Facebook has launched two new features to help app developers, subscriptions and local-currency pricing.
The new features announced on the Facebook Developers blog make Facebook more competitive in the apps market and should attract new developers to the Facebook app market.
Subscriptions for revenue growth
The most exciting new addition for developers is probably the in-app subscriptions functionality. Facebook Product Management Director Prashant Fuloria describes the reasons behind the move to subscription purchases, "Many developers successfully monetize their apps with one-time purchases of virtual items. Beginning in July, we are launching subscriptions as another way for you to build your businesses on Facebook. With subscriptions, you can establish a recurring revenue stream and offer updated content or premium experiences for a monthly fee."
The subscriptions feature will be available to all Facebook.com and mobile web apps in July but they're already on trial with developers such as KIXEYE and Zynga.
Price in-app items with local currency
The second new Facebook update is a move to local currency pricing. Previously all in-app payments were in app-specific virtual currencies or Facebook Credits. From now developers will be able to charge in the users local currencies including sterling, US Dollars and Japanese yen, instead of Credits.
Fuloria commented "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. With local pricing, you will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-US users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis."
During the move to local currency, Facebook will convert any customers' Facebook Credit balances into the equivalent amount of value in users' local currency, and will allow users to already purchased redeem gift cards and store unused balances in their account.
The move to local currency will be mandatory for developers and any apps or games that sell virtual items will be required to use local currency by the end of the year.
The new in-apps subscription service will launch with local currency conversion and local currency usage in-apps will be phased in over the rest of the year.