Social network Facebook now has more than 500 million active users after six years of operation, though many of the site's popular social games haven't seen much benefit from this influx in their userbase.
The social network hit this major milestone about five and a half months after announcing its reach of 400 million users. This explosive growth isn't a recent development either, as it managed to hit that 400 million achievement after growing from 300 million users in the space of just five months.
Facebook's popularity can be attributed to a number of features, such as connecting with friends, tracking events, sharing photos, discovering media, interacting with applications, and playing the thousands of social games available on the site -- several of which attract tens of millions of players each month.
"I could have never imagined all of the ways people would use Facebook when we were getting started six years ago," said Facebook's co-founder, CEO, and president Mark Zuckerberg in a post published
on Facebook's blog.
Despite Facebook's dramatic userbase growth, many of the top social games hosted on the site haven't enjoyed the same gains in their audiences, and in fact have lost millions of users in recent months due to changes the social network enacted in its application notification system to limit "notification spam".
, the most popular app on Facebook, for example, went from its peak of 85 million monthly active users last March to now 61.6 million. Many of the studio's other titles have suffered similar losses, though it has gained some of those users back with FrontierVille
, its newest release currently boasting 20.7 million users.
As Facebook looks to expand its audience to one billion users, though, it's devoting more resources to social games, seeking out ways to better attract players to its game offerings and even creating a new team to exclusively work with developers.
"... Just like photos, just like events, games are a killer app on Facebook, and a primary part of the user experience on Facebook," said the company's chief technology officer Bret Taylor in a recent interview
with Inside Facebook. "We have product managers and engineers who are extremely talented now working on it."
"Right now we have a Games dashboard that I would say is pretty uninspired. It works, but it’s not something that I think is revolutionary. We have a team now who is responsible for making games successful on Facebook as a category, and when we make changes to our overall product, we’re going to track the effects on that category just like we track the effects on photos and events on Facebook."