Facebook developers can now charge subscriptions

Facebook’s dropping its virtual currency, credits, and says it will now allow app developers to charge subscriptions.

The switch to real-world currency, it says, will make things easier for  developers, allowing them to charge different prices in different regions. In any case, it says, most games on Facebook  now use their own virtual currencies for in-app purchases, making Credits redundant.

The transition will be seamless, Facebook promises.

“Already, most people see items priced in their local currency in the payments flow,” says Prashant Fuloria on the company’s developer blog.

“Additionally, we’ll convert any Credit balances into the equivalent amount of value in users’ local currency, which they can spend on in-app items in the same way they do today. People can still redeem gift cards and store unused balances in their account.”

The company says it’s also moving towards a subscription model, rather than expecting developers to rely on in-app purchases. Developers such as KIXEYE and Zynga are already testing subscriptions, it says.

“Beginning in July, we are launching subscriptions as another way for you to build your businesses on Facebook,” says Fuloria.

“With subscriptions, you can establish a recurring revenue stream and offer updated content or premium experiences for a monthly fee.”

The move is yet another attempt by Facebook to reassure investors that it can monetize its offerings successfully. It will take a 30 percent cut on subscriptions, just as it currently does on in-app purchases. The change will start Facebook on the path to its own payment platform, similar to Apple’s iTunes.