After announcing that 41 percent of its advertising revenue was due to mobile efforts, Facebook took the next logical step of mobile advertising by announcing it will now assist developers in publishing their mobile games.
I am NOT surprised by this move.
Facebook can offer its entire social network for distribution, which is already fine-tuned for advertising.
Facebook is opening up its games ecosystem even further, the company announced Tuesday. Facebook launched a new discovery system so newer and smaller game developers can gain exposure.
Through Facebook Mobile Games Publishing, a pilot program which will help developers grow on mobile, Facebook will help small and medium-sized developers by promoting their games across the company’s mobile apps. By having a more open games ecosystem (which was previously dominated by Zynga), Facebook has found an enhanced revenue stream, as payments from game developers has grown steadily.
Facebook Software Engineer Victor Medeiros announced the news in a blog post:
With more than 800 million monthly users of our mobile apps and more than 260 million people playing games on Facebook, we are using our unique reach and targeting capabilities to help games in our program find and engage a valuable audience of the right users. This program is designed to reach people who already play games on Facebook with new games that may interest them. For example, we will help strategy game fans find strategy games and casual game enthusiasts find casual games.
We are invested in the success of these games, and in exchange for a revenue share, we will be collaborating deeply with developers in our program by helping them attract high-quality, long-term players for their games. We’ll also be sharing analytics tools and the expertise we’ve gained from helping games grow on our platform for more than six years.
The Facebook gaming ecosystem is changing rapidly, as King has taken the throne of the app market. While Zynga is still a major player, other contenders, such as Kixeye, Wooga and Pretty Simple (among others) are playing for bigger slices of the pie — leading to more competition and higher revenue for Facebook.
Most of the game developers responsible for the growth on Facebook will be at the Casual Connect conference this week in San Francisco. Facebook’s Dan Morris, the company’s lead for mobile games partnerships, will speak at Casual Connect Tuesday about mobile gaming.
Here’s the info on Morris’ discussion:
One of the biggest problems for games on any platform is getting discovered by the right people. With unique reach across mobile and desktop and users who play a diversity of games, Facebook can help your mobile game find and engage its audience. In this session, you will learn how Facebook provides multiple paths to success for developers by connecting the game experience across platforms, bringing more valuable users to your game, and partnering with smaller game studios.
Inside Facebook will provide coverage of Morris’ discussion, while Inside Social Games will cover other aspects of Casual Connect.
Readers: What do you want to know about gaming on Facebook?
Image courtesy of Pet Rescue Saga’s Facebook page.
As reported by sister site Inside Social Games, King (maker of Candy Crush Saga) has passed Zynga, long the top dog in the Facebook application market, in terms of monthly active users.
This move is the biggest symbol of the shift in Facebook’s gaming and app ecosystem. Since gaming became popular on Facebook in its early days, Zynga was the biggest app developer on the site, and by a wide margin. However, as time went on, more competitors stepped up and delivered quality games.
Zynga had derived much of its traffic from Facebook, while delivering revenue for Facebook with hit titles such as FarmVille, FarmVille 2 and Texas HoldEm Poker. However, the two companies have had a messy divorce, as Facebook tried to cultivate an ecosystem with multiple gaming developers and Zynga sought traffic outside of the social network.
King has rocketed to the top with Candy Crush Saga, the most-used application on Facebook, in terms of monthly active users (MAU). While Zynga still has popular titles, such as Words With Friends and FarmVille 2, King now has five of the top 10 Facebook games in terms of MAU — more than any other developer.
Facebook plans to announce its 2013 first quarter earnings tomorrow after the stock market closes.
Analysts expect earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $1.44 billion during the period of Jan. 1 to March 31. In Q4 2012, which included the holiday season, Facebook had earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $1.585 billion.
Here we’ll review the changes Facebook made in the first quarter across each of its areas of monetization.
Last year advertising made up 84 percent of Facebook’s overall revenue. In the first quarter of this year, the social network introduced new targeting capabilities and made a number of adjustments to the look and performance of its ads. The company also continued to ramp up the amount of ads in News Feed and on mobile, adding a three-in-one “Pages You May Like” unit and a new type of Page-Like ads to the mobile feed.
