Monday, February 27, 2012

Facebook Gaming is on the Decline

According to a report that was released by the IHS on Friday, February 24, it seems as though Facebook users' interest in social gaming is on the decline.

The IHS reported that compared to a year ago, the number of people that play games on Facebook has dropped. At the end of 2010, 50 percent of Facebook’s monthly active users (MAUs) were playing games via the social networking site; however, at the end of 2011, only 25 percent of Facebook’s MAUs were still playing games. Although Facebook’s total user numbers are going up, the gaming numbers seem as though they are going to continue to go down.

However, Facebook is not the only site that is seeing a decline in gamers. The IHS reported that Zynga’s MAUs have dropped from 266 million in the third quarter of 2011 to 225 million in the fourth quarter. The IHS is claiming that the drop in gaming numbers is not necessarily due to an overall decline but instead to “maturation.”

"Facebook rocketed to prominence as a gaming platform in 2009 and 2010," said Steve Bailey, the IHS senior analyst for games. "However, with equal speed, the market then settled into a state of maturity in 2011, with conditions becoming markedly more challenging for game operators. While Facebook remains a worthwhile opportunity for companies able to meet these challenges, the tone of the market in 2012 will be somewhat muted compared to the optimistic outlook of the past few years."

"Facebook needs to implement changes to provide enhancements for its entire user base," Bailey continued. "Even if the company has to inhibit its role as a game platform, the ultimate priority is obvious. This already happened in early 2010, when viral channels for user acquisition were dampened in order to silence the flood of near-spam that game apps were broadcasting into user activity streams."

I think that Bailey is right. Facebook shouldn’t be worried that users are no longer using Facebook for gaming, instead it should be working on things that will cater to all users' needs and make Facebook an even more enjoyable experience, which is what I think they have been doing recently. Good job, Facebook!

Sources: Facebook Developers Blog - Growing Mobile Apps and Games with Facebook Platform and PCMag - Analyst: Users Turning Away From Facebook Games

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