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Facebook adds new features to drive game discovery, engagement
Facebook adds new features to drive game discovery, engagement
January 31, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

January 31, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
More: Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Facebook recently made several changes meant to drive discovery and engagement for its social games, condensing and sharing the game activity of users' friends into a unified list populated on their news feeds.

These updates follow a number of changes the social network has made in recent months to help direct more users to games on its site, including the launch of Facebook Actions, which allows players to automatically share their specific social game activities with friends.

Many Facebook users have complained in the past that the viral methods developers have used to promote their games -- many of which Facebook has curtailed -- were annoyances that cluttered their social graphs with notices they had little interest in.

The site's new way of "enabling social discovery of games through [the] News Feed," which is taken from how it handles game lists in mobile feeds, seeks to avoid spamming users by grouping the list of games their friends are playing the most in a single list:

"These stories are designed to bring new users and significant re-engagement to games by encouraging users to discover games their friends are playing," explains Facebook's business development director Matt Wyndowe. "We will continue to refine the design of these stories based on performance."

Another update the company has introduced involves offering users the option to have their favorite titles, achievements, and other game-related items displayed on their personal Timelines. Facebook says this feature allows for "quick re-engagement for the user and discovery among friends."

The social network is also testing a new link to outstanding requests for games and apps, which reappears on the upper right corner of its home page. The link is meant to "increase the visibility of outstanding requests and is designed to drive more traffic to games and apps."

As it finds new ways for users to discover games, the company says one of its features, the live ticker that appears alongside games and apps, has "not been a substantial driver of traffic." It's now experimenting with removing the current version of the ticker. Facebook will discontinue App Profile Pages starting tomorrow, too.

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Joe McGinn
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"Another update the company has introduced involves offering users the option to have their favorite titles, achievements, and other game-related items displayed on their personal Timelines. "

NO ONE wants to post this stuff. They only do it because the games trick you into doing it with big, enticing interface buttons or by outright rewarding you for spamming your friends.

If Facebook games had more quality, some gameplay, none of this would be necessary. People actually would talk about good games, form communities of players, and tell their friends about it. Monetization would go up too. Core FRP game developers like Valve report 20-30% monetization rates, 10x higher than anything on Facebook, and furthermore they don't have the dreaded Facebook churn.

iyad ahmad
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very clever way

Frederico L
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At least its easily blockable :)

Timothy Tryzbiak
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When you think that social gaming only really took off in the last 4-5 years, there's certainly a lot more learning and evolving to do.

If we've learned anything, it's that people do like to share. Gaming companies and social networks just need to figure out how to do it in a non-intrusive way.

I like what Facebook is doing...and it will get better.

Joe McGinn
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I disagree that we've learned that people like to share. They only do it because the games force friend-spamming by blocking game profression unless you do it. Their friends hate receiving the spam, and most players I know hold their noses and do it as an unpleasant path to get the game rewards they want. There's nothing remotely desirable about it from the player's POV.

Glenn Sturgeon
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What would be nice is if they had a simple "Play games" icon at the top of the screen that would take you to a list of all the games on FB. The only list i've ever found was a top 5 or 10 list. I know theres more games on FB than 10 and i think its safe to assume FB games may be like single player games in the sense, the most popular are not realy the best games.