News Flash on Facebook Games
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 April 2013, 8:36 am
EA is shutting down their range of Facebook games, like Sims Social. Calling that a "news Flash" is actually a pun, because I do have a theory why Facebook games are currently in a death spiral, and even Zynga had to shut down lots of those games. And my theory is that this has to do with the fact that these games are Flash games, and thus do not run on most mobile devices.

In case you hadn't noticed it yet, tablets and smart-phones are currently hot as surfing and gaming platforms, with PC sales down by 14% due to that. Now if you used to play Facebook games and bought an iPad, you will quickly realize two things: You can't play your Facebook games on your iPad, and there are a lot of iPad games available with similar gameplay to Facebook games, but a lot less need to constantly spam your friends. Why play Farmville if you can play Hay Day instead?

Flash basically negates the advantage of having a game online and accessible from everywhere. I assume players would be quite interested to be able to check on the status of their virtual farm or city on their smart phone during a lunch break, but the technology gets into the way of that. But if it isn't possible with a Facebook game, it is possible with native iOS games that work on the same farm- or city-building gameplay and run perfectly well on an iPhone. I don't own an Android device, but I read that they don't officially support Flash either. There are "flash browsers" available for iOS and Android, but the one I tried on the iPad ran Facebook games horribly.

So I think as PCs stop being the casual surfing device of choice for many people, the reliance of Facebook games on Flash is going to hurt these games savagely. And that could ultimately even lead to a lower interest in Facebook itself, as so many of its users use it for playing games.
Tobold's Blog



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