去年，当Facebook首席执行官马克·扎克伯格提议在网站中集中采用一种支付方式Facebook Credits时，许多游戏开发商立刻进入了戒备状态。这主要是由于Facebook Credits同时将向游戏开发商抽取30%的Credits交易盈收。当然，使用统一的支付方式后，玩家可以更便捷地使用现实金钱购买虚拟货币，也可以更方便地在各款Facebook应用中进行消费。Facebook Credits方便了用户，但对游戏开发商而言，他们却不得不担心自己的利益底限。
去年4月，扎克伯格向部分游戏开发商推介Facebook Credits时说道：“也许你们不信，但我们这样做是从开发商的利益出发的。”进入2011年后，上周Facebook社交网站宣布要求站内所有游戏在7月1日前完成使用Facebook Credits。然而，并不是所有游戏开发商都认同使用Facebook Credits，然后被抽走30%的交易盈收会是一种利益。
在本周举行的旧金山Inside Social Apps会议上，Facebook市场经理Deborah Liu向所有与会的游戏开发商传达了这样一个讯息：Facebook拥有近5亿的用户基础，放弃这一平台的损失真的小过于放弃30%交易盈利的损失吗？游戏开发商们请好好地算一笔账吧！
对此，LOLapps公司产品副经理Kavin Stewart表示，“将Facebook Credits作为游戏核心支付方式的做法无疑令游戏开发商有所顾虑，另外30%的收益抽成也显然会影响开发商的近期利益。”然而，LOLapps却也认为统一的货币系统有利于公司的长远发展，“玩家们可以享受更流畅的付费过程，同时还能形成支付方式的品牌意识，这些都将影响玩家的购物欲望。”
Stewart认为社交游戏市场还有很大的发展空间，同时Facebook Credits的运用也将扩大社交游戏的发展极限。“现在日本市场的每用户平均消费（ARPU）是美国市场的8到10倍。与此可见我们在实现每用户货币化方面还有很大的上升空间。随着越来越多开发商加入使用Facebook Credits，我们的营收能力也将有所提高。”
另外，还有一些从未使用Facebook Credits游戏开发商对该支付方式有着不同的顾虑。在本周的Facebook开发者论坛上便有一位开发者表示：他们公司现在正采用一家法国合作伙伴提供的支付方式，两家公司之间的合作十分顺利。因此十分担心转而使用Facebook Credits后就不能再与该法国支付公司合作，同时Facebook Credits还不提供一些法语服务。
然而，虽然社交游戏开发商对Facebook Credits顾虑重重，但许多传统领域的游戏开发者却对此不以为然。以开发了《宝石迷阵》和《植物大战僵尸》等热门休闲游戏的PopCap公司为例，该公司近来凭借Facebook版《宝石迷阵闪电战》和《祖玛闪电战》进军社交游戏领域。对此，PopCap的社交产品运营副经理Michael Carpenter表示“在使用Facebook Credits的同时，我们认为为玩家提供流畅的服务及顾及消费者的利益比公司盈收更为重要。”
“另外，PopCap公司此前长期从事于传统视频游戏产业，公司产品在App Store，零售商店及各大游戏门户网站均有销售，因此并不认为营收分成的做法有何不妥。各大营销合作伙伴为PopCap提供各种服务理应获得一定的酬劳。我们也将以同样的眼光看待Facebook Credits。”
据游戏邦了解，目前Zynga，EA Playfish，CrowdStar和Digital Chocolate等大型社交游戏开发公司均已经加入使用Facebook Credits。由此看来，即便没有7月的强制要求，上述大型社交游戏开发商的加盟也将促使其他游戏开发商参与使用Facebook Credits。Facebook社交网站提出的2011夏天最终期限有望提前完成。
与此同时，Playfirst公司的Diner Dash社交游戏副总裁Eric Hartness也表示旗下的Chocolatier游戏自去年便开始使用Credits。Playfirst公司相信Credits将成为Facebook的统一货币，同时Facebook将更注重发展Facebook Credits以提高其对于开发商和游戏玩家的价值。
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a plan last year to introduce a centralized payment system for the social network, dubbed Facebook Credits, many game developers were immediately wary of the proposal.
That’s because Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of developer revenues generated via Facebook Credits. It’s arguably more convenient for users, as customers can buy the virtual money with their real cash and spend it across multiple Facebook apps, but developers are worried about the effect on their bottom line.
Last April, Zuckerberg tried to sell the idea to a skeptical developer audience: “You may not believe me when I say this. We are doing it for developers.”
