By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated July 30, 2013.
Facebook is looking to drive revenue from the mobile games business. The company on Tuesday announced an initiative to publish and promote casual games.
In a blog post, the social media giant said it's seeing "record numbers" of people playing games on its platform. At the same time, the company noted, the games ecosystem is "steadily growing" as developers keep building high-quality desktop and mobile games.
"As the mobile app ecosystem expands, breaking through and getting discovered in a crowded marketplace is the biggest challenge for mobile games," Facebook's Victor Medeiros said. "Facebook has already been helping with app discovery through products such as mobile app install ads. However, there are many developers with awesome mobile games who don't yet have the upfront resources for a paid strategy, and we want to help them find a path to success, too."
A Developers' Dream Come True
With that in mind, the company announced Facebook Mobile Games Publishing. It's a new pilot program to help small and medium-size developers take their mobile games global.
Through the program, Medeiros said Facebook will work with "select" game developers and provide promotional support for their games in placements across its mobile apps. Facebook is betting its initiative will bring new, high-quality mobile games to its platform -- and a new revenue stream.
The pilot project could be a dream come true for indie game developers. Facebook boasts more than 800 million monthly users of its mobile apps. Also, more than 260 million people play games on the platform. Facebook is pledging to use both its reach and targeting capabilities to help games in the pilot 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," Medeiros said. "For example, we will help strategy game fans find strategy games and casual game enthusiasts find casual games."
Facebook's Vested Interest
The company will offer help attracting high-quality, long-term players and share analytics tools. Medeiros said Facebook is already working with 10 developers from all over the world.
With Zynga faltering, is Facebook looking to take advantage? That's what we asked Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. He told us he doesn't think the pilot project is directed at Zynga.
"This is part of the recent history of Facebook; and games have been a big source of engagement," Sterling said. "This seems smart and will be welcome by game developers looking for additional distribution."