Games portal apps on Facebook have seen some success in terms of traffic over the last three years, climbing into tens of millions of monthly active users in the early days of third party development on the platform. In the 12 months or so, however, several of the larger games portals have struggled to retain their audiences as more sophisticated gameplay experiences dominate Facebook. Here are the leading games portal sites on Facebook by present-day traffic levels.
For the purposes of this analysis, we limit our definition of a games portal app to Facebook apps that launch playable games from within an app as opposed to those that redirect players to off-Facebook sites for individual games. We also examine only the top trafficking app out of a group of identical apps spread across various regions in several languages.
MAU: 7.1 million
DAU: 1.7 million
GSN Games offers casino style games and some branded intellectual property titles like Wheel of Fortune, which GSN also has developed as a separate Facebook game. The portal monetizes through virtual currency and Facebook Credits, both of which are used in game to purchase tokens to spend on individual games. Games are sorted by genre and popularity.
*Note: Games was previously left off this list.
MAU: 6 million
DAU: 1 million
MindJolt is best known for being the San Francisco casual gaming studio that former MySpace chief executive Chris DeWolfe bought last year. Two months after the buy, the MindJolt Games portal climbed to its all-time high levels of 21 million MAU and 3.5 million DAU before gradually declining in the last 12 months. The portal features video and pop-up adds and sorts its games library mainly through new, popular, and sponsored games as well as by individual players’ high scores and friends’ high scores.
MAU: 1.7 million
King.com draws its origins from a casual games portal built for high score tournaments between players. The Facebook app went live just last summer and has seen excellent growth so far in 2011 following a strong performance at the end of 2010. The portal only features ads for other King.com games and has recently introduced banner ads for its cross-platform play experiences on iOS. The Facebook portal sorts its games by tournament results, popularity and genre.
MAU: 1.2 million
French developer Kobojo sees a great deal of success from a multi-regional release approach, enough so that it recently secured $7.5 million in funding to expand its regional branches. There are actually five different GooBox apps on Facebook localized for different languages; the French language app here being the largest. Like MindJolt, GooBox has seen steady decline after an early growth period experienced in late 2009 that peaked at 3.1 million MAU and 621,000 DAU. The portal appears to monetize through video ads and banner offers that award in-game currency.
Like GooBox and MindJolt, the AddictingGames portal got a head start on the Facebook platform that at one pointed yielded 1.7 million MAU and 440,000 DAU before falling off. The portal has seen a recent resurgence in the last month, recently landing on our fastest-growing games by DAU list. The portal features a mix of indie developed games and media branded intellectual property, like a Kung Fu Panda 2 game. Games are sorted by genre, newness and popularity. The portal seems to monetize through video ads.
While never as large as the other games portals on our list, MiniPlanet experienced a similar rise-and-fall pattern throughout its long life on Facebook. Where the game differs from other games portals is in the house decoration meta-game attached to the games portal. Players earn currency to spend on decorations by winning in the various games offered through the portal. They unlock more games within the portal by leveling up with earned experience points, purchasing game tokens with real money, or by inviting friends at a rate of one token earned per friend invite accepted. Games within the portal are sorted by the player’s level.
Like King.com, Zapapa Games was spawned by a casual games portal that exists off of Facebook. SPIL Games claims to be the largest social games site in the world at 130 million unique monthly users. Its Facebook component is not as robust as its origin site, however, and the portal does not feature any clear monetization. The portal sorts its offerings by singleplayer or multiplayer game types and by popularity.
All data in this analysis was compiled using AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers. If you know of a Facebook games portal app that was left off this list, let us know in the comments.