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This article was published on December 23, 2011

Facebook introduces changes to encourage gaming, particularly on mobile

Facebook introduces changes to encourage gaming, particularly on mobile

Facebook has introduced a series of tweaks to its platform that will place greater emphasis on gaming in a bid to encourage users to play more games through the social network, according to a blog post from the company.

The most significant change sees Facebook begin a test to add news items relating to games to users’ mobile timelines. This will mean that Facebook users see notifications of games that their friends have played, whilst they use the social network on their mobile phone.

An update on Facebook’s Developer blog explains more:

We’ve recently begun testing aggregated game stories for mobile platform apps to drive traffic from mobile devices to games. Gamers and non-gamers alike will see stories for the games their friends are playing the most.

As we gather user and developer feedback from this test, we’ll continue to iterate on the feature as we focus on making feed a strong acquisition channel for developers.

Other changes include updates to games categories to help users navigate and discover new titles:

We’ve added new categories for “Casino”, “Family”, “Sports”, “Strategy” and “Word”, “Role Playing” is now “Adventure” [and] “Virtual World” is now “Simulation”.

In a further step to increase the visibility of games, the number of bookmarks that are displayed within a browser (on the top right hand side) will expand from four to six. Facebook has already tested this feature, which will encourage developers as it has “increased referrals from canvas bookmarks to games by 20%”.

Finally, users will see that notifications relating to games and app have now been merged in the dashboard, a move that Facebook hopes see users “re-engage” with apps and games.

It isn’t just end users that will suit the fruit of Facebook’s efforts, as the social network has added a game development guide, to aid developers and encourage the growth of the games within its ecosystem, as well as usage of them.

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