Platforms: A Look at Facebook

I’ve been doing some more research on the platform question. While I am still open to and interested in the options previously described, one more has come up which I would like to look into further.

Facebook is a platform with 350 million active users, half of which log on in a given day.  Of those, 65 million use Facebook on their phones.  That is a lot of potential users, with a platform and a lot of the logistical issues (like logins and user data) already being maintained.  It also provides the added benefit of an easy path to mobile playability.

In addition, Facebook has already been established as a gaming platform.  8 of the top 10 most popular Facebook applications are games, even beating out “Mobile Facebook” itself.  The top game, FarmVille, has 74 million active users!  It blows away the next most popular app by more than double.

Of the popular games, the majority are mindless clicking games by Zynga, where your goal is to get farther through the themed objective than your peers by checking more often (every 5 minutes, ideally) and longer-term.  They generally follow the same mold, and seem to have mastered the science of getting users addicted, and convincing them to addict their friends.

The platform provides an inspiring opportunity for someone with a concept for a real, substantial, rich game to capture an eager audience.  Upcoming changes in Facebook’s near future paint an even more appealing for a game designer to provide an engaging user experience.

Perhaps, however, some potential players are not Facebook users and do not wish to join the network.  Because Facebook applications are essentially just rendered frames within the Facebook page, in many cases, it is conceivable to create a game whose application interface is equally interactive whether used as a Facebook application or a traditional Web site.

I do wonder if such a complete and “real” game would be well received in a market currently full of time-wasters.  If you have thoughts on the matter, please email me or leave a comment here.

Comments are closed.