Facebook lets users play game demos directly within News Feed

Facebook today announces a new feature that lets users try out games directly within News Feed.

Part of the social network’s continued effort to improve game discovery, the new “feed gaming“ feature lets developers create a short demo of their game that users can play when they see it mentioned in News Feed and Timeline. These samples don’t need players to authorize an app and don’t collect user data, creating a risk-free environment for users to test a game before they commit and give a game access to their personal information. Once the sample is complete, users are prompted to play the full version of the game.

Feed gaming is already being used by King.com’s Bubble Witch Saga, Rovio’s Angry Birds Friends, Tetris Online’s Tetris Battle and Idle Games’s Idle Worship. Bubble Witch Saga offers players a level to play and then rewards them with extra soft currency if they install the game. Angry Birds Friends challenges users to beat a level score posted by a friend. Idle Worship provides a mini-game designed to generate interest in the full game. Tetris Battle, meanwhile, allows users to publish video replays of two-player battles.

Demos are a reliable tactic within other sectors of the game industry, often released before a title’s launch in order to build word-of-mouth hype. Larger games have even had demos come to Facebook, like Majesco’s Cooking Mama Friends’ Cafe, which used Arkadium Stadium to let users directly play the Flash game from their Facebook walls. Users haven’t been able to play samples of Facebook canvas games before now, though.

Developers can test the effectiveness of different game samples, images and copy in their feed stories. Facebook app insights will now show the number of impressions, clicks and clickthrough rate of each feed game story. See more details in Facebook’s documentation here.

This story originally appeared on our sister site, Inside Social Games.

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