What’s Ahead For Facebook Games In 2013?

By Justin Lafferty 

Games are an important part of the Facebook ecosystem. As the games market diversifies, with new developers entering the mix, so do the titles available on the social network. At a media event for Berlin-based developer Wooga in San Francisco Thursday, Facebook Director of Games Partnerships Sean Ryan discussed the future of social games with AllFacebook, pointing out that Facebook is working to offer a more diverse array of games to users, as well as to make it easier for gamers to have a continuous experience on desktops, phones, and tablets.

Ryan discussed with AllFacebook what lies ahead for gaming in 2013, namely a wider breadth of available games. In late January, Facebook updated the categories of its app center in order to better reflect the games’ genres. Ryan said Facebook will work more on that side to accurately categorize games. He wants to make sure that Facebook’s game offerings match the diversity of gamers out there on the social network.

In 2012, casino, hidden object, and casual games were among the most popular, but that may change this year as some users seek deeper game experiences, Ryan said:

Last year was primarily about casino, hidden object, and casual, and we’ll continue to see those expand. But I think we’ll see a rise in the core games as developers figure out how to make them social.

Ryan also told reporters that one of Facebook’s biggest goals this year, in terms of games, is to bring more players into core and mid-core games, which require a little more time and effort than casual games.

Facebook also tweaked the notifications application programming interface last year, making it easier for developers to remind players to come back or inform them of key moments. Ryan said the notification API is moving toward a more engaging format. Instead of simply notifying users that they haven’t played in a few days, or that they’ve leveled up, the notifications will let users know that one of their friends just destroyed their city, is offering them tokens, or some other player vs. player prompt that will bring users back into the app.

Additionally, Ryan said the company is focused on taking the tablet seriously, and ensuring that users can play games on the Facebook canvas on their desktops, move to their phones, then finish with their tablets, and will be able to pick up right where they left off each time:

Diamond Dash was really our only good example of this. Now you look at what we’re seeing this year — you see a whole set of games where tablets, in particular, have become more important. You’re seeing the synchronized games between PC and tablet. Tablets are different because there are certain types of games that just don’t work well on a small screen. Tablets are really the bridge between mobile and PC.

Ryan’s discussion about synchronized gaming came after Wooga CEO Jens Begemann announced the launch of four new games on the Facebook canvas: a mobile version of Monster World, Pocket Village (for iOS), Kingsbridge, and Pearl’s Peril. Begemann noted that Pearl’s Peril — a hidden-object game where a pilot has to put together clues to figure out how her father died — will be special as it will use Facebook Connect to ensure the cross-platform experience Ryan described.

Pearl’s Peril will be released on Facebook March 5, with iOS versions of the game coming sometime in the second quarter.

Like Facebook, Wooga is also moving toward becoming a mobile company, as Begemann told reporters that roughly 50 percent of the company’s revenue comes from mobile.

For a more in-depth look at Wooga’s new games, check out sister site Inside Social Games.

Readers: How else can Facebook improve the games ecosystem?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.