Facebook's love affair with Zynga undoubtedly propelled cloud-based casual gaming and reinvigorated the PC gaming scene with the launch of FarmVille. Gamers can now find volumes of game titles within Facebook's virtual halls ranging from the suspiciously addicting Candy Crush to the "hard-core" FPS UberStrike. Now Facebook is embracing the multi-platform gaming crowd even more by offering developers an SDK supporting the popular Unity engine, thus bridging the mobile and desktop crowds.
"More than 260 million people are playing games on Facebook each month - a number that continues to rise. One of the fastest growing categories of games on Facebook are the highly sophisticated, 3D games often labeled as core and mid-core," says Facebook's Aaron Brady. "To support game developers building core games, we've teamed up with one of the leading game engines, Unity, to give Unity developers easy access to Facebook's social and identity features."
Brady says that the number of active Facebook users with Unity installed more than tripled in the first half of 2013, totaling up to 90 million active social junkies with the plugin or extension installed. This is an important number, as it means mobile game developers using the Unity engine can now publish their titles on Facebook, thus reaching a much wider revenue-generating audience. Madfinger is one of the first to use the new SDK, bringing Shadowgun: Deadzone to the social network masses.
"Facebook has a relevant and engaged audience of gamers that mobile developers can reach by publishing their games on Facebook, and the SDK makes bringing a mobile game to web as simple as writing one line of code," Brady claims. "By filling out a few fields in the developer app and giving us the URL of your game object, you can bring your mobile game to a whole new audience of avid gamers on Facebook."
Facebook's SDK provides native Unity dialogs for inviting friends, requests, and sharing, meaning gamers can stay in full-screen mode when they interact with Facebook's social features. He also says that Facebook is helping more people find and play Unity games on Facebook by driving discovery of the Unity player with a custom install flow for the Unity plug-in.
In addition to the SDK, Brady said that Parse also plans to release a plugin for Unity that will extend the Parse backend to web and mobile Unity developer. "With the plugin, developers can store data, authenticate users, and easily implement advanced backend features such as saving high score data, saving game states for continuous play, and dynamically enabling and disabling a/b testing," he writes. "The plugin will become available to developers in the coming weeks."