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The Facebook Doctrine: Gaming And The Future
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The Facebook Doctrine: Gaming And The Future

July 10, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 8 Next

There's going to have to be different approaches depending on who you're dealing with obviously and what their product is and all kinds of things. How closely do you work with companies when they come to you? Is there a learning curve that you have to deal with when dealing with some of them?

Because obviously, it seems like these startups that are really successful with games are just starting to pull in talent from the game industry, and there still isn't a complete meeting of the minds. Do you find that when you're dealing with companies, a lot of communication that needs to happen from your direction or both directions?

GD: Let's just talk about how to work with Facebook. We're an open platform. We provide documentation and policies. And everything you need to know to be able to build and run a successful app on Facebook is all on our website. So, that's part of the answer here. In terms of how do game companies figure out using Facebook as a new platform...

Or certainly Connect in terms of, there may be people that are developing games that will never actually develop Facebook apps. That's even a different way of looking at it. I mean, there's very savvy and smart and intelligent people at game companies obviously, making games every day, but it's a new headspace.

GD: We have an API that's very simple and straightforward that you can integrate into an experience very quickly and easily. We've had millions of people do this. I think it's very low complexity, and game developers are very smart.

It's more of the social issue, though. We've been talking, and I know things have been developing rapidly, but that seemed to be an emerging theme, maybe, from some of the coverage that came out. And the comments is that people do feel like there's maybe more of a desire to hook up than there's been an actuality to hook up.

GD: I don't buy that. I think if you look at a company like Playfish, they're formed by people that were formerly game developers in the mobile space, and they clearly get it completely. Companies like Zynga and Playdom, they have this mix of people that have built social games and have built traditional games. The two are mind-melding as we speak, and whenever anybody from different perspectives come together, there's going to be an interesting dialogue.

For me, I don't see conflict here. I really see convergence. And I think what you're seeing in terms of games on Facebook, you're seeing more of them, higher quality, better production value, more gameplay mechanics. The experiences are growing in richness at the same as they're growing in a use of social functionality. The games are better leveraging the social graph and better leveraging identities and better leveraging sharing stories that people respond to and connect with.

Obviously I think content should be left to developers, especially on a platform like Facebook where there's no physical shelf space or anything like that. But do you moderate anything in terms of content? I'm not too familiar with the app submission process. Obviously, the game consoles have an ESRB to serve those kinds of functions. Is that something that you've looked into or thought about?

GD: So, we're an open platform, which means that any developer can create an application on Facebook. We have around a million developers active today. And we have policies by which applications need to follow in order to remain on the platform. So, we police the platform. We make sure that apps are following our policies.

And then we have an app verification program. It's an optional program where they proactively submit their application to us, and we evaluate it in terms of following our policies, respecting our users, and how they interact in the user experience. If they pass verification, then we'll badge it and represent it as a verified app by Facebook. But all of these are optional programs.

Yeah, I noticed that verified app very recently, when I was using Facebook. Is there a good user response to that, the apps that have the extra level of endorsement?

GD: Exactly, yes. The apps that are verified, not only have they gone through a process where we ensure that they treat users respectfully which leads to a better app experience, which in itself generates more traffic, but the verification badge, we present in our app tree; we highlight apps that are verified so they get more placement on our sites. And that helps drive traffic also.

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