Facebook has announced its long anticipated intention to make its Credits currency available to services on mobile devices, and to sidestep app stores with HTML5 support.
Though Facebook has taken its time to take a break into m-commerce, its platform will be expanding to include an app store as well as other mobile services. However, it is the Credits digital currency on mobile browsers that will permit content to be sold via mobile device by developers. This may divert smartphone and tablet users from Apple and Google, by providing them with an alternative way in which to purchase virtual products and services.
Similar to other companies such as Apple, Facebook would then be able to take a cut of 30 percent of purchases made using Credits, or of the revenues brought in through its apps. This could take a notable chunk out of the transaction fees that were expected to belong to Google and Apple.
Facebook currently holds a position among the most popular mobile apps on both Android and iPhone. While it is possible to make virtual item purchases on Facebook apps for PCs, such as FarmVille, there is currently no revenue generation brought in through direct mobile purchases.
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Credits were first tested by Facebook in 2009. In early 2011, the social networking giant made the use of Credits compulsory for any virtual goods purchases made through apps on its site.
With mobile device HTML5 browsers, it is becoming much simpler for developers to produce methods of making purchases that are safe and user friendly and that do not require an additional app dedicated exclusively to that purpose within a given app store – as is currently the standard.
Facebook is now requesting that certain specific developers create a new version of their apps in HTML5, which would support rich media and full functionality without the need to download.