By AJ Glasser From Inside Social Games
Facebook posted updates to its developer blog today detailing changes to the Canvas Page, Graph APIs and bookmarking, and games stores in the news feed. The changes are designed to improve game discovery, retention, and user experience. features that better surface games stories.
Below that is the real-time activity ticker dedicated to stories about a user’s friends engaging with games. The stories include traditional game stories, as well as automatically-generated games stories created when a player’s friends start using a game, or consistently use the same app.
You’ll notice the example displays a “high score” story; this comes from updated Graph APIs that allow developers to generate games stories whenever a user completes an in-game achievement, passes a friend’s score, or reaches a new rank on the leaderboards. These stories could help increase virality and discovery without interrupting the game experience with prompts to share.
The final component to the module above is the Fluid Canvas. This allows developers to expand the size of their apps based on a user’s screen resolution. When enabled, the app can be left-aligned to take up the full height and width of user’s browser. This should give users an optimized experience regardless of whether they’re playing on a large desktop setup or a small laptop.
Facebook is also changing how game stories appear in the news feed. This could improve discovery for all Facebook users after nearly a year of non-gamers only seeing the occasional story about a friend installing a new game. “We’ve begun rolling out a new ranking system that better surfaces app stories to the people who will most likely to engage with it, including those who don’t already use the app.
Games that publish stories that receive high volumes of Likes and comments will be more likely to have their stories appear in the news feed, while those whose stories are often hidden from the feed or marked as spam will be less likely to appear. Depending on how the system is tuned, it could reduce the reliance of developers on paid marketing channels.
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