Facebook has just spilled the beans on its games-related announcement for today: A more streamlined, engaged App Canvas page, including a ticker for game updates (see below). Canvas Pages, for those unaware, are the “blank canvas” that apps get to occupy on Facebook.
With 200 out of 750 million users playing games on Facebook monthly, games are definitely one of the social network’s core strengths and design adjustments are a key step towards keeping users hooked. With the launch of Google+ Games earlier today the arena of gaming is poised to become a battle ground for anyone who has their sights set on social.
Changes for all users now include a game ticker at the top right of the Canvas Page where they can choose to receive updates on their friend’s game-related stories like high scores and achievements. Facebook says that users can control what stories they see by adjusting their Settings.
Facebook has also decided to give all developers the option of “Fluid Canvas” or increased real estate on the Canvas Page in order to better fit a user’s browser — games like Cityville, Monster World, Mystery Manor and others have already implemented a larger playing field. In addition users can now bookmark their favorite games both on the Canvas Page and the Facebook homepage.
While Facebook sent us a brief earlier highlighting the accomplishments of smaller game publishers in preparation for this announcement the changes seem to apply to anyone who runs an app on Facebook and not just game developers. Maybe there’s benefit in the long tail and promising smaller developers more ways to market themselves to users? According to Facebook, its top 80 games have at least 1 million monthly active users.