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Facebook Games - some data


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Does anyone here make games specifically (or primarily) for facebook? If so, would you mind sharing some data?


We made one facebook game (Zirma) as an experiment, precisely because we couldn't find any reliable numbers from other developers making facebook games with HTML5 and, well, you need numbers to decide what you want to do. So here are some of our numbers, and hopefully they'll be useful to someone here.


As a matter of fact, Zirma isn't even remotely a good facebook game, but we decided to keep things as simple as possible to start with. It lets you log-in with your facebook account, and invite and challenge your facebook friends - that's pretty much the most basic form of facebook integration, there are no social actions, "stories", annoying posts on your timeline, and so on. Even so, as the facebook stuff happens on the server side of the game (node.js), it isn't  trivial to do. Having never done anything like this before, it took about a week to get it working properly.


Anyway, here's who's playing the game, in terms of operating system - this was quite a big surprise for us:




Note that the (relatively) high percentage of FirefoxOS is due to the fact that the game is also available on the firefox marketplace - still, it's greater than iOS, which was unexpected.


Browsers are less surprising, once you know that almost all your traffic comes from non-mobile devices:




Another surprise came from screen resolutions - we were pretty sure that 1920x1080 would be by far the most common:




And finally, another interesting fact is that only 7.27% of our players did not have Flash! So basically you are competing with Flash games, mostly.


So, is it still worth making a facebook game? It depends on many factors, the main advantage is that marketing is easy and cheap. If you know what you're doing, you can get about 700 active players for $100 marketing dollars. That's quite cheap, especially considering that you can do In-App-Purchases quite easily with facebook credits (though we haven't tried it - that's going to be the focus of our next experiment). For a purely ad-supported game, it probably isn't worth it though.


I hope this helps people who want to distribute their html5 games on facebook :)


If you have any facebook-related data, please share! If you have any facebook-related questions, feel free to ask.

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When I reach the point where I have a game that I want to share with a broad audience, I will definitely serve the game on facebook, too.

I have great experience in developing facebook applications within my company (sadly no games, yet) and I know that a facebook app that spreads virally can attract a LOT (and I mean tens of thousands) of players/users in a very short time (sometimes hours).


The trick is, that you need to utilize facebooks features in your game. Just serving it on facebook platform and investing money into ads to get people to play it is wasted money (imho).

You can use a couple of things on facebook to get free and permanent advertising for your games:


  • Achievements - Let players collect them - they will be shared on the players wall; visible for their friends to create desire to play
  • Sharing - Most games highly overuse this, but by sharing interesting aspects of the game on your wall brings friends to play the game, too
  • Co-Op and Teamplay - Again, most games over-use it, but by letting players make progress faster together, they tend to invite as many friends into the game as possible


Facebook is a social network - they WANT you to share every aspect of your life and give devs the tools at hand to let players share every single step they do inside your games. USE IT! Its free promotion.

The only tricky thing there is, that you actually have to design your game the way its a benefit for players to act socially and attract friends to play. Its very hard to first build a game and then try to adapt it so it works well on social platforms.



About the numbers above:


I am not at all suprised by the numbers. Its a common thing that most game-playing people are using windows PCs. Macs and linux computers are mostly used for working and are used by a target group that mostly don't play any casual games on facebook (namely programmers and designers).


The resolution is no suprise, too. Only since two or three years, we started making webdesign layouts for resolutions of 1200x1024 and above since most people now have a screen at least that size. 1920x1080+ resolutions are more or less uncommon - I am more suprised that it has that high percentage in your statistic!


I am not suprised that 93% of all users still have flash installed. Not at all suprised. Flash is bundled in chrome and installed on nearly evey computer out there in the world.

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I suppose that the main surprise was that it's almost entirely desktop traffic. We all expected mobile to be bigger - it makes you wonder whether all the effort that you put into making your game work on mobiles (with tiny screens, single and multi touch, different operating systems, etc.) is actually worth it.


I totally agree with your points above - social features are key to the success of your facebook game. Even in our simple case, for each 2 people that we reached with an advert, we got one more for free, through an invite from a friend. So it's definetely the way to go.

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Is the game actually discoverable via the Facebook mobile app? If not then it doesn't really surprise me that most players are on desktops.


Did the 7% without Flash include the mobile users, or was it 7% of desktops that didn't have it? (in which case that is incredibly high!)

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