Back to News for Developers

Making Games on Facebook Better

September 21, 2010ByJared Morgenstern

First, hello from the new Games team! Over the last few months, we’ve assembled a team of dedicated engineers and product managers who are focused exclusively on designing the platform you need to maximize the potential of your games. And we are game lovers, every last one of us. We’re looking forward to working with you to build even better games experiences on Facebook.

It is clear that games have been one of the most successful categories of Platform applications, but we’ve struggled in the past with how to optimize the games experience on Facebook. People who use Facebook either tend to tell us that they love playing games or hate them, and we haven’t had the right tools to enable developers to grow their games while at the same time providing a great user experience for non-gamers. We’re building more sophisticated tools that will allow us all to be more successful against those goals.

Today we’re announcing a series of changes designed to lay the foundation for further games innovation on Facebook. The updates are the first step toward a new platform infrastructure and APIs that will provide you with the tools to reach and engage the growing number of people who play games, and drive discovery among their friends.

Drive Re-engagement

  • Targeting stories based on usage. Application stories will only be shown to those who are already engaging with the application. This means people who play games on Facebook can freely share stories about challenges and progress with friends, without worrying about overwhelming their friends who don’t play.
  • Displaying full game stories. Now that game stories are uniquely aimed at the people playing them, they will no longer be collapsed or aggregated in News Feed. This gives you more real estate to reach your users with more relevant content.
  • Deploying smarter bookmarks. The apps people use the most will be automatically bookmarked and will reorder based on usage. Individual apps will no longer need to request people to bookmark them.
  • Displaying more prominent counts. If there’s a task to be completed within a game, or a user has an outstanding invitation, a count will be highlighted next to the bookmark on their home page for convenient re-engagement.

Improve Discovery

  • Surfacing game activity through friends. By showing fewer but more impactful News Feed stories based on friends’ activity and social context, we hope to drive new user growth for games. For example, instead of the typical story saying that someone just bought a new item, it could say “Dave, Jonny and 3 other friends” just started playing a game.
  • Moving requests. With the more prominent counts, we’re encouraging users to look to the left hand nav for their daily Facebook activity, so it makes sense for games re-engagement and discovery for requests to move to that high visibility area.

Additionally, with these changes, we’re also simplifying our platform policies dramatically. We realize that detailed policies that spell out exactly what you can do and can’t do are hard for developers and simply add friction to the process of building on Facebook. With the changes we are making today, we are in a better position to eliminate many specific policies in favor of broader principles to ensure that applications respect user trust. Learn more about the policy changes here.

We’re looking forward to more games that connect friends and family everywhere. You can find images of the new games experience here.

Jared, product manager for Games, just played a 7 letter word in Scrabble against his Mom.