Facebook has 'more gamers than Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony combined'

Facebook has 'more gamers than Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo combined'
Farmville - so much to answer for

Facebook has been talking social gaming at the London leg of its developer conference, F8, today, claiming that it has more gamers than the Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo platforms combined.

Ethan Beard, Facebook's director of partnerships, took to the stage to sweet talk the UK's developers and explain the company's upcoming Timeline feature.

"Social design inside social gaming has driven fantastic growth," he told delegates, of which TechRadar was one.

"It's revolutionising gaming. We have over 200 million social gamers on Facebook every month; that's more Facebook gamers than the Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo combined."

Special sauce

The secret, Facebook contends, is that their gaming apps have been built around people rather than graphics or narrative.

Beard explains, "If you look at social games compared to PlayStation and Xbox, Facebook games are very simple. They're Flash-based, plain graphics, the audio is what it is and you play in the browser; it's not that compelling.

"But the most important thing is that you play it with your friends. These aren't games with friends sprinkled on top; it's more about social interactions with gaming on top."

The Facebook gaming revolution – which you simply cannot talk about without mentioning Farmville – originally grew thanks to the news feed, where people's achievements and ploughed fields were referenced almost non-stop.

But it reached a point where people weren't posting to their profiles any more. Most of the world sighed with relief, no longer privy to the inner workings of their friends' fictional smallholdings, but Facebook was less pleased.

"We went to users and asked, 'Why don't you share more? What can we do to make you want to share more?' and the answer wasn't around privacy (which was what we'd been expecting), the answer was that they didn't want to spam their friends," Beard explained.

"Fix that spam problem, and users would share more; that's where the ticker comes in."

Lucky for the non -ville minded among us, the fast-moving ticker is far easier to ignore.

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.