Facebook says for social games to succeed, developers need to make their games more social and embrace targeted sharing tools such as Open Graph. Speaking at a meeting with press at the company’s headquarters, Facebook director of user growth Alex Schultz said games on their platform need to be “fundamentally better with friends, and fundamentally impossible to play without your friends.”
Schultz pointed to Open Graph as the perfect tool to spread the word about games to friends, given how it promotes “shares that are intentional by the user.”
With the way Open Graph functions, once a user adds an app to their Timeline any actions within the app are shared with their friends. In-app actions become woven into users’ activity on Facebook, constantly prompting friends to join them.
“If people are visiting their friends’ profiles — which they do — you have these aggregation units that say ‘Alex defeated five enemies this week’, or whatever. That kind of data — seeing what their friends like to play, and the progress they’re making — gets users excited to try a game,” said Schultz.
He also pointed to mobile as an increasingly important platform to drive Facebook app adoption. There is now a seamless transition between Facebook apps played online or on mobile apps.
“Mobile is bringing this, too,” Schultz said. “Mobile platforms can drive a delayed bump in users — and increased engagement — if, for example, a previously iOS-specific game is ported to Android. Players’ friends can see via Facebook that a game that they were interested in is now on their mobile platform of choice, and help boost engagement for everyone by joining in.”