Google’s new social networking site Google+ has rolled out a handful of games triggering rumors that it could pose a challenge to the gaming system of Facebook.
Facebook, with a user-base of 750 million over the world has more than 1 million monthly active users of the 85 games in the site.
Sean Ryan, director of games partnership at Facebook said that Google’s effort to invade social networking was a lot like McDonald’s efforts to outdo Starbucks in premium coffee. McDonald’s came in with lower prices, but Starbucks stayed strong by staying focused on its own growth.
“Games are important to Facebook,” Ryan said. “We are the only social platform with a game-specific engineering team. Users who play games are more engaged than those who don’t and they are happier with Facebook overall. So we should be catering more to them,” said Ryan.
Like Google+ circles, Facebook will now have a separate stream of friends’ game activity. It will include scores and achievements in a ticker, linking in to games your friends are playing with updates about the games.
“The best way to find new games is through friends, and now you'll have more opportunities to see what they're playing,” Jared Morgenstern wrote in a Facebook blog.
Facebook has also added apps to make the games appear in a larger screen and players can now come up with games on their homepage bookmark section.
Facebook has seen some doldrums in the past but games have contributed a large chunk of Facebook’s revenue— It gets about 30 percent of its revenue from the sale of virtual goods.
Facebook is trying to boost its games platform by analyzing the interests of the gamers in specific games and promoting its games.
“For the first time, we are now doing a per user assessment about whether an individual is likely to engage with a game,” Carl Sjogreen, product manager at Facebook said.
Facebook’s rapid innovation has been good, with changes coming every couple of weeks rather than twice a year with the connected consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming service.
Facebook has also made changes to its last years policy which had dropped the web traffic up to 50 percent as game feeds were not shown to the users who had not signed up to play a game.
Now, users will see game feeds even if they don't play.
"This is probably the most important change in the platform and could help drive up discovery of games and bring back virality to the platform," ThinkEquity analyst Atul Bagga wrote in a report released Friday.