Facebook updates formula for active users, player numbers plummet

Chart going down
Chart going down

Just before the weekend, Facebook threw everyone for a loop with a new approach to calculating just how "active" monthly active users are of its thousands of apps, namely social games. And as a result, the numbers of monthly active players of just about every Facebook game and developer have dropped significantly. And we say "significantly" because of Facebook's reasoning behind the change.

"Given that most apps work this way, we're changing our active user figures for Apps on Facebook to publicly report the number of users that authenticate with the app," Facebook's Rushi Desai writes. "We believe this shift from "visitors" to "authenticated users" more accurately reflects the usage of an application, and it brings our measurement methodology for apps into alignment with how we measure engagement on Facebook."

What Facebook is essentially saying is that it is no longer counting the users who visit an app or game's Canvas, but refuse to authenticate the app and leave the page before ever entering the game. Instead, Facebook will now only count the amount of users that actively log into the app or game per month.

CityVille MAU
CityVille MAU

The company goes on to say that the one-time drop will result in a perceived decline in the number of active users of its many social games and apps, but the number of users actually engaging with the apps is unchanged. But that's just it: Regardless of whether the same rough portion of players have been "actively engaging" with games like CityVille this month, this still means that nearly 20 million people merely visited the app in the last month and did not play the game. And that goes for not just CityVille, but Facebook games across the board.

This is certainly a positive change for all, as it promotes a more accurate measure of just how many players are actually playing these still-massive social games. However, the change reveals how many players are actually logging into these games every month as opposed to merely visiting. And no matter how you slice it, the numbers are smaller than previously imagined.

[Via Inside Facebook]

[Image Credit: AppData]

Do you agree that this new measure is revealing as to just how many active players there are of most Facebook games? Do you think this change will help or hurt Facebook game developers in the long run? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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