Facebook Credits GetBalance API Helps Developers Dynamically Price Virtual Goods

Facebook has released the getBalance API call as an incentive to game developers who use Facebook Credits as their exclusive premium in-game currency. The call lets developers determine the Facebook Credits balance of any of their users. This allows them to identify high rollers with a large balance of Credits and dynamically price virtual goods to increase purchase probability or profit margin, improving monetization.

Starting July 1st, all Facebook games must process payments exclusively through Facebook Credits, Facebook’s virtual currency. Developers can either use Credits as their payment method, allowing users to purchase a game’s proprietary premium in-game currency with Credits, or use Credits as their premium currency. Facebook wants developers to use Credits as their in-game currency (PDF) because it removes an extra step from the spending flow, as Credits as a payment method requires users to buy to credits to buy premium currency to buy virtual goods.

> Continue reading on Inside Facebook.


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5 Responses to “Facebook Credits GetBalance API Helps Developers Dynamically Price Virtual Goods”

  1. Dan Hulton says:

    This is the *worst* *idea* *ever*.

    I see this API call being used as in Ravenwood – to display users Credit balance in-game and more tightly integrate the whole purchasing experience. You know, for good.

    As opposed to identifying the “high rollers” and charging them more for the same virtual goods, simply because they have more money in their wallet. You know, for evil.

    Developers using the API in this evil fashion *will* be found out, and called out, and will suffer *immense* and *justified* backlash from their players.

    I can’t get over just how greedy and anti-player this comes across as.

  2. Josh Constine says:

    @Dan: That’s a fair assessment. There is certainly potential for misuse. The same could be said for viral tuning and some other aspects of bottom line and metric-driven game design. We wanted developers to know the potential of the getBalance API call, but it’s up to them whether they want to use it responsibly.

  3. Cameron Ellis says:


    This is could end up being a pretty bad deal for consumers. I see where it is useful, but surely Facebook didn’t intend to encourage this egregious level of price discrimination.

  4. This Week’s Headlines From Across Inside Network says:

    [...] Facebook Credits GetBalance API Helps Developers Dynamically Price Virtual Goods [...]

  5. Joe says:

    Surely the GetBalance API has existed since the introduction of FB credits. How were developers getting player’s balances previously?

    As for adjusting prices. I don’t like it, but this kind of thing happens on the internet all the time. I bet you that there are games that are checking to see if your IP is from the USA or UK and increasing prices based on that.

    Savvy players will learn to keep their credit balance at a minimum at all times

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