The red hot Google+ that exploded out of the gates from its soft launch saw a slowdown of users in the past month. A regain in momentum appears imminent as the search giant launched its online games to Google+ users. With the advantages of developers, cash, and reach, Google has quickly produced a beta version of their games feature in order to maintain retention of their over 20 million users and fuels more contention with its rival Facebook.
Current Google+ users can easily access games by pushing on a new 'Games' icon. The button is the latest addition to its current Photos, Profiles, and Circles feature. Users will then see a selection of 16 games to play such as Angry Birds, City of Wonder, monster World, and Crime City. Before playing the games, Google+ requests permission to share profile data including scores to brag to other users.
Navigation is simple to use thanks to a clutterless user interface and allow users to begin playing games instantly. Google's Games feature opens onto another new page and its interface avoids displaying other non related content such as news feeds and updates. Progress from game playing can be updated to the user's profile.
"That means giving you control over when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences...Games in Google+ are there when you want them and gone when you don't... If you're not interested in games, it's easy to ignore them...Your stream will remain focused on conversations with the people you care about," wrote Google's Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra.
Google understands the importance of Facebook's success utilizing online game playing. According to Facebook and Zynga, the dynamic duo successfully retained 266 million monthly users online for a total of 2 billion minutes, all spent on playing games. Google looks to capture a piece of the pie with its first steps into social games. In order to differentiate their new feature and gain advantage to Facebook's current model, Google will offer more generous benefits to developers.
One strategy Google is rumored to take is undercutting the competition with receiving less commission. Developing games for Facebook will earn developers 70% of revenue, due to the social network's fees for game transactions services. Google reported that it plans to jump in and offer a generous 95% share of revenues to game developers, while keeping 5% for service fees. The announcement could be a huge draw for current developers looking to make a larger profit through Google's current promotional pricing.
"That's a way to woo developers to consider Google+ first...And somebody will. There's a lot of guys who have a lot of trouble getting noticed on Facebook," said Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities analyst.
Games companies such as Zynga, PopCap, Playdom, and Wooga could see benefits with another social network contender arising. Google+ may be looking to game giants such as Zynga to produce game favorites such as CityVille and FarmVille. After all, Google did invest $100 million into Zynga. Currently Zynga and Facebook are working closely but Google's emergence may possibly trigger some changes.
Google's Games launch has spurred a reaction from rival Facebook who responded with a few tweaks of their own. The objectives are to engage gamers more than before through more competition and simplifying access to games. According to Facebook's blog the social network giant will integrate a real time app ticker along with a most used list within the interface.
"The live ticker below the bookmarks shows real-time app and game activity from a user's friends to make the game playing experience on Facebook more social than ever. We automatically generate 'playing' and 'using' stories in the ticker when friends use an app or play a game respectively helping users re-engage and discover new games and apps that their friends are using," wrote Facebook.
The charts will show users where they rank in real time among their network of gamers as updates are streamed into the user's accounts. Users are encouraged to play for more points and try to out rank their friends. Facebook's approach strays from Google's clutterless interface and could potentially attract additional users as well as getting gamers to play more.
Google+ has pushed a few of Facebook's buttons but will obviously need more titles in order to become a threat. Those who log into their account can temporarily find entertainment within its 16 titles and Google plans to release more gaming fun in the near future.
"Games will be gradually rolling out so you might not see it right away," said a Google Representative.
Check out the latest games offered by Google+ along with some potential future titles that are sure to reel in gamers. Click "START" to begin.