As part of a series of updates to the games platform, Facebook has been restoring some of the virality it previously removed from social games in the news feed and on friends’ walls. Here’s an early example of a “frictionless” games requests viral tool implemented in Zynga’s Pioneer Trail:
The idea is that a player selecting “Quick Post” can bypass the Facebook dialogue box (pictured above) that triggers after clicking “Ask Friends.” This would add value to the user experience because it wouldn’t take the player out of the game to click on the dialogue box for each “Ask Friends” action (of which there are a lot in most social games). This feature also adds virality to the game from the developer side as the Wall posts will appear on any friend the player has selected to send the request to.
As this feature is clearly in its early testing phases, we cannot follow the flow of these posts all the way to the point where it winds up on a friend’s Wall. It is also not clear if Facebook would require developers to limit these “frictionless requests” (for lack of an official term) to only those Facebook friends already playing the game. The idea of a player posting games stories to non-gaming Facebook friends’ Walls seems like it would contradict all of the anti-spam measures Facebook took in the last year to limit the appearance of games stories to non-gaming users.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this feature as it develops. We expect to see Zynga reaching full implementation of frictionless requests before some other games begin to experiment with it as Zynga has a much larger workforce to devote toward testing new features. It’s also possible that certain developers are getting first dibs on testing the new feature, limiting the number of places we might see it in the coming weeks.