Facebook believes it has cracked the conundrum of stimulating game virality whilst not annoying the users of its colossal social network.
The company’s billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) yesterday revealed an extensive reformation to the social network. He showed that one key alteration is how Facebook is effectively splitting its news stream into two parts.
The main user feed, now called timeline, will focus solely on the personal updates of its users in a kind of scrapbook chronology.
Sitting alongside that will be another feed, called ticker, which will focus on friends’ consumption habits in a smaller real-time stream.
The ticker will display movies, music, games and applications that a user’s friends are currently using. It means that game updates will return to the front page and, the theory goes, bring back the viral success of early Facebook games without interrupting the main user feed.
In the past year, Facebook curbed game updates on people’s feeds – something which many social developers have lamented. Many said the move had choked opportunities for games to grow on the social network through word-of-mouth. Conversely, many non-game users were relieved, having complained that updates were clogging their news feed.
Speaking on stage at the San Francisco event, F8, Zuckerberg presented the two feeds as a solution that he hopes will please both groups.
He championed developers who were using the platform, claiming “social games are killing it".
"Games have been the most successful apps on Facebook,” he said.
“We think that [our new technology] is going to take social games to the next level and make them a lot better, by helping you discover even more games that you want to play, through your friends."
Zuckerberg used Zynga's Words With Friends to demonstrate on-stage how social games can again pass the eyes of Facebook users. Displaying his personal front page, the new ticker system notified that a Words With Friends game was taking place between two people in his network. And when hovering a cursor over the ticker feed, the notification expanded to show the last words each player had made.
This, it is hoped, will lead to new levels of engagement with social games and other various applications – such as Spotify – that are available on the social network.
"Social games have really already transformed the way we play games and the way the gaming industry works, but we think [our update] is going to take this to the next level. This is gonna be good,” he said.