The Facebook gaming platform is going through changes to compete with other platforms. Kabam, a major social gaming company, recently shared with VentureBeat that only 30% of its revenue is coming from Facebook. Similarly, many other leading Facebook game developers have migrated to other platforms, including iOS and Android, in the last six months or so. Some think Facebook is losing its grip while other think it’s just an evolution phase.
Facebook offers a well-established Facebook gaming platform for game developers, however, the social giant has annoyed developers with its policies and business decisions. Kevin Chou of Kabam, talking with VentureBeat about the future of his company, expressed concern over the Facebook credit system, which lacks fluidity and liquidity. Other marketplaces such as Google Play and Apple’s iTunes are much more efficient, even though they are relatively new to the gaming market.
Apps on a platform like the Facebook gaming platform usually have two ways to engage users. One is through viral distribution, while the other is usage through reengagement. With Facebook focusing on viral distribution in its early days, many game developers lost their focus on game quality as they invested all their time and resources into increased app usage through viral distribution. This lowered the quality of games on Facebook over the last couple of years.
Facebook has now shifted its focus to increased app usage through reengagement rather than promoting viral distribution. This indicates to me that we should be seeing quality games coming to Facebook in the near future.
Another annoyance killing off Facebook as a popular gaming platform is requests from social gamers. If you don’t like games but your friends spend most of their time on them, your wall is often flooded with game requests, screenshots, achievements and what not. Fortunately, Facebook has done some optimization and now those with no interest in social gaming will hardly see updates from their game-playing friends.
“I was surprised, I was surprised about games. I had a conversation with some folks at Apple at one point, and they were surprised that games was the big thing on the iPhone too.” Mark Zukerberg said when asked whether he had anticipated such popularity of games on Facebook.
With the ever-increasing popularity of gaming, Facebook is supporting integration on Xbox and Nintendo DSi. With all devices going social, the Facebook gaming platform has a bright future ahead of it. However, with tough competition from iOS and Android, Facebook better resolve the unified credit system and make its platform more developer friendly really soon.