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Facebook proved to be a popular portal for games...five years ago. The massive social network has struggled, however, to convert that success to the mobile sector. But a new App Center marketplace for Android and iOS apps may do the trick. This is Facebook’s first formal platform for app and game discovery, bringing even more order to its extremely diverse catalog of integrated apps.
Expect to see the App Center roll out to all users over the next couple of weeks, accessible through the Facebook app on Android and iOS devices. See an app you like, and you’ll be directed to Google Play or the App Store respectively. It’s a searchable market with featured content and recommended apps, presenting another outlet for game makers in particular to promote their titles.
Facebook will be curating the App Center itself, with a focus on “high-quality” content, with a strict list of submission criteria. Your game must have an easy-to-use interface, clear content, value to users, a clear distinction between ads and content, high app ratings and clear expectations about what user activity it shares to Facebook. It sounds strict, and many would argue that’s the type of overseeing mobile game portals need. But anyone that has spent time playing games on Facebook knows the breadth of apps that follow all the rules but manage to become irksome nonetheless.
Google making its own Android Game Center?
Mobile games continue to contribute to the industry’s lucrative appeal, and Google’s not one to be outdone on its own platform. Rumor has it that Google is currently working on a native Android app to compete with Apple’s Game Center for iOS. The app will include an achievements system and online leaderboard rankings, which Android developers will be able to incorporate into their titles.
Right now many game developers look to third party game hubs like OpenFeint for such features, and even Facebook presents a viable competitor as people tend to share their high scores on the social network. Google may also be hastened by RIM’s plans for a “Games” hub, which will be integrated with BlackBerry Messenger and Scoreloop.