The Man Every Facebook Developer Wants To Know
July 27, 2011 Page 4 of 4
Things Have Changed
Marketing efforts like this are increasingly crucial. "The gold rush is over," admits Ryan.
He quickly clarifies that: "the gold rush, in terms of the easy days of just, put a game up there, have it expand, don't worry about monetization so much, just let it roll -- yeah, that's harder now. It's a more competitive market.
"It's no question it is harder to break into the top ten, just like it is in any business," says Ryan.
"What we're seeing is, I don't think you can, right now, put out a clone of a clone of a clone and be successful. There's no question. You need to put out a well-targeted, well-designed game."
All the same, he says, "people are able to find audiences and profit, building games."
Says Ryan, DAU (daily active users) isn't the metric it's cracked up to be. "I focus on either monetization -- total payment volume -- or I focus on engagement. But what I always come back to is engagement, which is really number of visits times length of the visit, and that equalizes out."
It's simple, says Ryan. "Eventually if you like it enough, you will pay. It's directly proportional to how many days out of a month they're in a game."
Even small audiences work these days, he says. "What we're seeing is those types of vertical games, that actually are quite profitable, and the developers being quite happy about it. But they don't get the news so much because they're not at a 50 million DAU, or whatever it is.
"If you look at our platform, I would argue that more people can be profitable on our platform than anything else," says Ryan.
He cites one example, a soccer management sim called Top Eleven. "All of a sudden I see it, and all of a sudden I see the numbers start moving on it, barely advertising, and it's now all of a sudden overtaken FIFA as the top soccer game we have, and it's five guys in Serbia."
But What of the Competition?
Of course, while Facebook claims over 750 million users worldwide, other companies are gunning hard for their own slices of that pie.
On mobile, there are two big social gaming networks vying for control of the space -- both Japanese with U.S. subsidiaries. GREE (which owns OpenFeint) leads its home market, and DeNA (which owns Ngmoco) is not far behind.
This does not concern Ryan. In fact, he sees opportunity. "At the end of the day, we're not so much about a game network. We're about the social graph, and everything you can do through it. So there's no reason we can't partner with everybody. We're a very partner-driven organization in general. It's just a matter of trying to figure out how that makes sense to both parties."
There's also a competitor a little closer to home: Google, with its newly-launched Google+ social network, which is set to introduce games at some point.
"I think Google's a viable competitor," Ryan says.
But when it comes to all of the above, "We don't worry too much about these things because we just focus. All we can focus on is making ourselves a better platform. At the end of the day, the developer has the choice, and that's what's great. And if we deliver the way we should, then I'm not that concerned about it. But it's up to us to continue to improve our offering."
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