Prior to Facebook, multiplayer gaming, chat, and even monetization was taking off, especially in Asia. Facebook took the ideas in MySpace further by tightly integrating it all in one place. See what your friends are up to and provide your own quick updates, find friends you forgot you had, develop and become invested in your user profile, share and tag pictures, and, eventually, game and compete with friends.

Because social gaming 2.0 (not just multiplayer and chat) was born and evolved via Facebook, and especially skyrocketed in popularity (thanks in large part to Zynga and other innovative social strategic gaming companies), the art of developing a social app is now a science. It may be an imperfect science still full of new discoveries, but it is also a rapidly changing process-and-metrics-driven marketing phenomenon with the potential to turn any intellectual property from unknown to globally known virtually overnight. How is this possible? Friends.

Everything Is More Fun with Friends

Developers of Facebook apps have learned the fine art of turning what would normally be single-player experiences (“Farmville”) into socially driven games. Displaced friends along one side of many games provide that sense of community and competition (even while playing solo) that would otherwise not be there. This friend presence (combined with frequent opportunities to share your experience, gift, and receive friends' items, as well as to visit your friends' worlds) ...

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