In the past week, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and Sony have each used Facebook in connection with their game properties. The methods and level of integration were totally different in each example, but all three approaches were interesting and appropriate for the brands.
Blizzard announced what was perhaps the deepest of the integrations. Aligned with the launch of "Starcraft II," Blizzard's Battle.net will integrate with Facebook to allow Battle.net players to identify and add Facebook friends to their Battle.net friends list. This is similar to the integration previously seen on Microsoft's Xbox 360. It will be interesting to see how far this will extend into the Battle.net properties, including "World of Warcraft" and the upcoming "Diablo III."
For the upcoming spy-themed MMO "The Agency," Sony created an offshoot social game on Facebook. "The Agency: Covert Ops" is quite similar to games like "Mob Wars," but with a bit more complex gameplay. What I find interesting here is that with the scope of the social games market and size of Facebook, this offshoot game theoretically has the potential to be larger than the actual release it's generating hype for. It was also be worth seeing if and how this social game will interact with the final product upon release.
Finally, Ubisoft started seeding some alternate reality game (ARG) elements on the "Assassin's Creed" Facebook fan page yesterday. ARG has always been a really interesting concept, and as more of these game elements move into Facebook, they are starting to transform into an even-cooler ARG 2.0 type of experience. This also fits really nicely with the virtual reality and conspiracy theory elements of the "Assassin's Creed" franchise.
With Facebook becoming a central hub for the Web, it makes sense that the fan page or Facebook app is the new microsite for marketing video games. It will be interesting to see if these secondary marketing efforts end up crossing over with brand marketers. Much as 42 Entertainment's ARG for "The Dark Knight" also had product placement from Nokia, these offshoots and secondary integrations present an untapped opportunity for new revenue streams for publishers, along with access to specific demographics for brands.