Facebook and Google on a Social Gaming Crash Course

facebook public relations

Facebook has posted a new job opportunity that shows just how important the social gaming space is going to get over the next year. The advertisement shows the position will develop and enhance successful partnerships of internal and external partnerships inside of the gaming industry. This indicates that Facebook isn’t taking Google’s recent moves in the social gaming space lying down. As you know Google has already invested US$100M in the social gaming behemoth Zynga, preparing to launch Google Games sometime at the end of the calendar year 2010. Google also purchased Max Levchin’s Slide in a deal expected to be announced today totaling US$228M. And the coup de grace is that Google is dead serious about their social networking presence with what is rumored to be called Google Me.

The Facebook job opening reads as such:
“Facebook is seeking a leader for our Strategic Partner Development team to build and manage a high performance team, develop and enhance successful partnerships and influence internal and external partners and industry stakeholders in the Gaming industry. This job requires high levels of creativity and strategic thinking, as you’ll be called upon to help both large, incumbent gaming companies as well as venture-backed gaming start-ups develop innovative social gaming experiences building on Facebook Platform. This team is the face of Facebook to our external gaming partner relationships and serves as the primary point of contact for both internal and external stakeholders. You should be as comfortable pitching and negotiating deals with partners as working cross-functionally with colleagues in Product, Engineering, Sales, Operations, Finance, Marketing, and Legal to create new social experiences that meet the strategic objectives of partners and Facebook. You should also expect to handle day-to-day operations and partnership management with many of our most important gaming partners, develop and execute on strategic partner initiatives and advocate internally and externally for our social gaming partners.”

Social gaming is a very interesting space. What was once a casual gloss-over amongst the internet power players is now getting the attention deserving of the last woman on earth. According to AllFacebook.com there are now 200 million people playing games on Facebook every month, and 24 games have more than 10 million users per month. Furthermore, with the launch of Facebook credits, the social currency across the Facebook platform, Facebook get’s a 30% cut of all micro-transactions that take place. Facebook and Google are squaring off in the next big breakout star of the internet. When you have the names Facebook and Google, two of the most relative internet companies, point-blank-period–you are important.

Facebook seemingly has the upper hand. As my home on the internet, if Facebook is able to monetize the time spent tagging pictures, saying happy birthday and/or stalking friends, it has an innate advantage that Google doesn’t. And let’s tackle this from a branding perspective: Facebook, nor Google for that matter, care what you are doing online as long as you are doing it within their platform. Social Gaming is nothing more than a time-waster, but it’s a billion dollar industry and it’s growing fast. Even big brands have to adapt and incorporate new product lines into their offerings. If you cannot adapt and add, someone else will, and then you are caught with your pants down.

The social gaming race is heating up to be a very interesting vertical to watch. What part does the social graph play in all of it? Will music-sharing have any effect? Do we trust Google to be social? How will Facebook open up to get social developers interested again? There are many questions that are going to be answered, and in the world of the internet, answered in a dead sprint to the profit-line. Shucks, I didn’t even mention the importance of mobile in social gaming. Mobile is an entire other can of worms, but it is where the biggest inroads will be made.

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