Facebook announced a lot of changes in how it does things today: announcing a newly designed profile page around a timeline, which will enable users to share a lot more of what they are doing, wanting, listening to, watching, and playing. The changes are big, I tell you, BIG!
But let’s talk about games. We are a games site, after all.
Today, Facebook announced changes to its Open Graph so that game activity will be automatically shared within their new real-time ticker on the profile page. The good news is that you’ll see less annoying “share on wall” pop-ups. The flipside is once you give a game permission, they will be sharing a lot more of your game activities on Facebook.
By doing this, Facebook hopes to bring virality back to social games on its platform as well as help solve the problem of app discovery. Facebook is releasing a new and improved algorithm to share what games your friends are playing (“Graph Rank”).
The second thing Facebook announced is the ability to mouse over a game within the game ticker to view the the live notification and action within the game itself, citing the example of Zynga’s Words with Friends. You will then be able to click to join the game itself.
This reminds me a lot about the “games within a Facebook wall” apps that Arkadium launched last year and is very cool. You can see a screen shot below.
Time will tell whether these new changes end up being a hit for game developers and players on Facebook. On paper, they sound great and we’ll have to see if any privacy concerns arise.
One thing for certain is that increased competition from Google and Apple is driving everyone to innovate around the distribution and monetization of social games. That, in itself, is a good thing.