Starting July 1, 2011, Facebook will be making 'Facebook Credits' mandatory for Facebook game developers. In addition, Facebook credits will be the only exclusive way for players to turn their real life money into in game currency. Developers who already have their own version of in game currency are allowed to keep it, however their currency must be purchased with Facebook Credits.
Although this new mandate may be upsetting for some successful game developers who have been making a good amount of money with their own currency, Facebook has made a few incentives for the switch. For example, items that are sold for Facebook Credits will be promoted on the Facebook Games dashboard and eligible for extra advertising opportunities and programs.
Facebook argues that their Credits are good for both the users and developers. It's a lot harder to get somebody to pay for in game currency if they have to punch in their credit card information every time they play a new or different game. Facebook says Credits simplify this by making a universal currency that players can purchase all at once. This also means that players won't feel like they are locked into any specific game since they have dedicated some money to it.
Credits may be good for the users and developers, but clearly Facebook is the one to benefit the most from this requirement. They will be taking the industry-standard 30% cut every time users purchase anything with Facebook Credits. When you have millions of people playing Farmville and millions of people buying its in game currency, Facebook's cut will add up to be quite a large sum of cash.
Facebook's plans for 'Facebook Credits' may not be completely narrowed in on the Facebook gaming industry. They also have a very strong incentive maximize the use of Credits so it is very likely that Facebook will expand its credits to third-party websites or apps. We can certainly see that a 'Pay With Facebook' option will be seen in the future. In the long run, Facebook will be doing whatever it can to pull more and more people into using 'Facebook Credits' and will continue to make mountains of cash from developers, publishers and maybe even retailers who pay that 30% tax.