Chapter 3

Facebook Games: The Users, the Money, and the Major Players

In This Chapter

  • Understanding who plays Facebook games and who pays for them
  • Understanding the anatomy of a successful Facebook game
  • Making money in Facebook games
  • Pitching publishers: who buys/publishes indie games

In the first few years after Facebook launched in 2004,Mark Zuckerberg and company gave short shrift to the games launched on their platform. But fast-growing successes like Zombies and Scrabulous in 2007 quickly convinced the social network and Silicon Valley investors that a new market for games was emerging. Although most of the early games had limited interaction and little resemblance to games as they were usually understood, Facebook games gradually began to replicate the early computer games. Early hits like Vampire Wars and Mob Wars (2008) resembled text-based roleplaying games (RPGs) from the 80s and 90s, while FarmVille and CityVille (2009 and 2010) seemed like the original Sim games from that era. By 2011 and 2012, the most popular Facebook games included arcade games (Tetris Battle, Diamond Dash), strategy games (CastleVille and Empires & Allies), and RPGs (The Sims Social).

When Facebook officially announced its entry on the stock market, the company reported that a solid chunk of its total revenue—15 percent!—was generated by leading social game developer Zynga.

This chapter takes a look at the marketplace for Facebook games and the leading developers that currently serve it. ...

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