Google+ Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

Google+ Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

Summary: Google has started a price war with Facebook: the search giant is charging developers a 5 percent commission for in-game transactions, compared to social networking giant's 30 percent.

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Google added games to its Google+ social network yesterday, and then Facebook updated its gaming platform with a new Game Ticker, full screen support, and the ability to favorite games later the same day. Google+ has only 16 games right now, made by 10 game developers, while Facebook has developers from more than 190 countries building apps and games on its platform. That's not where the ultimate comparison should be though. You see, Google has just started a social games price war with Facebook.

Wait Emil, what do you mean? Social games on Facebook and Google+ are free! Well, that's true, at least for most games. There is one huge aspect of online games that many often forget about: in-game transactions. Virtual items are not going to necessarily cost less for you on Google+, but they will for the developer. Google knows it needs to win over developers to get games on its new social network, and it's starting by significantly undercutting Facebook on the commission price.

Facebook charges a 30 percent commission on any transactions that use its Facebook Credits virtual currency, which is now required in all games on the company's platform. Google has decided to start off with a 5 percent commission for Google+ Games.

Sure, Google+'s 5 percent commission is just promotional, or at least, that's what Google+ games product manager Punit Soni told VentureBeat. Soni claims Google doesn't yet know when the promotion will end or what the company will charge developers on a regular basis, but I'm willing to bet that Google will keep its price significantly under the 30 percent mark.

The 30 percent number may seem high, but it's actually a standard in the industry. Both Apple and Google take 30 percent of the revenue app developers make on the companies' respective mobile app stores.

This social games price war is nothing new for Google: when the company launches a new platform, it often makes a point to undercut its competitor. After all, Mountain View gives Android away for free. The search giant makes enough money from Google AdSense (97 percent of its revenue comes from ads) that it doesn't necessarily need to make sure that many of its products, be it Android or Google+, are profitable by themselves.

Palo Alto will definitely try to hold on to the 30 percent commission number for as long as possible. If Facebook ever feels threatened by Google+ in the social games market – meaning if social game developers ever start leaving Facebook for Google+ en masse – that number will probably be slashed. In the meantime, the social networking giant will simply boast about how much game developers actually make, despite the higher commission to Facebook, mainly because the platform has 750 million users and counting.

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Topics: Mobility, Apps, Google, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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20 comments
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  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    holly sh**
    AdnanPirota
    • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

      @AdnanPirota

      This is like what Google did with their ebooks thing. They said they would charge 5% to people who publish and sell their books on Google's arena as opposed to Apple who charges 30% for that ability.
      josh92
  • A continuing example

    This is a continuing example of Google abusing its monopoly power in ads to dominate competitors in other markets.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

      @facebook@...
      Says the guy whose name is "Facebook."

      LOL
      Droid101
    • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

      @facebook@...
      Also, what do ads have to do with charging less for offering a service?
      Droid101
      • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

        @Droid101 It is the ad revenue Google garners that drives their anti-competitive, monopolistic practices in other markets. Intellectual Property rights aside, do you think Android would have so much market share if it was not subsidized by ad revenue?
        Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

        @Facebook
        So, a company shouldn't use its revenues to pursue other money-making opportunites?

        Tell that to every single business man or woman in the country.

        You are truly ignorant.
        Droid101
  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    Hype dying down about Google+ (aka Buzz 2.0 or 'the place everyone posts once before going back to FB'). So it's time to release all the games that Google paid developers to make for their baby.

    Must keep virus growing. Google must have all that personal data in social networking to go along with our personal emails and internet search data.

    Google+ has to be big. More like Aids and less like Swine flu.
    Tojuro
    • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

      @Tojuro
      I haven't been on Facebook in over a year. It's very liberating, you should try it.
      Droid101
  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    5% now, wait until it jumps up to 30% if they get enough developers on board.
    LoverockDavidson
  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    Is Google becoming the Walmart of the computer field?
    IAmMarty
  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    Who cares?! Only an elite few can even get an account! By the time google opens up to the rest of us, we won't give a crap. As far as I'm concerned, it's all a bunch of rhetoric among the elite few being dangled in front of the rest of us. I'm tired of hearing about it unless I can use it. Either release the damned thing or shut up about it.
    ddogowar
    • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

      @ddogowar
      Uh, I have 150 invites left. If you want one, just post your email.
      Droid101
      • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

        @Droid101
        I have been offered an invite and refused. This is the biggest push to expand the Google spynet ever. Anyone who joins will regret it.

        And, I am not pushing Facebook either. Just that the information one puts on Facebook is your choice. Google is absorbing information about you surreptitiously all over the web.
        jorjitop
    • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

      @ddogowar Exactly!
      statuskwo5
  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    Good, competition brings good things. If you don't think Android is healthy to have around to prod Apple and all of the other players to produce more, you are ignorant. The same is with Facebook, FB needs good competition, and Google can bring it... Besides, I would rather Google have my data than Facebook any day. At least Google will make a mistake and go back and correct it, FB makes a mistake then just tells everyone "Oh you don't need privacy, you're over reacting!" EFFF FB.

    I've used G+ since it came out, love it. I have dropped FB completely, never really used it before, don't have a need for it now.
    aggiejon04
  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    "The 30 percent number may seem high, but it?s actually a standard in the industry."

    "Industry standards" have always been bullshit. Star Trek Online learned that the hard way when they underbuilt their servers because the listened to "industry standards," leading to a panicked rush to get more servers to their data centers in the days after the game was released.

    I'm sorry, that's just a laugh. The "industry standards" are meant to killed when somebody looks a them and realizes just how insane they are.
    CobraA1
  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    Facebook always block me for nothing...
    Let Facebook die.
    takecockcometalk
  • RE: Google Games: Google just started a price war with Facebook

    Facebook always block me for nothing...
    Let Facebook die....
    takecockcometalk
  • War?

    There are many different ways for Google to wage the "war" with Facebook. What is most important, is what the user experience will be as users become the innocent by standards of these kind of online battles. To learn more about how to protect your online image during these events please check out: http://blog.lookuppage.com
    lookuppageblog