Facebook has released a whole slew of new figures at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today, showing significant growth in the number of people playing social games and completing microtranscations.
The company also revealed that it will be launching a new Timeline section later this week, focused solely on video games. “The game section will give people a way to express their favourite games on their timeline and About page, and will serve as another re-engagement and discovery channel for game developers,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
This sounds like a change to users’ profile pages, although it could also be related to the curated News Feed section shown a few weeks ago:
Over 250 million people are now playing games on Facebook.com each month. That’s up from 235 million last August and 205 million twelve months prior, now representing 20 percent of all daily Facebook Web users.
It’s a notable increase and should give a little concern to Apple and Google, who have both found success offering casual or social games through their respective stores for iOS and Android devices.
What’s interesting, however, is that throughout the month of February more than half of the top 400 iOS games were integrated with Facebook. It highlights a cross-platform approach prevalent in the video game industry at the moment, which encourages players to connect with their favorite franchises on a multitude of devices and services.
As a result, Facebook drove 263 million clicks from the mobile News Feed to Google Play and the Apple App Store. It’s unclear how many of those visitors completed the transaction or decided to look elsewhere, but regardless, that’s a high figure that should bolster the number of app downloads for both mobile ecosystems.
Game installations on Facebook.com have also increased by 75 percent compared to March 2012, showing an interest in more resource-heavy releases on the social network.
Together there are now roughly 200 games on Facebook.com, with more than 1 million monthly active users on each. As with many social games, or at least those adopting the free-to-play model, in-app transactions are vital for creating a steady flow of revenue.
It can feel a little cheap, but Facebook says over 100 developers earned more than $1 million last year via games available on the social network. We might detest it, but we’re still paying for those power-ups and multi-colored hats, it would seem.
In fact, the total number of people paying for content on Facebook has increased 24 percent compared with March last year. It means that in total, $2 billion was paid out to game developers in 2012.
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