Facebook is making its pitch to games developers: to survive you need to be cross-platform. To be effectively cross-platform, you need to dance with Facebook.
While Facebook celebrated another successful quarter last week, there was a little bit of troubling news about the future of the company’s games economy. Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner summed up Facebook’s games dilemma in the quarterly earnings call:
Our current games payment revenue comes entirely from desktop usage and we are seeing declines in the number of people using Facebook on desktop, a trend that will make growing this business challenging going forward.
So at Casual Connect in San Francisco, Facebook made its sales pitch to game developers from all over the world: go mobile with us.
Facebook announced today a new way for app developers to prompt purchases of virtual goods right from the News Feed. Developers can create News Feed (or sidebar) ads that allow users to make a purchase of virtual goods from the desktop.
In beta, Kixeye used this ad format to push virtual goods for its game battle Pirates, re-engaging active players who had made purchases before as well as those who have not paid. The developer offered discounts on virtual currency, seeing a more than 10 percent increase in click-through rate and a 50 percent conversion rate for past paid customers. For gamers who hadn’t made a purchase previously, there was a 14 percent conversion rate.
Overall, the campaign saw a return on ad spend of greater than 5,000 percent.
There’s a game rocketing up the AppData charts — and leaving Facebook users addicted. Trivia Crack, a trivia game by Argentinan developer Etermax, is also known natively as Preguntados. Facebook users are getting increasingly hooked on Trivia Crack, which had 2.7 million daily active users (DAU) a month ago, but has more than doubled it since, clocking in at 6.5 DAU today.
Last month, Trivia Crack didn’t make the top 25 leaderboard, but it has jumped all the way to No. 9, in terms of Facebook DAU, as tracked by AppData. The game is also ranked No. 14 on the Facebook MAU chart.
Wondering what other games Facebook users play regularly? Check out our leaderboard below.
Though Candy Crush Saga still has a stranglehold on the Facebook app market, new figures from AppData show that Microsoft Live and Spotify are nibbling at the King app’s lead.
Since we tracked Facebook daily active user counts for top apps in April, Candy Crush Saga has fallen by more than 2 million DAU, while Microsoft Live and Spotify have both gained DAU values.
Clash of Clans has also been a notable riser in terms of Facebook DAU, going from No. 13 in April to No. 10 now, gaining roughly 1 million DAUs.
Wondering which Facebook apps are most popular, in terms of DAU? Check it out below.
Poor Zynga. The once-darling of the social gaming world has been losing users for some time now, while its competitor, King, is on the upswing.
In March of 2013, Zynga’s biggest game was Farmville 2. It had over eight million daily active users (DAUs) at the time, and had 2.73 percent of the Facebook app market, according to AppData. At the same time, King’s biggest game Candy Crush Saga had about 21.5 million DAUs and 7.27 percent of the market.
King Digital broke 300 million month active users (MAUs) on Facebook this week, according to AppData. That puts the newly-public company at over three times the MAUs of Zynga on the same platform. So far, King’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange has been rocky: At the time of this writing, shares were trading at $19.57, about 13 percent lower than the offering price.
On the heels of its acquisition of popular messaging app WhatsApp, Facebook isn’t done shopping. Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday that Facebook has purchased virtual reality firm Oculus VR for roughly $2 billion.
The cost includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock. The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones.
This week brought news that the social gaming company DianDian Interactive, otherwise known as FunPlus, raised $74 million in a Series B round. It’s the largest funding round for a social gaming company in nearly a decade.
FunPlus board member Richard Lim told The Wall Street Journal that the company did not want to do an IPO, choosing instead to remain private. The funds will be used to launch more games, and to expand its offices in Beijing, San Francisco and Vancouver. Although the company is based in China, most of its revenue comes from players in North America and Europe.
AppData announced recently that, according to its figures, King looks like it’s here to stay on Facebook. Although we called into question the sustainability of the developer and its most popular game, the data indicates that King is not a one-hit wonder.
According to the announcement, the company now has the top three Facebook apps ranked by Monthly Active Users (MAUs): “King has been the most successful developer to leverage the Facebook app ecosystem to build its business across all platforms.”
Zynga is introducing some of its most-popular games to iOS and Android in a few select markets before officially launching them at the end of June. The social gaming developer is playing catch up with competitor King, which got into the mobile space sooner.
“Did the company miss a beat with the transition to mobile? Absolutely. Are we fixing that? Yes, we are,” CEO of Zynga Don Mattrick told Reuters.
The company’s acquisition of NaturalMotion earlier this year also signals a new focus for the company on mobile.