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Diamond Partner Q&A: Facebook's Leo Olebe explains the power of Instant Games

At GDC 2018, attendees will have the opportunity to interact with an array of sponsors who help fuel the games industry, including our Diamond Partners, whose support plays an integral role to the success of GDC.

To introduce you to our Diamond Partner Facebook, and what they'll be showcasing at GDC 2018, we've reached out to Leo Olebe, Global Director of Games Partnerships who's ready to get developers working on Instant Games!

Don't miss out! The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next March will be a hub for many more great industry titans. For more visit the show’s official website.

Could you please introduce yourself, and what attendees can expect from Facebook’s developer day?
I'm Leo Olebe, Global Director of Games Partnerships at Facebook. Taking a step back, this is going to be Facebook's most significant GDC developer day in terms of content and updates.

We're focusing our dev day content in two areas for attendees:

1. Learning how to build, grow and monetize games for Instant Games, our HTMTL5 cross-platform experience for Messenger and Facebook News Feed. The platform has been in closed beta for the last year, and we have some new updates to share. Just about every Instant Games talk at our dev day is going to be paired with a developer from our closed beta, so attendees will get to learn directly from their peers. We've built new platform features hand-in-hand with developers throughout our closed beta, so it's important to us to elevate real devs and real learnings.

2. Getting an inside look at how our latest Games SDKs and tools are helping PC, console and mobile developers build and measure the impact of gaming communities that connect around gaming video on Facebook and learn how developers are using these tools to unlock growth. Similar to our Instant Games content, we'll have dev speakers on hand that have been testing and helping us build new SDK features.

What has been the largest driver of growth for Facebook as a gaming platform in the last year?

While we are making great progress on a number of new initiatives, Instant Games, our HTML5 cross-platform experience for building games on Messenger and Facebook News Feed stands out in particular. Instant Games has continued to grow and scale in closed beta as we've added more features and, more importantly, as developers have continued to ship incredible new games. The fact that Instant Games are built in HTML5 and don’t require an app download coupled with their deep contextual integration into Messenger has driven some impressive results. For example, more than 4.2 billion games have been played in Basketball FRVR from our partner FRVR. Momentum is continuing to build with over 150 games now live globally including Words With Friends, 4Pics1Word and exciting recent launches like UNO.

What should developers know about the audiences on Facebook in terms of their taste, game interests, etc compared to other platforms?

For Instant Games, while our initial selection of games at launch focused more on high score based game play, we are continually learning as developers experiment with new genres and formats, from turn based games like Words with Friends to classic Match 3, progression games like Cookie Crush through to multiplayer card classics like Uno, all of which are finding an audience on the service. Those games in turn are bringing in new audiences to the platform. The common thread across all of these games is a social element that makes them more enjoyable to play with your friends and family in Messenger.

What’s the largest difference between Messenger’s Instant Games and games on other platforms?

There are a number of important differences between Instant Games and traditional app game experiences but the biggest one is based on the technology itself as all Instant Games are built in HTML5 and hence don’t require a separate download and are playable instantly as the name implies. This makes it much easier to discover and try out new games with next to no friction. Instant Games can be played seamlessly on Messenger and Facebook on iOS, Android and web, which means that you can play great games with your friends regardless of which device you happen to be on. Another difference is that building games within a messaging context has a lot of subtle nuances compared to other platforms, and we see that the most successful games on the platform deeply integrate and take advantage of social features inherent in Messenger.

What should developers come prepared to talk about when they visit you at GDC?

While our dev day content is focused on Instant Games and our Games SDK for PC, mobile and console devs, we'd like to make our call to action intentionally broad. That’s because building and helping devs maximize their gaming communities stretches across so many elements of the industry. We've had some great momentum in gaming over the last several years, but we're only just getting started. We're looking for devs and partners that want to work with us on building the future of games and gaming communities on Facebook.

GDC 2018 will take place March 19-23rd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. For more information, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via FacebookTwitter, or RSS.


Connecting the Global Game Development Community