We sure as hell hope so. (We need some new blood around here.) Sean Ryan, Director of Games Partnerships at Facebook, announced during the Casual Connect keynote in San Francisco that Facebook will be making some changes to how the platform virally spreads new games, Inside Social Games reports. The changes made to the platform last year, not to mention the recent disappearance of the Facebook app directory, essentially brought game discovery to a screeching halt on the platform.
But Ryan has a plan to alleviate that. In addition to working with developers to find better ways of producing News Feed stories players will want to click on, Ryan looks to sort games by genre so that Facebook can recommend new games to players of a similar genre to what they tend to play.
The idea seems pretty nebulous at this point, but hey, at least they're talking about it. For instance, if you're playing Bejeweled Blitz, Facebook could recommend similar match-three games like Diamond Dash to you. Then, Ryan went on to plea for developers to stop copying one another (finally!), according to ISG, and provided a list of untapped genres:
Fishing - There's only one actual fishing game on the platform so far.
Christian - An untapped market, as 42% of the United States is evangelical.
Urban - By which Ryan means games that speak authentically to that audience.
Role-Playing Games - Here, Ryan characterizes RPGs as Diablo (not Mafia Wars)
Fighting - A genre that's just starting to take off.
Romance - A very big literary category, and yet there are no social games for it (we're not sure if It Girl counts)
First-Person Shooter - So far, there are only two, but Ryan admits that there are limitations on this genre that come from the browser.
We'd like to see almost all of these genres get more attention on Facebook, especially more RPGs. Ryan went on to say that, despite the big players in the social games space like Zynga and EA having already staked their claim, there is plenty of room left. "There is a massive amount of value creation still going on here," Ryan said. "Social games are driving the revenue on mobile, the revenue on web. If you're not building social games on a platform, you're building for a shrinking market."
Ryan also mentioned the companies that Facebook pays most attention to: Zynga, Playdom, Crowdstar and Playfish, 6waves (now 6waves Lolapps), Kabam, Kixeye, PopCap, GSN, Digital Chocolate, Wooga, Double Down Casino and Playtika. With this many major companies munching on the Facebook pie, I guess there's still some crust left ... somewhere.