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The Facebook Gaming Platform Is Not Dead (Yet)

Games running on Facebook’s platform are alive and well, Facebook game partnerships head Dan Morris tells BuzzFeed News . The company even has a hall of fame for its newest hits.


Facebook isn't giving up on its games just yet.

Despite a slight recent downturn in revenue generated by online games, the company still sees it as a mature and lucrative destination for game developers — one that will continue to drive revenue even as most developers shift to a mobile-first strategy, Facebook head of games partnerships Dan Morris told BuzzFeed News.

The company sees itself as two parts of the puzzle: one of the destinations online for games that could span multiple devices, and a tool for developers to find gamers and drive downloads and activity to their games, as well as save progress across multiple devices. The company says it has driven more than 350 million installs since launching its app install ads, and 65% of top grossing apps on Apple App Store and Google Play use mobile app ads that either drive installs or get users to return to games.

“We know that there are hundreds of millions of people every month who are continuing to engage in a Facebook-connected game — that's post install,” he said. “We see a lot of people who can be reached and potentially retained via Facebook's channels, and that's what 2015 is increasingly about for us.”

Facebook's current gaming platform, meanwhile, experienced its first ever revenue decline, falling 2% in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2013. Speaking during the company's third quarter earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner said Facebook expects the trend to continue. Part of Facebook's challenge is that, for the most part, its traditional gaming platform isn't really seen as a go-to for game developers any more.

While gaming companies in 2014 universally adopt a mobile-first strategy — with the most successful having risen to prominence on the strength of massive hits like Candy Crush Saga — developers have increasingly found themselves developing user experiences that can span multiple devices. That includes the desktop, where Facebook can serve as a destination.

Not surprisingly, that still includes Facebook — one of the original online platforms for games that drove the rise of companies like Zynga on the strength of viral hits FarmVille and CityVille. And hits like Candy Crush Saga use Facebook Login to save progress across multiple devices. That, in turn, opens up the opportunity to create a desktop gaming experience, with Facebook being the natural place for those games to live. Though, even for a company like King Facebook user activity continues to drop, according to the company's most-recent financial release.

Internally, the company remains heavily devoted to its gaming platform, and has made a hall of fame and a best-of list for games. This year's inductees include “Top Eleven Be A Football Manager,” a mouthful of a game that's basically exactly as it sounds but has more than 5 million people playing. Others include Zynga's “Words With Friends and Poker,” as well as a number of other casino-style games.



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