Games added to Google+
Written by Lucy Black   
Friday, 12 August 2011

Although the Google+ platform is still in beta and is only being rolled out slowly it is attracting both users (some 25 million users in a month) and developers. The latest addition is games. Facebook, in turn, has launched a major redesign for games.

 

 

On August 11 Google + users who want to share games with their circles have a choice of sixteen titles, from Angry Birds to Zynga Poker:

 

gplus_games_at_launch

(click to expand)

According to the Google blog:

When you’re ready to play, the Games page is waiting—click the games button at the top of your stream.

Well it doesn't appear on my stream which makes me feel like a second class citizen but the important point to note is that on Google+ games are on a separate page which means that, as the blog also notes:

If you’re not interested in games, it’s easy to ignore them

which perhaps can be interpreted as Google trying to score a point against Facebook.

Meanwhile Facebook is going in the opposite direction. The very same day (August 11) as the initial 16 games started to roll out on Google+, Facebook issued an announcement which appears to restore some of the viral components that were turned off when users complained about them.

The key feature of the updated Canvas Page discussed in Making Apps on Facebook more engaging and social is that apps have:

greater real-estate on the user’s browser including a live ticker of real-time game related updates to keep the users constantly engaged and updated with their friends’ activity on apps and games as they play.


facebook


Although this change is likely to be welcomed by developers, who are eager to have new players discover their games, the fact that, for an introductory period, Google+ will take only 5% commission for in-game sales (i.e 95% of revenue goes to the developer) compared to the 30% retention of revenue by Facebook, is going to win developers over to Google+ even though games may not be quite as prominent as they occupy a separate page:

 

games_homepage_screenshot

 

There is also the small point that Google has given no idea when the special offer may end and no suggestion as to what its long term take is going to be.

For more information about developing for Google+, visit Google+ developer blog where you are invited to sign up.  Notice that you still don't get any information on how to work with Google+. The games side is just as closed as the API of which there is still no news. As a developer you can't help but feel left out of Google+ and this is uncharacteristic of past Google projects.

 

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