Last year I posted that Facebook was effectively over as a disruptive game development platform. My reasoning was that Facebook relied too much on algorithmic solutions to drive visibility, which was then gamed by a few companies, and largely failed at introducing users to new games.
Unless Facebook were to produce a highly visible app store, I thought, Zynga had won. I also thought Facebook would not make such a store. Happily I was apparently wrong.
The thing is: Purely algorithmic rankings don't work if what you want is a lively ecosystem. They tend to gather around a few winners and then the overall selection appears stale to users. In essence applying search engine ideas to novelty-driven entertainment results in stasis.
Previous Facebook efforts have proven this time and again. App stores on other platforms (Google Android for example) have also shown that the effect isnt just Facebook-specific. To get a great variety of content requires manual stewardship.
Not restrictive publishing practises and all of the shenanigans that comes with them, but some level of curation. Some team who rakes through all of the submissions in search of the gems. Keen eyes and a platform to talk. That's why Apple's store has managed to remain so vital: Apple looks for the strange and then gives it the push that it needs.
The big question for Facebook is whether they will go that far, only go half way and rely on automation to unearth the hits. If they do then I suspect the App Center will be just a front page for EA, Disney and Zynga. No offence to those companies, but that's hardly a resurrection in the making.