Facebook to close virtual gift shop as it hones in on Credits

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Facebook is shuttering its virtual goods store after three years and is focusing on building out its Credits online payments system. The Credits system will give third-party companies who run games and other applications on Facebook a uniform currency for selling virtual items on the social network.

“Closing the Gift Shop may disappoint many of the people who have given millions of gifts, but we made the decision after careful thought about where we need to focus our product development efforts,” wrote Jared Morgenstern, product manager for the company’s new games and credits team.

The shop will close August 1, but Facebook will still allow gifts that have already been sent to remain visible. The gift shop has been a fairly limited revenue source for the company, bringing in an estimated $10 million a year, according to InsideFacebook. This pales in comparison to what Facebook Credits might bring in through facilitating payments for the social gaming industry, which might hit $1.6 billion in U.S. revenue this year. Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of transactions managed through Credits, and the virtual currency is currently being tested in about 150 games. We have more in-depth stories on the effort here and here.

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