Quantcast
Latest Stories

Games play into Facebook’s future

By

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

SAN FRANCISCO – As investors agonize over Facebook’s future, the online social network used by a seventh of the world’s population isn’t forgetting the importance of play.

Nearly a quarter of Facebook members play online and developers of game applications are keenly tuned into the trend of using smartphones or tablets to connect to the social network.

With 235 million folks taking part in games at Facebook, the Northern California company sees a potential revenue source in the mobile arena, where it has been lambasted for failing to profit from its popularity.

“Games really are important to us at Facebook because they are something our users love and our developers build businesses around,” said Matt Wyndowe, head of the games and applications team at Facebook.

“We’ve seen mobile greatly increase the amount of time people spend playing games… It is a rapidly growing ecosystem.”

Online play has evolved rapidly since San Francisco-based Zynga rose to stardom with titles such as “FarmVille” and “Zynga Poker” tailored for Facebook friends sitting at desktop or laptop computers.

Zynga has launched its own website for games and made a priority of tailoring titles for Internet-connected mobile devices in the fierce competition for people’s time and interest.

There are now more than 185,000 Facebook-synched game “apps” available for smartphones or tablets powered by Apple or Android software that jointly dominate the mobile gadget market.

Videogame titans such as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts not only design games for Facebook but use the platform to extend or augment play of blockbuster titles on consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation.

“There used to be a limited set of genres of games on Facebook, but now there is everything from casual to hardcore and the demographics have exploded,” Wyndowe said.

“You see developers spending millions of dollars on games,” he continued. “Particularly European companies have been hitting it out of the park.”

A “SongPop” smartphone game that challenges people to guess tune titles rocketed to the top of the charts in recent months, with its rapid spread being credited in part to sharing by friends at Facebook.

“Developers provide the great games and we provide the social layer that makes it more fun for users,” said Wyndowe.

“Games like SongPop, Words With Friends or Draw Something wouldn’t be nearly as fun with random opponents or against a computer.”

Kixeye is ranked as one of the most profitable developers on the Facebook platform, with more than five million people each month playing its creations such as “Battle Pirates” and “War Commander.”

The San Francisco-based company has grown from 40 employees to 280 in the past year and is hiring more than two dozen people per month, according to Facebook.

Online games portal King.com took its titles to Facebook last year and quickly became one of the social network’s top five game developers with hits “Bubble Witch Saga” and “Candy Crush Saga.”

Facebook is helping King.com and others follow members onto smartphones or tablets by letting people playing on desktop computers know when mobile applications are available, and then guiding them to downloads.

Facebook opened an App Center in May, setting the stage to get a piece of the action as games spread at the social network.

“It introduces a huge mobile discovery mechanism,” King.com spokesman Alex Dale said.

“People like to be able to play casual games where ever they are and on whatever device they want,” he continued. “If you give them the chance, they will play more.”

Games by nature are social and the potential is great to thrive in the Facebook “social graph” that recently passed the billion-member milestone, according to Dale.

“How popular do you think the iPhone would have been if games hadn’t been available on it?” Dale asked rhetorically. “People like to play together, and Facebook made it really easy to be social.”

Facebook has no plans to make games of its own, according to Wyndowe. Instead, the social network wants to be the venue where people can connect to play using whatever devices they wish.

“I think people are going to be blown away by games they see at Facebook.com and on mobile on Facebook.”


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

Anti-Obama protesters clash with police in Manila 8 mins elapsed Lacson: Number of pork-tainted senators could form quorum 9 mins elapsed Anti-Obama protesters clash with police in Manila 15 mins elapsed Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend 39 mins elapsed Napoles’ surgery successful—doctor 39 mins elapsed Santiago wants Senate to recall Napoles 52 mins elapsed Visa-free US trip? Do not believe it, says consulate 1 hour elapsed Sherpas leave Everest; some expeditions nix climbs 2 hours elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Facebook , Internet , Online , Social network



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement

News

  • Anti-Obama protesters clash with police in Manila
  • Lacson: Number of pork-tainted senators could form quorum
  • Anti-Obama protesters clash with police in Manila
  • Napoles’ surgery successful—doctor
  • Santiago wants Senate to recall Napoles
  • Sports

  • Pacers rally past Hawks 101-85 to even series
  • David Moyes out as Manchester United manager
  • Nadal to face fellow Spaniard at Barcelona Open
  • Defensive Chelsea holds Atletico in scoreless draw
  • Popovich wins NBA coach of the year
  • Lifestyle

  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Sweet party for Andi Manzano
  • Safety in online buying and selling
  • Entertainment

  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Summer movie preview: Bay reboots ‘Transformers’
  • Business

  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • $103M Vista Land bonds tendered for redemption
  • Oil slips to $102 as US crude supplies seen rising
  • SC stops Meralco power rate hike anew
  • Technology

  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • New York police Twitter campaign backfires badly
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  • China, rivals sign pact to ease maritime tensions
  • Visa-free US trip? Do not believe it, says consulate
  • Obama visit to Asia seen as counterweight to China
  • Violence mars militant protest at US Embassy
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace