Facebook launches app store

Facebook has unveiled a new hub for consumers to find games and other apps on the social network, including its first storefront for selling paid apps.

Facebook launches app store

The new App Center, which Facebook said would launch in the next few weeks, comes as the company is preparing an initial public offering that could value the company at almost $100bn.

A key concern for investors is Facebook’s slowing revenue growth, due in part to the widening trend of consumers accessing its service on smartphones, where Facebook provides limited advertising.

In an amended prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook said the popularity of mobile devices has caused its number of daily users to grow faster than the number of ads it serves.

Facebook described the number of mobile ads it has recently begun showing to users as “immaterial”, a problem given it makes the majority of its revenue from advertising, although it also collects fees when consumers purchase goods from within social apps.

Direct sales

The App Center will, for the first time, allow software developers to sell apps to consumers directly on Facebook.

Consumers will need to use Facebook Credits, the company’s payment system, to purchase the apps and Facebook will take a 30% cut of the revenue as it does with in-app purchases, said Facebook spokeswoman Malorie Lucich.

Facebook is introducing the app store to give software developers additional options, but the company expects in-app purchases to remain more prevalent on the social network, said Lucich.

Apps, ranging from social games to music services, are popular on Facebook and the company says 200 of the apps that are available on Facebook have more than 1 million users.

The App Center will feature apps designed for PCs as well as for mobile devices. If a mobile app requires installation for the mobile device, Facebook said it would direct users to Apple’s App Store or Google Play to download the app.

The App Center will display apps based on the quality scores that users give apps and other data Facebook collects, such as how often and for how long people use the apps. Each user will see a different, customised version of the App Center based on their habits.

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