While similar to what you might see on other sites, like Facebook, the features should bolster MySpace’s ability to connect users and apps, and help it lock down its status as the second largest social gaming platform.
Here’s a closer look.
Share: The Share on MySpace button has already been available across the web. If you’re on another site, like YouTube, you can share the content — a video, or whatnot — back into your MySpace activity stream. The shared item will include an image and text, and a prominent link back to the source. The new feature, called Share for Games, is intended to provide similar functionality from within an app: you can share content from an app directly into the stream and get users clicking through that way. More, from the company:
Apps are able to share more types of content into the stream, like links and photos. Developers are also able to include an externally hosted image with the stream activity. This means developers can quickly customize and test photos associated with stream content. Currently, our Activities API only allows developers to include a photo that’s been uploaded to myspace.
MySpace says that tests show the Share option now accounting for between 10% to 20% of new installs per day in some games, with the feature already becoming the second-largest install source behind invites, and overall generating a 14-fold increase in stream click-through rates over the existing API.
In-Game Friending: Until now, MySpace users who find each other within games have had to separately friend each other on the site in order to access features of an app that required the friend connection. The new API will let people who find each other in a game then friend each other directly, without having to leave the application canvas page. The point, as MySpace describes, is to enable users to do things like connect with other engaged players even if their own friends don’t want to use the app.
MySpace says some developers are seeing friend acceptance rates of between 65% and 70%, with most users accepting friends within several hours; it also says that gift sending has gone up 16% as a result.
User-to-User App Requests: This API lets a user send one or more other users a virtual gift or other request, featuring a custom image and text. If the recipient hasn’t added the app yet, the request will include an invite to do so. This is an improvement on MySpace’s existing app-to-user communication, which can feel less personal than direct friend communication.
MySpace’s initial tests are only with some developers, and its stats do not indicate the size of the apps trying them out — results may vary, of course. Still, all of these features are along the lines of what Facebook has iterated to in the last few of years, and are at this point industry best practices. That’s not accident. MySpace hired Lolapps product executive Manu Rehki earlier this year to help lead its game platform development; Lolapps and Rehki have been in the trenches of Facebook app development for years, and he no doubt came into the new job with clear ideas for what features to build out.
Overall, MySpace has been busy this year making app-focused improvements. In March, for example, it released a redesign that made apps more prominent in main sections of the site interface. More recently, it has tested out other features, like a Games filter in the stream, and better app search options.
We also got a few more stats from MySpace about activity on the platform. Around a third of the site’s nearly 100 million users are regularly playing games, it tells us, with men representing more than half of all players, at 55%. The 20 most engaging apps are getting an average of 80 minutes playing time per user per month, with the average game at 10 minutes. Vanity-focused apps are doing particularly well, including “What’s your Street Reputation?” and “Tag Me.” For more, see our monthly list of the 25 largest games on the platform.
In sum, these changes won’t themselves make Myspace the leading social gaming platform, but they do help developers build more engaging apps, and that could lead to more traffic growth down the road.