Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How a Normal User Finds Games on Facebook

I was in a cafe in San Francisco Sunday and I saw a girl playing a Facebook game on a computer. By girl, I mean a college-aged woman, the core demographic of social networks.

The game she was playing was Twirl, an SGN game. I asked her how she discovered the game. On a friend's profile.

I asked if she played any other games. Only one other. Texas Holdem Poker by Zynga. She found about this game via an invite from a friend. A friend that she happened to be with who found out about it via an invite from another friend. Neither played any other games, but only as they explained because they hadn't seen any others.

Both girls had been on Facebook for about two months.

I asked one of the girls how she'd go about finding a game. "I guess I type games in the search box". She did. Only three games came up.

The top one: Mindjolt Games - the app from my friend Richard Fields (yeah baby!).

The Point

Game discovery on Facebook and Myspace sucks. Horribly. If either social network improved the app discovery experience, I think we'd see a lot more players in our games.

The sad thing is right now if you want users to discover your games, you can't rely on quality alone, you have to leverage virality (i.e. send a crapload of invites), or no one will even see your game. As of today there's just over 4000 games on Facebook. More than a few of them are great games and would get more exposure on your average flash game portal then they do in the Facebook app directory.