I published this article today on the Business Insider, the original is here.
Facebook is not only the biggest social network in the world, but it has also grown to become the biggest online game destination. People that did not play online games before, started playing them on Facebook when they saw their friends also doing that. Because Facebook does not develop the games itself, many companies were started to create content for Facebook. Some of these have even grown into huge companies themselves, such as Zynga that just filed for IPO.
Reading Zynga’s S-1 it becomes clear that the company relies almost completely on Facebook. The SEC filing says in the risk factors section: “Facebook is the primary distribution, marketing, promotion and payment platform for our games. We generate substantially all of our revenue and players through the Facebook platform and expect to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Any deterioration in our relationship with Facebook would harm our business”.
Most other social game companies face exactly the same problem, all their players are on Facebook, which is potentially a big risk. Likely Google+ will also add social games to its social network, and I am sure that Zynga and other developers will then try to get users to play their games on Google+ as well. But it’s not sure yet that Google+ will become as big as Facebook, or that people will use the social network in the same way as Facebook. So whether it will be a real alternative is still a big question mark.
Therefore game developers are looking for other solutions. Today’s Financial Times published an article about how leading browser-based game developer Bigpoint will now distributes its games on the Spil Games social game platforms. For Bigpoint this has the added advantage that Spil Games focuses only on games. As Bigpoint CEO Hubertz says in the article: “Facebook is not a gaming website. Their first interest is not that the user finds our games… but that users can communicate.”
Spil Games’ users go there with the primary goal to play (social) games, and the company also understands game developers better than Facebook does. As Mr. Hubertz notes in the FT article “the decision to tie up with SpilGames reflected that company