According to the rumor mill on Tuesday, Facebook is reportedly working with a select few mobile game developers to provide publishing and distribution through mobile ads in return for an unspecified chunk of the revenue generated by the games.
Sources familiar with the project say the arrangement is definitely in the works, although Facebook won’t provide any details.
“While Facebook has been earning a little over $200 million per quarter from payments and other fees, with most of that coming from virtual currency transactions inside social games,” Tech Crunch reports, “it hasn’t been able to replicate that business on mobile devices, because Apple and Google both control the world’s two major smartphone app stores and already take a 30 percent cut on digital transactions.”
Fortunately for Facebook, the social networking giant already generates substantial revenue from mobile game developers through good old fashioned mobile ad buying, which is a business that helped Facebook earn $373 million in the first quarter of 2013 alone.
With smaller developers struggling to find audiences in a crowded and highly competitive field, Facebook could boost their sales and exposure tremendously.
So in this experiment, Facebook is partnering with smaller, independent developers, not the bigger guys. They’re also primarily focusing on distribution. They aren’t really editing or tweaking games for content or financing their production, which is what other publishers sometimes do.
Given that Facebook reportedly feels that it hasn’t fully realized the potential of the mobile app economy, mobile gaming may open up a lucrative new door… and soon.