June 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Report: Facebook and Apple Agree to Swap In-App Credits

Much like these currencies, credits purchased in a Facebook app would be usable within iPhone apps, and vice versa.

Apple and Facebook already allow developers to distribute free apps on their services that, in turn, sell users digital goods — think the Farmville game on Facebook or the AudioVroom iPhone app.

These credits are generally locked by platform, in that you can buy credits to use in an iOS app or a Facebook app, but not on both. However, according to AllThingsDigital, Apple and Facebook have agreed to honor each others’ credits on a one-to-one basis (i.e. the “exchange rate” will not fluctuate between the two, and users can buy them in either place).

Ubisoft vice president of digital publishing Chris Early, the source of this information, says a game called Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon will be the first to feature these swappable credits, which makes sense, because the apparently the game will be playable on Facebook, smartphones (including the iPhone), game consoles, and computers, and users should be able to buy credits on any of them.

But these swappable credits may also come into play for music fans. For instance, if apps like Spotify get more serious about Facebook integration, as is rumored, then listeners would be able to purchase credits on Facebook that would allow listening (or other musical interaction) on Apple’s iOS devices, and vice versa.

Ultimately, if these swappable credits take off, they will allow the developers of music apps to offer incremental services without taking a beating on credit card transaction fees.  They’ll be able to sell big bunches of song listens, remix credits, listening hours, etc. at a single time, rather than selling them piecemeal and paying a credit card fee for each transaction. That means better margins for them, and by extension, more interesting music app features for you.