updated 03:45 pm EDT, Wed August 8, 2012
Pilot program completes beta trials
Facebook has finally opened its subscription payment system to all developers, following six weeks of beta testing with major players such as Zynga. The payment option enables developers to sign up customers for recurring subscriptions, paid in local currency, rather than requiring users to purchase virtual credits.
The credit system proved popular with Facebook games, however the social network suggests the subscription option will enable developers to offer new "premium experiences" and updated content. As an example, Playdom's Garden of Time offers a $15 subscription featuring in-game perks such as exclusive items and 70 gold, replenished each month, along with early access to new content.
The move is viewed as Facebook's latest push to boost revenues, after payments revenue began to level off late last year. The company now primarily relies on ad revenue, though it still directly competes with mobile app ecosystems offered by Apple and Google. The subscription system will take the same 30 percent cut that is taken on Google Play or the App Store.
Users can make subscription payments via credit card or PayPal, or take advantage of free trials offered by developers. Subscriptions can be terminated from within Facebook's own payment system, but the company recommends a cancel option within the app.