SAN FRANCISCO Oct 10 Facebook released its
long-awaited iPad app on Monday and introduced support for social
games on the mobile versions of its online service.
The dual announcements plug two key holes in Facebook's
product offerings and could provide a way for Facebook to generate
revenue from the more than 350 million users who access its
service on mobile devices every month.
Facebook said that the mobile versions of its website will
now offer tighter integration with third-party social games and
applications. Those games, such as Zynga's Farmville, are
extremely popular among Facebook users who access the service
on their PCs.
Similar to the experience on a PC, Facebook users on mobile
devices such as Apple's iPhone and Android smartphones
will receive alerts in their newsfeed when their friends play
certain games or invite them to play along with them.
Facebook's mobile service will also offer bookmarks within
the website of a user's favorite games, for quick access.
Many of those games offer users the ability to purchase
virtual goods -- such as additional equipment or clothing to
enhance the experience in a game -- using Facebook's special
so-called Credits currency. Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of the
revenue from those transactions.
The company said it would require third-party app
developers to support Credits in the mobile versions of their
games that interact with Facebook.
The rule only applies to games aimed at users of the Facebook
website developed using HTML5 technology and accessed through a
Facebook said the specialized iPhone app version of its
service would not support its Credits currency, in accordance
with Apple's terms of service.
The new version of Facebook for Apple's popular iPad tablet
has been rumored on industry blogs for months. Facebook said the
iPad app will offer enhanced photo-viewing capabilities and