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Facebook Connect: Making Mobile Gaming Social

Note: this is the second post of a four-post series on how Facebook Connect in changing digital media and online marketing. See the others here

Playfish's 'Who Has the Biggest Brain' is a wide popular Facebook Application and iPhone game. While not new, it is a terrific example of how Facebook Connect can be integrated into gaming environments to make the game more social, sticky and engaging. The game itself is very well done (challenging, fun, smart) but I am even more impressed by the role that Facebook Connect Plays:

- Through the iPhone App, users can connect their Facebook social graph through the mobile Facebook Connect integration

biggest-brain-facebook-connect-friends - Once connected, users are notified of where their score sits within their social graph, instantly encouraging competitiveness. When you pass a friend's high score, the screen animates as you move up the 'podium' - its terrificly clever and yet a simple way to bring relationships to an otherwise one-dimensional game


- Users can share their high scores via the Facebook feed or notifications - and, similarly, users are notified when their scores are surpassed

While Playfish's Facebook Connect integration is not unique, it is a great example (SGN, Zynga and others have also done it well). These are all mobile gaming integrations... but it begs the question: why can't this work on traditional gaming platforms like Xbox Live or the Playstation Network? These are more robust, interesting opportunities that already have web interfaces and thrive on social interactions.

Facebook Connects Comes to iPhone, Game-Changing

The best iPhone Apps are those that engage across other properties beyond the iPhone. Zynga, SGN, Playfish and others iPhone power-developers have done a brilliant job of those. For most though, building cross-platform, socially-aware applications has proven difficult and consequently made the majority of applications 'un-sticky'.

But this will all change with Facebook's announcement that Facebook Connect is available for iPhone Applications.

Suddenly gaming becomes social. Applications that before were content delivery mechanisms now have a social graph to relate to.

It's big. In a way it is akin to what Xbox Live does for Xbox... put probably bigger because it is open and more flexible.

InsideFacebook has some screenshots:

Facebook's announcement can be read here:

Now your iPhone apps can enjoy the benefits that Facebook Connect sites and Facebook Platform apps already enjoy, including:

Making API calls so your app can access users' profiles and share information on Facebook. Publishing to Facebook via Feed forms.

Asking users for extended permissions, like offline access, so you can still interact with their data when they're offline.