Starting now, Facebook is enabling developers to share demos of their game content right in the News Feed, giving players the opportunity to play it the same way they would a Youtube video; that is, without leaving the screen. Dubbed “feed gaming,” it will give you bite-sized tastes of games without having to jump to the app itself.
For players, the benefit is anonymity. Instead of having to sneak on a game of Angry Birds or Idle Worship at work and broadcast the info to your friends (and boss), you’re able to indulge without the commitment. On another level, those with privacy concerns will be able to sample a developer’s offerings without having to allow each one access to their user data — provided, of course, the dev. makes a demo available.
Like freemium games on the App Store, it’s Facebook’s way of dialing down the commitment level, allowing players to try before they buy-in with their personal info and commit a portion of their news feed to those bothersome updates. And yet for anyone who’s been playing Facebook games for a long while, this may feel similar to the moment when theaters started airing commercials for products before commercials for movies. As many of the platform’s games are already selling themselves on the “try before you buy” ethic, this is…what? Try before you try before you buy?
All cynicism aside, however, I can see this working. I rarely respond to invites from other players (and would love to see if this campaign relates to a mass downturn there), but will gladly watch and watch rewatch a funny video in my Facebook tab. If I could pop some bubbles or toss some mudlings around with the same ease? I may just find myself playing the full game. Would you?