Now that Facebook will require all games on the social network to use Facebook Credits, it is adding new features to encourage players to spend money on virtual goods. At the Inside Social Apps conference a couple days ago, Facebook announced new features to help grease the wheels of its budding virtual economy. One of these features is “frictionless micropayments,” or instant credits, which allows players to buy up to 30 credits in-game without having to stop the game, and even without having to enter a credit card number.
One game developer, OMGPOP, is already using it as part of the beta, and it is working out great. OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter tells me that “Facebook credits drives higher transaction volume on Facebook—especially the instant credits.” He adds that ” because of instant credits we are seeing a higher than usual conversion rate, probably 3 times higher than a standard Facebook game, but the transaction value is lower because there are fewer items and they are priced less.” So it is tripling the number of virtual goods it is selling, but not the dollar amount.
OMGPOP uses instant credits in its version of Draw My Thing, which is a synchronous game in which 4 or 5 people play at the same time. One draws a clue, and the others try to guess. If you want to buy a pen that gives you more time or skip a clue, it costs you a few credits.
The game lets you play against your friends or randomly assigns you to a game with others in a chat room environment with a whiteboard. It works with Facebook chat to let you invite your friends into a game in realtime. About 25 percent of install son Facebook are coming from this Facebook chat invite feature. Currently the game has 400,000 active users.
Most games on Facebook are asynchronous, or turn-based. You don’t have to be playing at the same time as everybody else. But OMGPOP is all about realtime social games with other people, and it is bringing those to Facebook.