We’ve written extensively about the vacuum created on the iPad by the lack of an official native Facebook application. That may change soon — there are reports that an official app is finally on the way — but there are already a handful of companies that have been able to take advantage of the opportunity, to the tune of millions of users. One of these apps is MyPad (formerly known as Facepad), which has now been downloaded nearly 10 million times since it launched five months ago.
This week, the company is launching an updated version of its application, which includes improvements to some of the core Facebook features you’d expect — chat, photos, News Feed, and so on. But this update also introduces a new component: games. You can download the free version of the app here.
When you use MyPad’s application, you do most of your navigation using a handy left sidebar, which lets you jump between your profile, friends list, search, and so on. But there’s been a little extra space toward the bottom of the list. Now MyPad is taking advantage of that real estate to feature a handful of games from mobile developers TinyCo and CrowdMob.
Cofounder Cole Ratias says that it would have been very difficult to actually integrate these games into MyPad, so it’s taking a more basic approach for now: the games listed in MyPad’s nav bar are essentially shortcuts to the App Store (if you already have the game installed, then hitting the shortcut will launch the game using Fast App Switching).
The idea behind these shortcuts is that they’ll introduce MyPad’s 1.2 million weekly active users (2.1 million monthly) to high quality games, and give them easy access to them over the long-term. Oh, and it’s also a very effective way for MyPad to monetize — it’s forged deals with the aforementioned game developers to take a revenue share for the lifetime of each user. In other words, if you download Tiny Zoo through one of the MyPad shortcuts, it’ll get a cut each time you buy anything within that game. MyPad will also be integrating games from other developers in the future.
MyPad can do this because of its wide distribution (Ratias says it’s installed on 1 in 4 iPads and that nearly 10 million minutes are spent in the app each day). The app’s ad network is also nearing 400 million impressions a month.
In addition to the game feature, the new update includes iPad2 camera support, and chat with emoji and sounds.
This is all part of MyPad’s longer term strategy to become less reliant on Facebook to power its entire experience (after all, if Facebook does launch an official app, it will be hard to compete with Facebook features alone). We hear that in addition to the games, MyPad is also working toward integrating Twitter functionality as well.