Facebook has long been a platform partner to big-name game developers like Zynga (FarmVille, Words With Friends) and King (Candy Crush Saga), and now it is starting up its own mobile games publishing business.
Facebook Mobile Games Publishing, which the company announced today, is a pilot program targeting smaller game developers. Facebook will offer game developers unique benefits like audience targeting based on their interests and potentially widespread distribution across its network of 800 million monthly mobile app users (260 million of which are playing games). In exchange, Facebook will take an upfront cut of game revenues, though the company has not specified what percentage its cut would be.
During Facebook's second quarter earnings call last week, chief financial officer David Ebersman reported payments revenue, which totaled $214 million for the quarter, increased 11% from the previous year. Facebook Mobile Games Publishing gives the company an opportunity at a potentially lucrative revenue stream.
Facebook's entrance into mobile games publishing will inevitably make those at Zynga, once the social network's closest games partner, pause. Though it's too early to tell what the ailing gaming company's new CEO, former Xbox chief Don Mattrick, has planned, Zynga isn't playing the sitting duck: Three VPs are the latest to exit the company, as of earlier today.
According to Seth Fiegerman, a business reporter at Mashable, Facebook is currently less than $1 away from reaching its IPO debut price of $38 a share, a price the company's stock has not seen since its first day of trading on the Nasdaq in May 2012.
[Image: Flickr user Denis Dervisevic]