Gaming on Facebook - How Plarium Brought Serious Gaming to Facebook


If you’ve been part from the beginning, you’ve seen how Facebook has been all kinds of things at various times in its existence. In the beginning, it was a way for schoolmates to talk with each other online, look at each other’s pictures, and sometimes wonder why they were doing it. Nobody from that first generation of Facebook users (well, except Mark Z., perhaps) would’ve guessed that this platform would one day encompass the globe and have more users than any single country has residents.

But the surprise that has been Facebook hasn’t been about its user growth alone. It’s also about the constantly evolving nature of the Facebook experience itself. Anyone who has used Facebook in the past decade knows that it’s not just a place for chat (and “pokes”, if anyone still uses those for fun [highly recommended]). Increasingly, Facebook has become a place to market ideas, watch videos (as an alternative to youtube), and play game. This last one is the one we’re focusing on.

Image credit: Pixabay

When it became possible to add on independent developers’ games to Facebook, it wasn’t long before all active users started receiving requests to play these games. If you’re like most people, these requests came in constantly, a barrage stemming from perhaps just a few friends’ gaming behaviors. The early games (despite being annoying in their advertising trial and error) were pretty simple. We all played games like solitaire and scrabble, the latter innovative because it was possible to play with other people you knew, not just a computer.

But then certain companies started to up the ante. While there are many players who influenced this development, Plarium Games Online is, to some, the most recognizable. There are more ubiquitous game developers, like King, whose Candy Crush series of simply puzzle games provide light entertainment for tens of millions. Plarium was one of the first companies to make bank on the gamble that users would spend time with, and pay money within, a series of high-concept, high-production-value games.

Drawing from the world of MMOs, Plarium has designed a series of successful MMO/strategy games, with certain genre exceptions thrown in here and there. Games like Sparta and Stormfall have been boons for Facebook users who want a simplified version of the fantasy MMO experience to use within Facebook itself, without having to sacrifice complexity of storytelling, gameplay, or graphics. And even as early critics imagined a future where games like this would be used by fringe groups only, it has turned out to be quite the contrary.

Plarium’s games have gone mainstream, with tens of millions of users in total, and eager fans waiting for the drop of each new game in their successful series. Plarium was able to monetize gaming aspects within Facebook that others had not innovated before, providing a monetary stability for Facebook itself and for the gaming niche especially. Whatever you think of the end result, it’s this approach to game design that has made Plarium a success, and has become an integral part of the Facebook we know. 

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