Currently, developers of Facebook apps earn money with one-time purchases of virtual items. They do that either in a currency unique to the app or using Facebook credits.
Beginning in July, Facebook is launching subscriptions. With subscriptions, developers will be able to offer updated content for a monthly fee. This new feature will be available to to all Facebook.com and mobile web apps in July.
Faebook says that subscriptions are already being tested by developers such as KIXEYE and Zynga. KIXEYE's Backyard Monsters will start testing an offer of exclusive items for $9.95 per month.
Since the company introduced Credits in 2009, most games on Facebook have implemented their own virtual currencies, reducing the need for a platform-wide virtual currency. Facebook now will support pricing in local currency (ex: US dollar, British pound and Japanese yen) instead of Credits.
"By supporting pricing in local currency, we hope to simplify the purchase experience, give you more flexibility, and make it easier to reach a global audience of Facebook users who want a way to pay for your apps and games in their local currency," Facebook said in sa blog post.
The company added that the transition to local currencies would be seamless for Facebook users on Facebook. Facebook will convert any Credit balances into the equivalent amount of value in users' local currency, which they will be able to spend on in-app items in the same way they do today. People will still redeem gift cards and store unused balances in their account.
Subscriptions already uses local currency pricing, and Faebook will release local currency support for in-app payments in the next few months. Any apps or games that sell virtual items will be required to use local currency by the end of the year.
Facebook's new payment platform changes to how its users can buy goods and services without leaving its site, as the company is pushing to make more money. In addition, the new rules would potentially keeping Facebook users on the site longer and allow Facebook to harness more data about what they buy.