Facebook says it wants its apps to be useful. But if its users just want to have fun, that may not be a terrible thing.
Case in point: Games. According to Facebook’s own stats, the top 70 gaming apps get 58 million monthly active users. But Yahoo, the world’s largest online gaming portal, gets about 50.8 million monthly unique visitors, according to comScore.
We know we’re not comparing apples to apples here: For instance, much of the activity on game portals like Yahoo! Games takes place offline, after users have already downloaded a game. And since Facebook only measures monthly active users per application, there are certainly many users who play multiple games, and are being counted multiple times. So it’s fair to assume that the Yahoo’s gaming audience is bigger than the comScore numbers indicate, and that Facebook’s gaming population is smaller than its stats suggest.
But the point is still the same – Facebook is a place where a lot of people want to play games. But judging by the company’s rhetoric at f8 last month, the company isn’t terribly interested in talking about that, or encouraging it. None of the winners of fbFund grants are gaming apps, and Mark Zuckerberg barely mentioned gaming during his keynote.
So what could Facebook do to encourage developers to build more robust games? We can think of one obvious solution: Add a payment platform.
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