Facebook is a testing a “Discover New Games” sidebar module that shows several of a user’s friends who play a specific game. This new, free discovery channel could make up for some of the lost virality that resulted from Facebook closing several viral channels this year. Therefore, it could potentially help to slightly reduce the reliance of developers on marketing spend to grow their games.
The module displays the names and faces of the viewer’s friends who play a game the viewer has yet to install. The name of the game, its thumbnail icon, and a “Play Now” link appear below the facepile. When users see this implicit social recommendation by friends, they assume their must be some entertainment value in the displayed game, and may choose to click and install it.