Facebook breaks into mobile game publishing
Social networking giant Facebook announced a new publishing program aimed at increasing discoverability for smartphone titles from small-to-medium-sized developers.
Today, Facebook has announced it is joining the mobile publishing game. The real problem the company is trying to solve is discoverability, and it intends to use its network to boost selected partners' games, while sharing analytics data with them. The company has recruited Dan Morris, formerly of Electronic Arts and DeNA, to lead its mobile games partnership team. Gamasutra spoke with Morris ahead of the announcement to find out how things are going to work. Though the company is referring to this new initiative as Mobile Games Publishing, in essence it's primarily a way for developers to get access to new promotional channels Facebook is opening up -- in Morris' words, to solve "discovery problems in mobile games we have spent a lot of time talking about and thinking about." Facebook will "promote a game across a variety of channels" and then "share in the success of those games by participating in the revenue share," he says. The company would not yet disclose the terms of its revenue share agreements under this new initiative. Notably, it will not participate in other ways publishers might be expected to: "We're not financing games; we're not taking that active a role in funding or development or anything like that," says Morris. "This is about promotion and finding audiences. It's more about distribution." "We're not getting involved in a lot of the things that traditional publishers get involved in."
5th Planet, Dawn of the Dragons
Brainbow Dr. Newton: The Great Brain Adventure
Certain Affinity, Age of Booty: Tactics
Dragonplay, Live Hold'Em
Gameloft, Kingdoms & Lords
Outplay Entertainment, Monster Legacy
Space Ape, Samurai Siege
WeMade Entertainment, WIND Runner
Gamevil, Train City
Despite well-known partners like Gameloft and Gamevil, Morris says the goal of the initiative is to work with, in general, "smaller and medium-sized developers" which are "not necessarily very well established." It's "one more way for Facebook to create a path to success," in his words. Moving forward, Facebook is looking at both existing games and those which have "not been released yet but are later in their development."
Of course, the company is also looking for games with "potential for long-term monetization," says Morris.
While the company will not be funding games, it won't stop at just promoting them, says Morris. "We're not going to share any specific data about users or so forth, but one of the activities a traditional mobile games publisher does is share best practices, share analytics insights, so developer partners can tune their games for maximum success, and we will be working in that capacity with our partners."