to hit $192 million in 2011, up 33% over 2010. Meanwhile, the number of people purchasing virtual goods continues to grow, along with dollar value of these purchases, according to a study last year by Frank N. Magid Associates, and PlaySpan.
It found that 13% of the overall population surveyed reported that they had bought virtual goods in the last 12 months, with the mean of digital good purchase up 14% from $87 in 2009 to $99 in 2010. The median of digital goods purchase was $50 in 2010 - a 67% improvement from $30 in 2009.
Facebook Pushes Credits In Different Ways
Not surprisingly, Facebook is angling to have Credits play a major role in this growth. It rolled out new international payment methods earlier this year to support developers in virtually every currency on the globe. It has stepped up its promotion of Credits to end users as well. Earlier this year it launched a program offering consumers a financial incentive to watch ads on the site by rewarding them with Facebook Credits to buy goods from Facebook Deals. Credits also played a role in the pilot project between Facebook and Mobile Interactive Group in which viewers of Sky Network’s Got to Dance were able to participate and vote using Facebook Credits.