Hey Facebook, there's a Game Request in my Notifications Bar!


One of the biggest areas of scrutiny with games on Facebook is just what happens to gift requests when they are sent from user to user to be redeemed in a specific game. The Gift Requests page has long been the standard, regardless of its positioning on the site, allowing users to pick and choose which request they'd like to respond to at any one time, but at one time, users were also notified about game requests and activities via their Notifications bar.

For the past months, the Notification bar has been reserved solely for Facebook-specific "news" related to your account, alerting you when you've had a comment on your status, photos or wall posts, whether someone has written on your wall (even if this was for a game), accepted your friend request and so on. Over the last 24 hours, however, something very different has started to appear in this same space.

While playing your favorite Facebook games, you've likely come across a situation where you've received a notification bubble dealing specifically with in-game gift requests. These notifications are released after you've received a block of game requests, and show you one specific notification for just one game.

You'll see something along the lines of "John Doe, Jane Doe, and 3 other friends sent you requests in FarmVille," replacing "FarmVille" with any game you happen to have received requests from. The image above shows you what you can expect to see, but we have removed user names and profile images for the sake of their privacy.

The folks at Inside Facebook have been able to confirm that this is a test being performed by Facebook proper, in an effort to analyze the effects of these notifications on users. Facebook hopes that with these changes in notifications, they may be able to help developers with general app discovery and the retention of players. We can see how the latter purpose would easily come into play, as users would be able to receive frequent reminders that they have requests waiting for them in games, which would hopefully make them check back in more often than they would have otherwise.

Either way, this is definitely something to keep an eye on, as figuring out how to sustain the viral nature of app installations and keep players logging into their games are two issues that developers have been highly focused on since the removal of third-party notifications back in March.

Since this is sure to be a heavily discussed topic in the coming weeks, we'd like to know what you think about game notifications in general. Have you started receiving these test notifications for your games yet? Do you like the change, or do you think that you will quickly be overwhelmed with notifications? Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Add comment