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Facebook Exploring Games for Messenger

The new apps for Facebook’s Messenger platform have, so far at least, failed to set the world on fire, with relatively low levels of adoption. To help prime the pump and draw people on to the platform, Facebook is looking into bringing games to Messenger, including strategic discussions with several big game developers, according to The Information, which first reported the news.

Citing unnamed individuals familiar with the plans, The Information reports that Facebook hopes to boost engagement and also open up revenue opportunities with casual games on the Messenger platform; of course, Facebook’s main platform already hosts a whole slew of casual games. It’s not clear when games will start showing up at the Messenger app store, however Facebook exec Ilya Sukhar did confirm that the conversations are ongoing.

No question, there is big money to be made in mobile gaming: earlier this month Digi-Capital released a report on mobile gaming which forecast that spending on tablet and smartphone games will increase at a rate of 8% per year, from $88 billion this year to $110 billion mark by the close of 2018. Digi-Capital identified Facebook as one of the top mobile game platforms, along with Google, Apple, and Microsoft, among others.

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Interestingly most mobile game revenue comes from a fairly small number of extremely committed players who fork out cash to advance faster or get special capabilities. On that note a recent report from Swrve showed that the vast majority of players deliver no revenue, with only 2% of players active in a month making a purchase within that month. And within that small group who pay, the top 10% contribute 64% of the revenue. As a percentage of all game players, that means 64% of revenue comes from only 0.2% of all players.

The mobile game industry is also very volatile, as companies can rise and fall on the strength of a handful of popular games -- which often have a limited lifespan. Also this month, Zynga announced it is reducing its workforce by 364 people, or 18%, in order to save around $100 million per year in costs. The move came not long after founder Mark Pincus returned to the game maker as CEO.

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