Game Development Reference
to allow online gambling among UK users of the social network, and may follow suit in other nations where
this kind of gaming is also allowed. Anticipating this future, market leader Zynga recently released Zynga
BINGO (putting it in competition with the hit game BINGO Blitz), the casino gaming company International
Game Technology bought the developer of DoubleDown Casino for half a billion dollars, and U.S. casino gi-
ant Caesars Entertainment Corporation bought Playtika, creator of Slotomania. (Expect to read more gambling
game acquisition news after reading this topic!)
Although gambling games are not necessarily the most popular of genres among many gamers, development
costs are relatively low because the rules of popular card and casino games are in the public domain. It's also
likely that popular Facebook/iOS/web gambling games will be licensed for use in real casinos.
Casino games: big opportunity for upcoming or low-budget designers.
Among the genres of games that probably have a bleak future on Facebook are the following.
First-Person Shooters and Other Full 3D Genres
Although there have been a number of attempts to find an audience for FPS games on Facebook, none have
done reliably well. One high-profile, heavily promoted entry, 3G Studio's Brave Arms, reached a high of 30,000
MAU in 2010, but rapidly lost these users. The likely reason? Shooters appeal almost exclusively to young
males, who make up only a small portion of the Facebook user base, and who are more likely to prefer graphic-
ally rich shooters on their game console or Steam, as opposed to lower-quality Flash-based 3D. For that matter,
first-person shooters, being full 3D, require a greater investment of attention and time—not ideal on a platform
more typically used for short lunch breaks or while multi-tasking in other web tabs. This is probably why few,
if any, full 3D games of any variety have found much of an audience on the social network.
Overwhelmingly, Facebook game graphics are 2D or overhead perspective 2.5D. All that said, there's prob-
ably some market for first-person shooters on Facebook—just with a very low budget, with low-end graphics,
to lower the load time and barrier to entry. Perhaps such games could be intended for younger Facebook users
who might not be able to afford a next-gen console or high-end gaming PC.
Interestingly, farm sims other than FarmVille are most popular with Chinese and Turkish/Middle Eastern Facebook users.
When asked to name a Facebook game, many developers reflexively mention FarmVille, even though that
Zynga game's reign as top title on the platform ended years ago. And while it does maintain about 30 million
MAU, the other games in the farming sim genre have fewer than 1 million MAU.
For indie/low-budget developers who can't afford to license a well-known property or compete against those who can, the unreliable success
rate of Facebook franchise games is another bonus to developing on the platform.