Google+ Is Game Makers' Facebook Hedge

With the arrival of games to the Google+ network came a handful of game developers and a dozen or so games. With Google+ in its infancy, why did these big companies publish their games there? For the network's coming growth.

Zynga Poker on Google+

Seven hundred fifty million. Twenty-five million. That is the difference between Facebook members and Google+ users. And yet, with the launch of games on Google+ last week, big-name companies like Electronic Arts and Zynga lined up to publish titles there. With such a tiny slice compared to Facebook's huge pie, what brought them to the fledgling network?

The future. Or fear of being left out of Google's version of it. 

On the plus side of Google, it took few resources to port these Flash-based games from Facebook to Google+. And the revenue split was very favorable to publishers, with Google's take only being 5% compared to Facebook's 30%. But the real motivation for game creators like Rovio (Angry Birds), PopCap (Bejeweled), and Zynga (Zynga Poker) to join up was a belief that Google+ will continue to grab new users—and not go the way of Orkut or Buzz.  

"They are not a new company and have a very established architecture, a very established business around search and AdSense," said Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of BioWare Edmonton. "How the future may integrate all those things and how games will take advantage of that is a really interesting business opportunity." BioWare, like PopCap, is owned by Electronic Arts, and is the creator of one of the Google+ launch titles, Dragon Age Legends.

At a glance, it doesn't seem there is much differentiation between the technology behind Facebook and Google+'s platforms right now. But another developer, on background, cited how Google's tech will evolve, and how their userbase will grow, as to why they are excited about being on Google+. Considering that Google+ grew to 25 million in about a month, a benchmark that it took Facebook nearly three years to reach, it is hard not agree.

Google, as usual, is planning for the future. "This is just the beginning. We're starting out slowly with a small number of games and partners so that we can listen and learn from both our partners and Google+ users," a Google spokesman told me.

Flynn did cite the favorable revenue agreement as one reason they went to Google+, but then he looked beyond that, "It's obviously a factor when we look at the business opportunity. If that is a sign of things to come—great!"

Dragon Age Legends

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  • John Lake

    It is SO ridiculous that anyone who actually received money writing about tech would compare Google's 1 month to 25 million with Facebook's 3 years.

    Hey worthless blog writer (which means not a real writer)  The first generation Zune sold WAY more units in its first week on the market than the first generation iPod.  I wonder why. Gee...maybe because it was an ESTABLISHED market comapred to a brand new company entering a new market...only open to college addresses.

    Why do you talk about how it took just 4 1/2 weeks to get to 25 million users...but in the last 3 weeks, they have signed up less than 5 million more.  And the invite system would guarantee that if the demand for invites was really there, sign ups would increase EXPONENTIALLY.  (Every one of those 25 million users could invite 150 people.  So even if they got just TWO friends to sign up, Google+ should have 75 million users by now, rather than just 29.  (And in reality, only about 1 or 2 million ACTUAL users.)

    ost people are reporting on mesage boards that virtually every invite they have sent out has been ignored by the recipients.

  • John Lake

    It is pretty clear to anyone actually paying attention rahter than dreaming of sergey and Larry naked that there is NO growth at Google+ anymore.  It is getting smaller with each day.

    Why did they develop for Google+?  Because it didn't cost much to port their games to Google+ so there was not much to lose.