Facebook was at the epicenter of social gaming when games like “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars” rules the roost. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one’s opinion of Facebook games), the company hasn’t been able to figure out how to assert itself the same way now that mobile and tablet gaming have really come into their own.
Until now, maybe. TechCrunch’s Kim-Mai Cutler says sources are telling her that Facebook is starting a mobile publishing program, offering developers a way to get their games distributed in return for a cut of the revenue. Facebook would be hands off in terms of editing the games and work strictly with smaller studios who might otherwise be unable to compete with the heavily marketed games created by larger companies.
Though the success of titles like King’s “Candy Crush Saga” (which is also extremely popular on mobile) and Zynga’s “FarmVille 2″ prove there is still some life left in social games played primarily online, any effort by Facebook to increase is presence in mobile gaming can be taken as a sign that the transition between the two is really and truly complete. The question will be whether developers feel they get enough out of Facebook’s plan to leverage its targeted advertising power to be worth giving the company part of their profits, but you’d have to think some will at least consider it.
And while it may take a while to get used to the idea of “Facebook, video game publisher,” it appears we might not have any choice.