Location-based game SCVNGR has had a big week of news, first with its partnership with AT&T and then the release of its secret social mechanics playdeck. Today the company has announced that it now sports full integration with the recently launched Facebook Places — you can send your SCVNGR checkins to Facebook, and you can import your checkins on Facebook Places into SCVNGR.
Facebook launched its location API as part of the Places launch earlier this month, but only opened ‘read’ access broadly, which allows developers to import checkins from Facebook Places and use them in their own apps. However, ‘write’ access, which works the other way around and lets developers take checkins from their own applications and syndicate them to Facebook Places, is only available to a select number of partners. So far these include Foursquare, Gowalla, Booyah, and Yelp, so SCVNGR is in good company. When a user uses one of these third-party apps to send their location data to Facebook Places, it appears with a ‘via’ tag next to it, which can expose the apps to new users.
SCVNGR still isn’t talking user numbers so it’s hard to compare to the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla, but it’s keeping pace from a feature and, increasingly, partners perspective (it also has more robust game mechanics). In addition to its AT&T deal, the company also recently landed one with Journeys and the Patriots.
This obviously adds to the momentum of Facebook Places, which is looking to become a hub for location-based checkins. Games like SCVNGR are going to increasingly focus on gameplay elements and keeping users engaged, while the basic checkin itself will become commoditized. Facebook isn’t the only company looking to become this central hub for location though — Twitter also offers a location API, as does Google, and there are services like SimpleGeo looking to simplify things as well.