The man responsible for getting more games on Facebook wants it to start hosting core crowd pleasers like shooters and footy sims.
In an interview with MCV, Facebook’s global head of game partnerships Sean Ryan said he wants the site to have as broad a selection as that found on consoles.
If you look at the breadth of games on the console – Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo – you see hundreds of types of games, from sports to core shooters to family games and social games.
He added: Then you look at our platform… and we don’t yet have that type of breadth.
That’s because we are young – we are only three and a half years old. We are a pure platform – we don’t invest in games or make them. But we ask ourselves how we can make games like a football manager title rise up and become a success. There is a range of sophisticated games we want to get on our platform.”
Doom-mongers may say this spells out trouble for traditional games firms – yet Ryan said it’s a chance to start getting high-end games to reach bigger audiences.
Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony already use the Facebook Social Graph API for 360, PS3 and DS so gamers can post messages or pictures to their Facebook newsfeeds.
Said Ryan: Look at the earnings announcements from Take-Two and EA – and even Activision now. They are talking about the move to social. Does it cause a problem for them? I’m not sure. In the last 20 years we have seen the expansion of the game business from what used to be young boys to young men, to now everybody; women and men of all ages. Gaming is no longer seen as something you do by yourself.
Everybody games, just at different levels. What Facebook does through social games, as Apple and Google have done in mobile, is broadening the types of users who play games. So is this a challenge for the traditional companies? It’s an opportunity.”
Ryan did, however, concede that this activity inevitably means gamers spend less time playing on a dedicated games machine.
The users we speak to say ‘during the day I play Facebook games and at night I play Call of Duty’. Right now in the traditional space you aren’t seeing a cannibalising influence.
But there are few hours in the day. Our aim is to have more people playing on Facebook or via games on consoles using the Social Graph. There is no question the hours spent on Facebook have to come from somewhere and that may mean eating into other traditional gaming areas.”