Leave it to Facebook to invent yet another way to keep us all glued to the site. The social network has made the status update stickier with the addition of embedded games that people can play as they skim the News Feed or a friend’s Timeline.
Friday, Facebook launched “feed gaming,” or the ability for users to anonymously play miniature versions of Facebook games in the News Feed or on Timeline with just a single click.
Feed gaming is both a feature for application developers and users of the social network. Application developers, with a few code tweaks, can now embed sample versions of their games into the story updates users already post to Facebook, and thus use the game-lets to hook new users.
So Joe Gamer plays Angry Birds as he normally would, but now when he gets a score he’s especially proud, he can post an update to Facebook challenging his friends to try to one-up him. The status update gets distributed, via News Feed and Timeline, to Joe’s friends who can then play the same level inside the update.
Game makers actually have a few choices here, so keep an eye out for mini-games, game replays, and level high-score challenges. Angry Birds, Idle Worship, Tetris Battle, and Bubble Witch Saga are a few games already employing feed gaming, Facebook engineer Gareth Morris said in a blog post on the new feature.
The addition of in-feed gaming is the logical next step for the social network, which has openly expressed interest in helping its games grow. Carl Sjogreen, director of product management for Facebook Platform, said at a conference in February that games are the reason millions of users keep coming back to the site.
“It’s critically important to us that games are successful,” Sjogreen said at the time. “We have a whole Platform team focused on just making sure games are going well. That includes building games-specific features … to create discovery for games.”
Of course, this all boils down to a new paradigm for game discovery on the social network. Facebook games find you and beg for just a second of your attention. A second turns into the promise of a few coins and soon you’re off installing the full version of the application to collect your rewards. Next you know, you’ve wasted away the workday trying to beat your buddies. Genius, right?
Photo credit: Matt Harnack/Facebook