Facebook is one of the most popular websites on the web, it brings together a diverse group of people, young and old, male and female, it is an ideal site for companies that want to get their name out to a massive audience. It should come as no surprise then that game developers are starting to move onto Facebook with Ubisoft being the latest company to do so. It is not just Ubisoft who are moving onto Facebook, PopCap have long had a presence on the social networking site with Bejeweled Blitz becoming a firm favourite amongst my friends. You can also find the EA/Positech mashup, SimSocial on the site.
So why are big developers moving onto Facebook? In the case of Bejeweled and SimSocial it is clear that, while there is certainly plenty to do on the Facebook game, they are merely giving players a taste of what else they can play. The Bejeweled Blitz page features links back to various PopCap pages where you can see the full range of their titles including the full versions of Bejeweled, ones which don’t limit you to just one minute of action. While you don’t have much time after pressing ‘Play Now’ you do get a taste of what this match-3 game is like making it a perfect demo. In addition you are able to see what your friends have scored, always a handy feature in making you strive to play more just to knock them off their perch.
Whilst Bejeweled makes full use of your friends network, SimSocial doesn’t, even though it seems ideally lent to using it. If you don’t know, SimSocial is a cut-down and Sims influenced version of Positech’s Kudos 2 which was released to build up the excitement for The Sims 3. While it is a fun game in its own right, it doesn’t make use of the Facebook friends network like it could, your SimSocial friends are just automatically generated by the game, it would have been much improved if your Facebook friends who used SimSocial could fill these rolls.
It is Ubisoft’s entry into the Facebook world that seems the most exciting, unlike PopCap and EA’s efforts the first Ubisoft game, TickTock, doesn’t support another full release game. TickTock is the first release in the UbiFriends portal on Facebook, it is clear that we are going to see more from Ubisoft. President of Ubisoft North America told Eurogamer “We’ve been a leader in the art of making games for many years, and we’re happy to bring the Ubisoft experience to Facebook. Our first application, TickTock, is about leveraging user generated content to interact with your friends, and it’s the first of many applications that we’re building for our UbiFriends portal.”
Facebook is becoming more than just a place to share photos with your friends and organise trips to the pub, with games like Bejeweled Blitz and TickTock arriving on the site we see that it is now a games networking site too. Regardless of whether developers put games on Facebook to promote full game releases like with PopCap, or they are using Facebook as a new platform like Ubisoft, it is becoming a new home for games.