Facebook execs: Zynga is down, but it will snap back

Shortly after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company's gaming revenue isn't where he'd like it to be, his game team talks about where Facebook's gaming platform is headed.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
Sean Ryan Screenshot by Donna Tam/CNET

Although payments for a majority of Facebook games grew over the last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks the network should be doing better. His executives say the key to that growth is a diverse set of games.

Sean Ryan, director of games partnerships and Alex Schultz, director of growth and engagement, talked about the future of Facebook's game offerings today at an event for reporters at Facebook's headquarters.

"Zucks always pushing us to do better," Schultz said when asked about Zuckerberg's comment during the company's earnings call this week. This was partly due to players spending less on Zynga games. Contributions from Zynga, which represents 43 percent of Facebook's payments revenues, were down 4 percent from last year. Payments from Facebook's other games, however, increased by 40 percent.

"Zynga is a great partners of ours," Ryan said. "Zynga is down. They will come back."

He said overall Facebook gaming efforts have been paying off, calling the social network's ability to bring games to players through social connections its "secret sauce."

The social network has added more than 25 million players in the last year, from 226 million at the end of September 2011 to 251 million in September 2012. The increases were mainly to arcade and causal games, and casino games, but Ryan said the area that will really grow in the next year are action games aimed at more traditional gaming audiences.

"Role playing games, strategy, core or mid core games, that's what we expect to see next year for the explosion of genres," Ryan said.

In addition to making sure there's a diverse set of games, Facebook knows it needs to keep focusing improving the ways developers can get app installs. The social network recently relaunched the ability for developers to send direct notifications to players after shutting down the feature because it was too spammy, Schultz said the click through rates for these notifications are now 30 - 40 percent higher than the previous tool.

Ryan ended his presentation with a list of games coming soon to Facebook: