Whether your games are good, bad, or merely mediocre, there’s one thing every developer can agree on – getting noticed matters. Your game might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if nobody knows about it nobody’s going to play it. And while marketing plays a pretty big role in this, sometimes visibility has a lot do with the platform you choose.
When a platform is hot, everyone rushes to develop for it. The end result is that there are simply too many games coming out, and some great ones are going to get lost in the shuffle. This is a fact that has dogged both Facebook and the iOS App Store for some time now. In February Apple acquired Chomp, a social app discovery company, seemingly in an effort to address this problem. Now it looks like Facebook is taking their own steps, too
Inside Facebook is reporting that Facebook has reintroduced star ratings for apps, and have added app-specific requests to homepage on right hand side of the news feed. The star ratings will appear whenever you hover over the name of a game, so if you’re friend posts an achievement and you want to hover and see what the game is, you’ll also get a star rating to let you know what other players think about it.
In an effort to cut down on developer abuse of star ratings (ie naughty devs looking to manipulate the system and drive up their ratings), players won’t be able to simply rate any game they like. Instead, players will be randomly prompted when playing (or after playing) a game to rate it, and will also be asked for a rating when removing an app. On the downside, as Inside Facebook points out, this could lead to an unfairly negative curve ,as players who are removing the game will presumably have nothing but negative feelings.
The other change is that game-specific requests will now be appearing on the right-hand side of the screen just below the Facebook Ticker. It’s a small change, but it also feels a little like overkill, as a lengthy list of game requests already appears to the left of any Facebook gamer’s news feed.
These changes come 8 months after Facebook unveiled its revamped Games pages, which were largely designed to help gamers discover what was new, what their friends were playing, and what they might have missed that was worth their time. That said, some of the games that are currently on their “new” list were covered here on Gamezebo two years ago – so it’s not exactly a boon for new developers hoping to get on the map.
Discoverability is easily one of the biggest problems social game developers face, especially on Facebook. And while Facebook seems to be trying to rectify the problem, it also seems like there’s no easy answer. Google+ seems to have the right idea, curating and hand-picking which games will appear and when – but it’s not like Facebook can turn back the clock and adopt the same strategy.
Little tweaks like this are nice, but if Facebook really wants to help games get noticed they’re going to have to do something more revolutionary. Until that day comes, you can always count on Gamezebo to let you know which new Facebook games are worth your time. 😉