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Platform Updates for Games Developers

December 22, 2011ByNamita Gupta

As part of ongoing efforts to optimize Platform for game developers, and to reflect the diversity of games growing on Platform, we’ve made updates to the games categories as well as some of the main communication channels, including Bookmarks and the Apps and Games Dashboard. Additionally, we are testing new feed stories on mobile, to improve app engagement. Finally we have also published a Games Tutorial to provide game developers best practices for building on Facebook Platform.

Games Category Updates

As the types of games on Facebook become more diverse, we’re updating and expanding the list of game categories. It's important that your game is categorized correctly, as we use categories to surface relevant games for users, which can increase distribution for your games. In order to streamline the categories, we've removed the "Other" category. If your game is categorized as "Other", you will need to pick a new category.

Here are the additional updates:

  • We've added new categories for "Casino", "Family", "Sports", "Strategy" and "Word".
  • "Role Playing" is now "Adventure".
  • "Virtual World" is now "Simulation".

Here is the full list of the updated Games Categories:

Action & Arcade CasinoSports
AdventureFamily Strategy
Board Puzzle Trivia
Card SimulationWord

To set your Game Category, go to the Developer App and then hit "Edit Settings" for your app. You can now categorize your app by navigating to About > Basic Info and selecting "Games" in the first drop down menu in the category field and then selecting the relevant Game sub-category in the second drop down menu.

Bookmarks Updated

Bookmarks are one of the top drivers of re-engagement for apps. We recently increased the number of bookmarks at the top right of every canvas page from four to six. Early results have shown that this has increased referrals from canvas bookmarks to games by 20%.

We've also updated bookmark counters on the home page to clear automatically once clicked, similar to how notifications behave. Previously, these counters would clear once the requests expired or were deleted by the developer. This update should make it clearer to users when they have a pending action and drive greater re-engagement.

Combined Apps & Games Dashboard

We combined the Games and Apps dashboards into a single dashboard, called "Apps and Games". The updated dashboard will allow users to see all their requests and invites in a single page and will highlight new apps and games to them. Invites from friends are pinned to the top of the dashboard, and the top apps section showcases the apps and games friends are using most.

We believe a combined dashboard will grow the apps and games ecosystem by creating a single place where users can discover and re-engage with your apps.

Testing Games Stories in the Mobile News Feed

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.

To track referrals coming from this story you look for the ref param "feed_gameplay".

Games Tutorial

Earlier this month we hosted the first ever Social Games Hack at the Facebook HQ and have since posted videos for all the content that was presented there. As a follow up we have created a Games Tutorial to help developers get started with building social games on Facebook. This tutorial provides several pro-tips and best practices for using our social channels, building seamless experiences on Canvas and finally monetization strategies on Facebook.

Please provide us thoughts and feedback in the comments below.