Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the recent loss of users in top Facebook social games is the intentional result of an attempt to orient the platform toward user re-engagement instead of app virality, according to an interview with Inside Facebook. Facebook intentionally weakened its viral channels, according to Zuckerberg, in order to cut down on the number of apps that were relying on user churn for monetization and let high-quality apps with high re-engagement rates compete better.
"People were using viral channels to reengage people, and you basically had apps that were growing very quickly, and their best way to get a good user count was to get new users and churn through them. That really optimizes for apps that are very viral instead of apps that are high quality and that people want to reengage. So we intentionally weakened the viral channels recently, and intentionally strengthened reengagement with emails, so that there will be better apps," said Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg also defends Credits in the interview, stating that the virtual currency is intended to make gaming more attractive to users and make it easier for small developers to be competitive on the platform. Buying virtual goods is usually inefficient, according to Zuckerberg, because users have to first purchase virtual currency and then purchase the item. Virtual currency purchased for one company's game, say CrowdStar, may not be usable in a Zynga game.
"A lot of the apps so far are games, a lot of games monetize a lot better through virtual goods than through ads, and a big goal for us is to build this level ecosystem. So if Zynga or any one player can allow cross payments within their games, but that doesn’t extend to other games, then that ends up being a big barrier to entry for other startups. Making it so that there is one currency that people can take everywhere levels the playing field a bit, which is good," said Zuckerberg.
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