Partnerships with data vendors Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and BlueKai opened up the opportunities for advertisers to reach new audiences based on third-party data, such as offline purchase behavior. This feature was in limited beta during Q1, but rolled out more widely as “partner categories” earlier this month.
Lookalike Audiences, which help advertisers target users similar to those in their Custom Audience databases, was another exciting new beta feature for advertisers last quarter. Facebook launched it globally in March.
A tool that was available for most advertisers throughout the quarter was conversion tracking. This allows advertisers to measure and optimize their ads leading off-Facebook. It’s particularly important to direct response advertisers and app developers.
Facebook today shared a recap and several videos from its event at the Game Developers Conference last month. The key takeaways from the presentations were Facebook’s commitment to the desktop gaming platform, its emerging focus on core and mid-core games, and its support for cross-platform games.
These are the three main areas to look at over the course of the year to understand the company’s progress as a gaming platform — something many are beginning to doubt or write off completely.
Facebook says desktop gaming is “healthy and growing,” despite the attention on mobile, tablets and other new platforms. The company pointed to research suggesting the desktop games business is expected to grow to $15 billion, not including China. Last year desktop games generated more than $2.8 billion, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the overall industry.
“We care about desktop because it’s big, and it’s growing and we can make it grow faster,” Director of Games Partnerships Sean Ryan said at the GDC event last month. “It’s a big business in total around the world and for Facebook.”
The social network says more than 250 million people play games on Facebook each month, which is a 15 percent increase over last year. Many think Facebook games are past their heyday, but Facebook says there are now more users playing games on the site than ever before.
Facebook has hired the team behind Spaceport, a framework for developers to publish their games across platforms, a company spokesperson tells us. Spaceport also announced the news today on its website.
Spaceport, which is part of Sibblingz, allows developers to create cross-platform games using a single codebase and without Adobe Air, which is known to be slow and unreliable. Instead, Spaceport uses ActionScript. It launched in April 2011.
Sibblingz co-founder Ben Savage and the Spaceport team will join Facebook in the acqui-hire deal. According to LinkedIn, that’s about seven people, but Facebook did not confirm how many new employees it is getting through the talent acquisition. As the social network is not acquiring the company’s technology, the Spaceport platform will continue under co-founder Peter Relan and his team from YouWeb.
Facebook users change profile picture show support for same sex marriage – As the U.S. Supreme Court met this week to address same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign encouraged users to change their profile pictures to an image of a pink equal sign on a red background in support of marriage equality. Since then, the image and hundreds of variations of it have gone viral across the social network. Facebook’s data science team found that there was a 120 percent increase in profile photo changes on Tuesday after the HRC launched its campaign compared to the previous Tuesday. More stats are available in a note here.
Report: Zuckerberg gets political - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly involved in forming a political advocacy organization with other Silicon Valley executives, including Joe Green, co-founder of NationBuilder and Causes, who was Zuckerberg’s roommate at Harvard. The group is expected to work to influence issues related to immigration, education reform and the economy. Zuckerberg has reportedly pledged as much as $20 million to support the Super PAC.
Amazon buys Goodreads – Amazon this week announced its plans to acquire Goodreads, a social reading community and book recommendation platform that integrates with Facebook’s Open Graph. The service will continue to operate under the Goodreads name and its CEO Otis Chandler. Amazon reportedly paid $150 million for Goodreads, which has 16 million members.
Facebook is adding a new section to users’ About pages on their Timeline that showcases the social games they play.
The games section is similar to the movies, books, TV and music sections launched with the latest profile redesign earlier this month. It displays the games users have recently played and all those that they’ve Liked. Users can customize the order of their About page to feature games more prominently near the top or hide it completely.
However, unlike those other sections for entertainment, the games section does not include a list of games users “want to play.”
This is a crosspost from sister site InsideSocialGames.
Today at the Game Developers Conference, Facebook revealed new statistics, features and a Game Center for developers.
According to Facebook, more than 250 million people are playing games on the social network every month. The company is continuing to showcase itself as a huge asset for mobile developers, too, pointing out that (as of February) 55 percent of the top 400 iOS apps are integrated with Facebook. Likewise, Facebook drove 263 million clicks to the Apple App Store and Google Play.