App Development Platform Discussion Part I – Facebook

April 13, 2010 1:42 am 0 comments

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as promised in App Development Platform discussion post we are following it upimage with our first post on the topic.

Facebook can single handedly be credited with making social networking the most talked about term in recent times, to be fair for me Social Networking did not had a solid meaning before facebook entered our lives. Orkut tried but a lot of people were turned away by its too much openness. then there was also MySpace but facebook came and swept every body from its feet, its viral nature of organic growth meant that it was not just a site for people to connect, it became a world of its own a virtual world where about  400 milion people daily spend on an average of about 1 hour meeting friends playing games and connecting with people, to get more stats go here for the official numbers.


Developer’s Opportunity

From a developers point of view facebook gives direct access to the largest number of consumers more than currently any other platform can match with iphone offering a target audience of 50 million in comparison.

Facebook on its onset provided a very unique opportunity for developers, it presented with a platform where the rules were all different, you did not had to spend a lot on marketing or SEO for your app to kick off, you just needed to create the right amount of what you can say social pressure where a user was eager to show of his skills to his friends, with an average user having 130 friends that wouold quickly translate into a wildfire if you had the right amount of content and interest. People who realized this power of connectivity soon ran away with it, if you go around and have a look most names you would find on the top apps list are not your run of the mill game studios, you don’t see EA or others on the list, all or most of these are new entrants who realized the potential and cached in on the opportunity.

Monetization

Once the user base swelled came the issue of monetization, it came with advertisements and for some with the introduction of another new concept of virtual goods, in a lot of facebook games you would buy virtual stuff for actual money, games like FarmVille, Pet Society and Mafia Wars have used this to make a lot of money. 

Issues

All is not rosy specially from new developers perspective, currently the number of Applications is huge and there is a very big developer community continuously churning in newer apps there are more than one million developers, with 500,000 active apps, what that means is that to make an impact your app should have to stand out, also there is an opportunity of having local apps which cater to your culture, however specially for our part of world that would mean limiting our monetization options because again the internet user from Pakistan rarely takes his credit card out for an online purchase.

 

Few of the apps we covered in recent months for facebook are

Feline frenzy – A facebook Game by White Rabbit

“Fly By” a Facebook Game by Websketchers

I would end up by Quoting Hassan Baig from White Rabbit (Creators of Feline Frenzy) and when an investment banker talks about money you should listen carefully :)

“ The iPhone is a powerful platform, it’s got a cult following, some of the apps developed for it have unique, unparalleled features.

But it’s not a good monetization platform.

First of all, the sheer volume of users Facebook has can trump iPhone users many times over. Second, virtual goods have not kicked off on iPhone the way they have on Facebook. Thirdly, piracy of iPhone apps is huge. Fourthly, Apple monopolistic practices are cost-ineffective; Steve Jobs wants 30% of your app revenue. Fifthly, social viralness is not as lubricated on the iPhone platform as it is over Facebook’s stream – which means iPhone developers have to contend with higher advertising budgets.

The iPhone is a good way to increase your brand’s footprint. But it’s business-model credentials as a first foray are not superior to Facebook’s Open Platform. My two cents. ”

Next up hopefully if I can rope in Khurram Samad from Geni Team for his insights would be Android stay tuned.

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