This week, Facebook said it would do developers another favor by requiring them to adopt Facebook Credits beginning July 1. “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,” wrote Facebook marketing manager Deborah Liu this week.
But, perhaps expectedly, not all developers think mandatory adoption of Facebook Credits, and the 30 percent revenue cut that comes with the system, will be beneficial.
At this week’s Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, Liu was asked to address concerns from small developers about Facebook Credits. She responded by saying, “Every single day we know developers get to choose between our platforms and another platform.”
She was reportedly met with laughter and jeers from the industry audience.
With 500 million users on Facebook, choosing “another platform” — even one without a 30 percent revenue share — just doesn’t make financial sense for many developers, as the reaction to Liu’s statement seems to show.
With Facebook as the overwhelmingly dominant social network, some game developers now feel stuck between staying with Facebook and its new, mandatory payment system or gambling on another means of delivering their games. Likely, most won’t take the gamble.
“Making Facebook Credits mandatory in games on the platform is likely to spook many developers,” Kavin Stewart, VP of product and co-founder of 44-person Ravenwood Fair developer Lolapps told Gamasutra. His company has already adopted Facebook Credits. “It’s natural for people to look at the short-term, seemingly obvious 30 percent hit to their bottom line.”
But the startup Lolapps, founded in 2008, thinks in the long run that having a universal currency system will pay off. “What these [detractors] are failing to take into account is that less friction in user payment and more brand trust in payments will greatly increase people’s desire to spend,” he said.
To Stewart, the market isn’t anywhere near its potential, and Facebook Credits could blow the lid. “If you look at the Japanese market with its ARPUs of eight to ten times the U.S. market, it’s pretty clear that we have a lot of upside in per-user monetization,” he said.
“In our experience, our revenues under Facebook Credits have been far stronger than when we were working with other monetization platforms,” he added. “As more developers get on board, we expect that our monetization will only become stronger.”
Nevertheless, some developers with no experience with Facebook Credits are expectedly “spooked.” One game maker on Facebook’s developer forum this week stated that his company is “very satisfied” with a French partner used for in-game payments and expressed concern over switching exclusively to Facebook Credits.
“…The revenues are better than with the [Facebook] Credits and they provide payment ways dedicated to the French that you don’t provide. I won’t be able to work with them anymore? Isn’t that a bit dictatorial?”
Forum administrators promptly answered other Facebook Credits-related questions in that particular comment thread, but for nearly two days seemed to avoid the repeatedly-stated question that implied Facebook was in the same company as Kim Jong-il and Joseph Stalin. Of course, they could have just been busy.
While some developers are still highly skeptical of the idea of Facebook Credits, game makers that come from traditional business models might be thinking, “What’s the big deal?”
PopCap, the successful Seattle company behind popular casual titles like Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, is adding Facebook to its retail and digital download strategies with Facebook games Bejeweled Blitz and Zuma Blitz.
“In looking at our success with Facebook Credits, we believe the reduced friction and customer benefits generally outweigh the revenue split considerations,” said Michael Carpenter, VP of social product operations at PopCap.
“In addition, PopCap Games comes from the traditional video game business and we’ve been in game distribution for 10 years, so the idea of revenue sharing is not new to us. Our games sell in the App Store of iPhone, on the shelves of major retailers throughout the world, and on all of the major game portals,” he added.
“These distribution partners bring a great service to PopCap and are rewarded for this. We see Facebook Credits revenue-sharing in a similar light,” said Carpenter.
The bigger names in social network gaming like Zynga (FarmVille), EA’s Playfish (Pet Society), CrowdStar (Happy Aquarium) and Digital Chocolate (Millionaire City) have already switched over and committed to Facebook Credits.
Even without the July requirement, it’s quite possible that the biggest social games would’ve eventually driven the rest of the market towards a heavy reliance on Facebook Credits anyway. Maybe Facebook’s summer 2011 deadline is just hurrying along a foregone conclusion.
Eric Hartness, VP of social gaming at Diner Dash house PlayFirst, said, “We changed Chocolatier to Facebook Credits last year because we believed it was going to become the ubiquitous currency on Facebook, and that Facebook would invest in Facebook Credits to increase the value for both developers and game players.”
Facebook developers who are about to grudgingly accept the change might want to look at the positive side, which may point to a bright future for games on Facebook. Asked if the 30 percent cut of Facebook Credits means the social network is taking gaming revenue more seriously, Lolapps’ Stewart replied, “Yes. This is a good thing for the community because it puts game developer interests in much clearer alignment with Facebook’s. It’s a strong statement on their part that they care about making games huge on Facebook.” (Source: Gamasutra)