What Works Best on Facebook

Socially Networked Gameplay

As you’ll read more about further on, all the popular Facebook games make heavy use of the social network’s social features in myriad ways, such as game updates that can be posted to the player’s profile wall and in-game leaderboards that track a player’s success in relation to other Facebook friends playing the game. Doing this leverages the core aspect of Facebook that has made the social network so popular—the ability to rapidly share experiences with friends.

Short Game Sessions

That translates to an average of about 14 minutes on Facebook per day.

According to the Nielsen ratings service, U.S. Facebook users log in to the site an average of seven hours a month.

For the Facebook game developer, that translates into very short individual gameplay sessions—from three to five minutes. Of course, the ideal is to draw players into longer and more engaged gaming sessions, but designers need to anticipate the short session, “lunch break” activity pattern that most Facebook users follow.

Point-and-Click Gameplay

Despite Facebook’s continued predominance as a social network used on PC desktops and laptops, almost all its successful games make primary or exclusive use of point-and-click mouse-based interaction, with minimal use of the keyboard. This is in line with the user interface of Facebook itself, which emphasizes mouse-based interaction as much as possible, and the preferences of most Facebook gamers, who are casual, ...

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