Google+ has added its first 16 games. The good news for developers is that Google is only taking a 5 percent commission, compared to Facebook's 30 percent. Not to be outdone, however, Facebook is adding numerous new game features.
Google's First Wave of Games
Google+ has begun a rollout of a new Games tab that will include access to 16 different games, including "Angry Birds," and "Bejeweled Blitz" – from 10 app developers. Fifteen of these games were made in Flash while one was made in HTML 5.
One of the developers on board is Funzio. Company COO Anil Dharni discussed the process of adapting for Google+. It took the company about a month to bring its popular game "Crime City" to the new platform. They chose to go with Flash instead of HTML 5 because "HTML5 is too slow for games at the moment."
With an estimated 25 million users, Google+ is a nice outlet for game developers. However, that still leaves Google's social network at just 3 percent the size of Facebook.
The big incentive being pitched is that Google is taking only a 5 percent cut of in-game transactions, compared to the 30 percent taken by Facebook. Google is quick to clarify, however, that this is a promotional rate and the company has yet to decide what the final commission will be.
Google's structure for games is designed to be non-intrusive; stories that originate from games aren't visible in the main stream, but those interested can navigate to the Games tab and check out what their friends have been up to. The Games tab started rolling out to users on August 11 and will be available to all users in the coming days.
Facebook Steps Up Their Games
Facebook must have seen the potential threat of Google+ coming; in the last few days, Facebook has made some significant changes to application UI features and in-app functionality. This includes a new canvas that will notify users when they have invites or other notifications coming from a game. The new canvas also gives app developers a lot more real estate.
More importantly, however, Facebook is adding some social features that may restore some virality that app developers had access to in the previous versions of the news stream. App developers will now be able to add "achievements," competitive scoring systems, and other person-to-person sharing features.