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Facebook: We're offering 100 million niche audiences

Tue 15 Nov 2011 8:44am GMT / 3:44am EST / 12:44am PST
Development

Developers are better monetising, marketing and engaging with social audiences, says Facebook games boss

The growth in gaming on Facebook now means that the social network is offering up niche audiences of up to 100 million users, according to games boss Gareth Davis.

Speaking in an exclusive interview published today on GamesIndustry.biz, Davies said he over the past 18 months games developers have begun to serve the hardcore gaming market in an environment that was recently just considered a casual audience.

"We have so many users now on Facebook that we can have really big niches. 100 million user niches. We see the emergence now of companies on Facebook who are building what they'd call a core game. Games targeted at people who played PC games back in the day, strategy games," he said.

"They're at the quality level now of those PC games. We think that area has really emerged in the last 18 months."

Developers and publishers understand that Facebook offers multiple niches, said Davis, and there are big enough audiences to make specific game genres profitable on the platform.

"I think we've really seen the game developers understand that it's not one-size-fits-all, it's about different kinds of game for different audiences.

"So we're seeing this broadening now of the kinds of games and audiences and you can be very successful, creating different types of games and you can make a lot of money doing it. We're seeing a real maturing of the eco-system as people figure out the right opportunities and go after them."

Companies such as Kabam and A Bit Lucky are currently chasing the hardcore crowd on Facebook, looking to attract an audience that already exists but isn't being served the right gaming experiences.

As Facebook has continued to tweak the platform in terms of social virality, developers have become better at successfully working the platform into their game experiences, said Davis.

"I think as we've been tuning this the games industry on Facebook has been very successful. It's continued to be able to gain mass markets of users, tens of millions of users. They've worked out how to engage their users - the engagements levels have been way up over the last couple of years. And monetisation. They've really figured out how to provide the right things to the right people so that they're willing to pay for it."

However, Davis reiterated Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's assertion that the company itself would never get into the business of making games, preferring to refine the service and platform.

"We're not going to build games because games are really hard to build and our expertise is in building the platform. So we are 100 per cent focused on building the best possible platform to enable developers to build social experiences everywhere, particularly mobile, today."

The full interview with Davis, where is also discusses the recent changes to MAU and DAU figures, can be read here. He will be speaking at Evolve in London on December 1, details of which can be found on the official website.

8 Comments

Armando Marini Product Development, Big Viking Games

16 0 0.0
You know what they need to REALLY exploit this? A simple way to find a game on Facebook. It's a frustrating search process at the moment.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Daniel Hunnicutt Gameplay Programmer, SoCa Studios

2 0 0.0
Does any once feel like there are 2 gaming industries now? There is one for people who actually play and buy games (the 'core' market) and then there are people who just read RSS Feeds about how facebook and social gaming is the next evolution. Somehow, these people, like the person in this article, have become the voice of the gaming industry. The examples of 'core' games on Facebook from Kabam and A Bit Lucky are run of the mill Zynga clones like every game on Facebook. Anyone who considers this to be attractive to core gamers is clearly one of those people who played through Angry Birds and now considers him/herself a gamer. The only thing Facebook has done for the industry is bring poor quality business model games created by people who believe analytics and A/B testing are the only way to create games. 'Ooh look, Farmville in space, this must be for those hardcore players'

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,130 1,162 1.0
Games have become like painting. Some customers can be sold brush and palette, why others better take home that painting-by-the-numbers set. We need a Bob Ross of gaming to teach the finer points of using 16 button joypads, I guess.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
Nice comments :)
I'd like to add this: why should I buy a game on Facebook, if they started making core (??) games? In what sense Facebook is a "platform"? Won't they be running on my old pc and OS as always? And then, why should I buy them on Facebook and not, say, on Desura or Steam or in a shop?
It's time to realize that Facebook games are attractive because you can play them with one hand, maybe while chatting or surfing on other sites. If you bring me a full-screen highly immersive title, why do I need Facebook? Even "simple" games like Super Meat Boy are so hardcore that they don't give you many chances to alt-tab every minute to reply in chat.
If they had some exclusive highly attractive title only available via Facebook then I could understand but that's unlikely, and if I'm to choose between the boxed Starcraft 2 and Crapcraft on Facebook I fear the choice is too simple. Even if it was between the boxed SC2 and SC2 on Facebook.
I think Facebook should stop bothering with its crazy ideas and focus on what they are: a meeting website.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Gregore Candalez Journalist and Account Assistant, FD Com.

53 3 0.1
Social games are a plague, in my opinion. They are fast food, marketed to bored people.
The major companies have milked dry the farm/city formula and need to widen the array of options. Farm administration, city administration, zoo administration, et cetera, have long lost their appeal.

Atari's D&D, which is a tactical adventure, hinted with RPG, is a very refreshing title to the social games market, in my opinion. We could use more games like that. If a gamer wishes to kill some time at work, he/she will not play Farmville.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,130 1,162 1.0
Corporate most requested feature (I am not making this up):
How to firewall Facebook games without locking the PR department out of Facebook.

Turns out there are more jobs where you can play Farmville than Skyrim; as unbelievable and far-fetched as this claim might sound on this site.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
@Gregore: I heard from an insider that many social game customers (sometimes playing the most ugly and buggy game available) spend thousands of dollars on free to play. Even if you just get a few of such customers addicted to your game, you make big money. Keep in mind that the games I'm talking about are easy to make, require maybe 2 workers and aren't refined at all, so there's a lot of room for profit.
You might think that those golden egg chickens are rare, but I can tell you there's quite enough of them to keep the business up.
This doesn't count the enormous quantity of people paying more reasonable prices, of course.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Florencia Cafure Project Manager, Vostu

3 0 0.0
"Games targeted at people who played PC games back in the day, strategy games," he said.They're at the quality level now of those PC games"

mmmm still far away from PC games with high quality....

Posted:2 years ago

#8

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