Are Facebook games finished for startups?

by dylan on September 28, 2011

I polled thirty-six game startups about what platform they were basing their companies on. It was a pretty diverse group, representing Ireland, UK, US, Norway, India, Lebanon, Italy and Turkey. Based on this sample, it seems as if Facebook has been completely dropped as the game platform of choice for most new games companies.

Here are the headline results:

  1. 45% of startups are working on iOS (phone and/or tablet)
  2. 14% are working on Android  (phone and/or tablet)
  3. Only 11% are working on Facebook

Has Facebook really fallen this out of favour with the game development community? If this is representative at a larger scale, it’s going to create a serious problem for Facebook in the future (user fatigue and the obvious revenue impact). Regardless of whether there is actually room or not, will there be enough startups interested in Facebook as a platform to create another Wooga?


As an interesting aside, almost 20% of startups said they were working on tablets either exclusively or with a mobile SKU. I was expecting significantly higher. Given Amazon’s Kindle Fire announcement earlier, this remains a huge opportunity for startups.


  • alanodea

    Interesting I assume others includes Google+. 

    59% are essentially working on Smart Devices i.e. iOS/Android formats which I categorise as essentially the same class. 

    This is natural SmartApps are cheap to develop the games are not massively asyncronous or in need of large hosting, infrastructure, billing systems, logistics, customer support, player matchmaking, or event triggering across a social graph or external api. These require intensive activity, time and cost for developers even for the the relatively simplistic social and casual browser games. 
    I think given f8′s recent announcements about the changes to their notification and messaging systems, open graph and social widgets in the timeline we’re going to see a new class of apps being developed for Facebook. I also still think there are huge opportunities for all ranges of developers on Facebook and in the future Google+ so i’m going to stay bullish on social networks.I’m also very bullish about Android and cross platfom social applications and games with widget elements being pushed to various platforms including eventually smart TV’s which I believe is where the market is ultimately headed. 

  • Dylan Collins

    @alanodea FB is still an easier platform to market your game than the mobile marketplace, so it’s not going to disappear of any startup’s radar soon. I’m not sure if I completely agree with your post-f8 bullishness but I guess we’ll see.

  • Chris Etches

    I find this interesting, as I said to yourself when you were on the panel at Games Gone Wild in Moshi HQ, we are developing Casual-Core games for Facebook and still see a huge amount of potential. The new achievements + game stream API are really very useful (and fun). I can understand that if you were after angel / early VC funding then as the big plays have, in theory, already been made in the FB Games sector then tablet / mobile might be a more attractive market, but for companies that want to build games, get people playing them and make money FB still offers a huge deal. 

    We are going public with our new Facebook game next week (I’ll send you a beta access code if you’d like)

    Chris EtchesUtinni Games

  • Dylan Collins

    @Chris Looking forward to seeing the game. Beta codes gratefully received :)

  • alexis bonte

    I think its just that there are less small teams focusing on Facebook now, but I would expect to still see plenty of new and better games go 0n the platform soon from larger more established start ups.

  • Tadhg Kelly

    I wrote on this back in June ( 

    Without trying to sound too negative, success in the Facebook market is largely about who has the best advertising engine rather than the best product. The products are all very similarly structured (Zynga’s included), so what differentiates them is largely to do with muscle rather than startup-smarts. 

    This doesn’t mean that it’s not an attractive market. For a sufficiently funded company it certainly is, but for *startups* it’s become very difficult to get the visibility needed to survive. It’s hard to be remarkable when the products are so easily cloned and outspent. 

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