Game Development Reference
The top PC/console game publishers are thus at a double disadvantage on iOS—which is good news for the indie iOS developer.
Reviewing What Works and What Doesn't
in Facebook Games
I'll survey the most and least successful genres on the Facebook platform in more detail in the next chapter, but
here's a broad and brief overview of key features that are best suited to games in Mark Zuckerberg's playland.
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
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 de-
signers need to anticipate the short session, “lunch break” activity pattern that most Facebook users follow.
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, light gamers
accustomed to simple gameplay interaction.
Tetris Battle, the only top Facebook game with keyboard-driven play, is an exception that proves this rule
(see Figure 2-3 ).