Facebook offers promotional help to small game developers

Facebook now offers promotional incentives to help game developers reach the company's 800 million users

Hoping to strengthen its services for mobile users, Facebook has created a new program to encourage third-party developers to build games that will run on the company's mobile clients.

The new pilot program, called Facebook Mobile Games Publishing, will assist selected game development shops in marketing and deploying their games on Facebook mobile clients, in exchange for an unspecified percentage of the revenue that the Facebook versions of these games generate.

"With more than 800 million monthly users of our mobile apps and more than 260 million people playing games on Facebook, we are using our unique reach and targeting capabilities to help games in our program find and engage a valuable audience of the right users," wrote Facebook software engineer Victor Medeiros, in a Facebook post announcing the new program.

The initiative specifically targets small and medium-size developers that may have already developed some games for mobile clients, but would like to broaden their user bases.

For participants in the program, Facebook will promote their games on its site, targeting the users who might most be interested in such games. It will also offer analytics tools and assistance in deploying games so they can reach many users.

For Facebook itself, the new program could help the company generate more revenue from its mobile clients, which for Facebook now generates more traffic than traditional Web access. Company officials have stated that Facebook will focus on building new "mobile experiences" in 2013.

Until recently, the company has been under pressure from investors to make more money from its mobile clients. In its most recent financial quarter, which ended June 30, Facebook reported that 41 percent of its advertising revenue came from mobile clients, or about $656 million.

Overall, about 100,000 apps have been built for Facebook's Parse mobile platform and Facebook itself has 1.15 billion registered users, according to the latest quarterly report. The company has already worked with a number of companies in this pilot, including 5th Planet, which offers the role-playing game card "Dawn of the Dragons," and Gamevil, which puts out the simulation game "Train City."

Facebook will reveal more details of this program Tuesday during a session at the Casual Connect game developers conference in San Francisco.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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