Facebook Instant Games Initiative

On May 10, 2017, Facebook released their mobile gaming platform, Facebook Instant Games.  This will be Facebook’s first? proper attempt at providing a mobile gaming experience to its massive community.

What this means?

Current mobile landscape?

Another Big fish just entered the mobile market and is looking to change things up.  Google and Apple have dominated this space with their selective app stores and provide the end users with a massive library of game they can choose from.  Developers have bought into what Google and Apple ecosystem and will do anything and everything for their minimal effort they make in publishing their games. 

When Apple introduced the smartphone back in 2007, it was suppose to be the free market movement and the end of the ‘wine and dine’ culture for every carrier or networks in any given country to get any sort of placement in their Wap Portal as they controlled the fate of our games. Unfortunately, due to the saturation of the app store, and questionable App store layout / content discover UI/UX, or whatever you want to call it on both Apple and Google, it seems like we’re back to square 1. Apple and Google still focus on relationship management as the most profitable apps usually get re featured over and over again and the ones that have a chance get a 1 time feature until theirs enough data to justify a re-feature.  Keep in mind, Apple and Google are taking 30% of revenue just to place your app in their platform.  with over 6 million applications in each app store, the saturation level has the consumer over flowed with content that many ‘great’ apps get lost in the shuffle.

Facebook’s HTML5 Instant games platform maybe something that can shed some light on this problem as virality and community is the core on why Facebook works so well.  The possibility of connecting your games with your friends will be much  easier utilizing the Facebook API versus the current app market ecosystem where its decoupled from any social platform in the market.

Why Facebook went with HTML5

Facebook’s choice in HTML5 is simply because they wanted to reduce the friction of the initial download.  Same reason they found success with their PC Facebook gaming platform using flash.  You have the user playing the game, Right Away!.  This seems to be the line in the sand for Facebook and their gaming experience.  HTML5 effectively can provide this user experience with the, ‘No’ initial download system and players are in their playing right away.

Although the limitation of HTML5 have been well documented but as the years pass and ‘this’ language become more robust this allows for deeper game mechanics to be experience.  As for now, Facebook is testing out their Instant games platforms with a very light games.

How this can be disruptive.

The disruption will take place if players actually find value in the platform.  I’ve discussed this in my other post but as the mobile gaming experience moves towards more multiplayer type experiences, the question becomes whether this multiplayer experience is better served on the Facebooks instant game platform or with the traditional Smartphone ecosystem.

Its going to take a real innovated multiplayer mechanic for players to even consider adopting a new way to experience ‘fun’. Look for Facebook to cut deals with major publishers and developers to take some of this market share in the next couple of years.

How Facebook takes their PC gaming learning with major game developers will be the telltale sign how serious they want to be in this market and if they are big enough to tackle the massive beast they call the iOS appstore and Google Play.

Will facebook succeed with this initiative?

The real success will lie in, whether the users find this gaming experiencing engaging enough, competitive enough and possibly fit into their app usage cycle.  Users currently are fighting with free time as most successful apps are constantly demanding their attention.  This empowerment doesn’t serve Instant games in a favorable way as they are required to create a ‘better’ user experience than what you are currently experiencing.  What that is, is still up for grabs as mobile users are so fragmented on how they use their apps that product positioning for mass media will take a 100 Zuckerbergs to possibly figure out. 

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  • 15+ year mobile application industry veteran, probably product managing multiple apps. If he’s not busy running this website, you can probably find him at the gym shooting half court shots, while playing the latest mobile rpg game.

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