Live From Facebook's Games Announcement

-Facebook Games Icon-We’re live at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto for the company’s games announcement. While we aren’t quite sure what the company will be announcing today, it sounds as though the company will be announcing something about more distribution/communication channels for games. We’ll be posting updates live. So stay tuned.

[4:56 PM PST] – Someone is expected to begin in the next 5 minutes or so. We’ll post and update once they get started.

[4:58 PM PST] – You can catch the livestream below. We’ll be following up with key highlights.

[5:06] – Julia Lam of Facebook prepares for the announcement. Dan Rose of Facebook is introducing Mark Zuckerberg. Jared Moregenstern will also be making some statements.

[5:07] – Mark Zuckerberg is speaking as says that almost 300 million people come to the site every day. (I’m paraphrasing this talk). He says that it’s pretty interesting because hundreds of people love games on Facebook, while simultaneously hundreds of millions don’t like games. They’ve been working to figure out how to “thread the needle” properly.

Mark Zuckerberg Speaks

5:10] – Mark is discussing the site integrity team which is focused on making sure that content displays properly. Right now over the past few months, the teams has been focused primarily on friend requests. Friend spam over the past month have gone down 40 percent. Mark has also mentioned that games are the source of some of the most complaints on Facebook. They are among the top 5 things that people don’t want on the site for some people.

[5:14] – A lot of the solutions that we’ve come up are pretty simple. If someone is playing a game, and they like that game, don’t limit the amount of content that’s displayed from that game. If you don’t play the game, you probably don’t want as much content about that game. If you play a game every day we want to make sure there’s a stable link in the navigation.

[5:20] – Jared Morgenstern is talking about how much he enjoyed Nintendo Power and the listing for video game colleges. This is all most likely background for the announcements. More than 200 million people play games on Facebook each month.

[5:25] – Jared is discussing the development of a loft at the company for playing and developing games related things. So now that we have this loft, what are we going to be doing in that loft? So here are the changes:

  • The first is to fix navigation and make it more useful. There will now be a relevance algorithm to determine what applications will be displayed in the left side. There will always be a set of “core services” on top and then below the content will constantly be changing.

  • The second is a “stronger re-engagement channel”. We’re going to use this through our own products. This is blue bubbles on the right hand side. Essentially redesigned counters.
  • The third thing is to “simplify and strengthen behaviors”. As such we are going to modify all these requests and notifications so that they all take place from the left-hand navigation. We will also add the ability to retract requests in order to protect developers from having a poor request allocation.

  • The fourth category has to do with “understanding our shared audience”. We should let users know that when they are publishing stories they aren’t spamming all their friends. The friends that the stories will only be visible to friends using the application. However we don’t want to kill discovery. As such, we’ll let you know which of your friends are adding games.

    Targeted Stream Posts

  • Finally, we’ll be making viral loops more frictionless.

Jared said they will also be introducing a new set of gaming APIs. Dan has come on stage to discuss some of these changes and the rationale behind them. Jared is now fielding a question which is about the stream stories. He is confirming that users who don’t currently use game will not receive stream stories.

“Requests and discover stories are the only new user discovery channels.” Developers don’t seem happy about this. Mark Zuckerberg took note of this and has now taken the mic to explain that they are now setting a base to move forward from. He wants to emphasize that over the long term “we may add more features so people can broadcast stories broadly”.

Dan Rose is also emphasizing how important discovery stories will be. One of the audience members is asking for more clarification about these “discovery stories”. Jared has fielded the question and says that “this will be evolving”. The first story will be based on a user installing an application and using it to a level that “we believe merits displaying that story”. Overall we’re looking to balance it out so that the newsffed is relevant.

An audience member just asked for clarification about the strategy behind free credits. Dan is saying that the goal is to grow the percentage of people who play the games that spend money. One of the ways we are attempting at doing that is by giving people the opportunity to buy goods without spending money. “We’re now trying to gather the data” about how that’s performing. “We only gave these credits to people who never spent money before.”

One developer is saying that the cost of user acquisition has gone up significantly. How do you see credits being rolled out? Unfortunately “we can’t bring all the games on at once” and our goal is to get to a point where “all games” are accepting credits. Mark is discussing something about the increasing cost of user acquisition. “We are balancing two things” the cost of acquiring a user and the ease with which users can reengage with those games. “What we’re trying to do is make it so those people who play games have them as a greater part of the overall experience.”