It’s no secret that iPads are for gamers. More than 70 percent of Facebook iPad users have played a Facebook-connected game in the last 90 days.
So Facebook is announcing today it redesigned its front page to include a larger game discovery feature for its iPad users. That will make it easier for gamers to find new Facebook games, and it means more downloads for game developers.
“We are trying to address the games and entertainment usage of tablets,” said Dan Morris, the lead for North American game partnerships at Facebook, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We expect it’s going to give a big boost to games.”
The new games and trending sidebar will help people in the U.S. find more entertaining content on a tablet. It will include sections for games, trending stories, and trending videos. The update will surface content on the right-hand side of the iPad that is relevant to how people use their tablets today — reading news, watching videos, and playing games.
The new sidebar will be tested and rolled out among users slowly, but it will eventually be put in front of every Facebook iPad app user.
The new sidebar won’t appear on Facebook’s smartphone app yet.
“This has to see with how different devices are used,” Morris said. “We see unequivocably that games are the primary use case for tablets. So it made a lot of sense to think about fundamentally rethinking Facebook’s iPad app as a result.”
He added, “Down the road, some of the data we collect and some of the insights that we gather from this new surface area on tablets could very well inform what we do on other devices too. When it comes to the iPad app, there is plenty of real estate. This was a really logical thing for us to do.”
Over time, Facebook will include ads in this section where game developers can engage more players. The games section will include links that you can click so you can start playing. It will mention popular cross-platform games (that you can play on Canvas on the desktop or on the iPad), based on the games your friends have played and what is popular on Facebook.
For game developers to be eligible to be featured in the Facebook for iPad app, they should register their iPad and Canvas apps with Facebook (in the app dashboard), integrate Facebook Login, and upload a video to the app details page in App Center.
Morris said, “Discovery is the problem these days, and we certainly heard it at E3,” the Electronic Entertainment Expo video game trade show last week in Los Angeles.