The Straits Times
Published on Feb 02, 2013

Coming soon to Facebook: More action, battle games


SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - When nWay began a trial of its dark, sci-fi combat game ChronoBlade on Facebook last year, the San Francisco-based startup felt sure it had a hit on its hands.

"First of all, what comes is, 'Wow, I had no idea you could actually do a game of this quality on Facebook,'" said Mr Dave Jones, chief creative officer of nWay, who has worked on Grand Theft Auto. Then came some resistance: Mr Jones admits some potential investors and partners questioned how an action-focused game with slick graphics can play to a Facebook audience more accustomed to Farmville and other less time-consuming casual games. Others wondered how the game - which launches this spring - would gain significant users and revenue on the social network.

But Facebook Inc is betting nWay and a clutch of other developers this year can extend console-style action games beyond Microsoft Corp's Xbox or Sony Corp's PlayStation onto the world's largest social network.

Facebook is spearheading the launch of 10 high-quality games created by third-party developers in 2013 that squarely target so-called hardcore gamers, an atypical audience overlooked thus far against the wealth of family-friendly offerings like Zynga Inc's Farmville that now dominate the social network's gaming landscape.