Wishful Features: The Facebook App Store

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The App StoreEven if you don't own an Apple device, surely most of you have heard that the ubiquitous technology company recently released its Mac App Store. A strange step for computing, but a logical one for a company like Apple, the Mac App Store will serve as the new place for users to find new applications to download, purchase and use. Inspired by the App Store found in the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, it's possible in future renditions of the Mac computer that this will be the only way users will be able to access new apps.

Another more relevant platform could certainly take advantage of a similar distribution model: Facebook. While there have been rumors of a Facebook gaming hub since Nov. 2010, nothing seems to have surfaced. Imagine a place where social gamers could go to find the newest, most popular games on Facebook (for free, of course). This place could easily be called the Facebook App Store, but knowing Apple and their sprawling copyrights and patents that probably wouldn't blow over so well. Regardless, let's keep the name for the sake of the argument, shall we?

Join us after the break to explore the possibilities of a Facebook App Store.

First, the Facebook App Store would finally serve as a single hub to find and manage our social games. From this page within Facebook, we could launch any game attached to our account or manage our requests in a single, unified window. No longer would we have to scroll through a long list of games or requests displayed in tiny font to find the game or gift we're looking for. This hub would make better use of modern computers' wide screen displays, depicting each item using the thumbnail images rather than lists. Relevant information could be included next to each game such as requests or even messages like "Crops are ready to be harvested."

Angry Birds
Second, this would be the place to find new games. Of course, this would have the potential to reinvigorate Facebook's viral channels using many of Apple's methods for app discovery. However, it would also come with a few potentially polarizing features. Facebook would likely become the quality controller for new Facebook games with standards and guidelines for new games to be featured in the App Store, which people feel strongly about on both ends. Does your game work properly and plan to exit beta status in no later than six months from now? (I'm looking at you, Zynga.) Then welcome to the App Store!

Better yet, games would gain popularity naturally through ratings similar to those on the iPhone. How do you think Angry Birds (pictured above) became so popular? It has over 35 thousand ratings on the Apple App Store, for starters. Just think of how well the rating system could do on Facebook with a base of 250 million social gamers? Send the highest rated games or those who gained the most ratings each week to the Facebook App Store homepage and just like that, discovery is back again.

Finally, since this is Facebook, everything would be ingrained into its social channels. Users would be given the option to share their achievements and gifts like normal, but how about their ratings? Players could even chat within the ratings pages of games, much like comments on Facebook game fan pages today. Making use of the open web that Facebook claims to embrace so much, developers could update the pages for their games through the App Store.

FarmVille in the App Store
Realistically speaking (for once), Facebook could very well be up to something similar to this. The company recently opened a Games division to help optimize the platform for social gamers while keeping the non-gamers out. Wait, that sounds exactly like what we're talking about here. Facebook also finally made a hire for that open games partnership director position--for quality control purposes, perhaps? Of course, all of this would require an engineering marvel, but if a 26-year-old programmer can create the world's most ubiquitous website, I'm sure his team could handle it.

[First Image Credit: All Things Digital]

What do you think of a Facebook App Store? Is this the direction you'd like to see social games go? What problems do you see with it? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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