Over the last years, social networking platform MySpace has lost its position as the market leader to Facebook. Today, MySpace counts 100 million users, about 80% of which are US residents as opposed to Facebook’s 400 million users of which only 30% are US residents. The gap is growing each day – MySpace is stagnating while Facebook’s expansion seems unstoppable.
After the recent departure of senior MySpace’s executives the company has finally presented a new strategy to get the company back on track. One crucial component of the new strategy, which was revealed at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is a strong focus on social games. The strategy includes a new MySpace design which will heavily promote games and will shift the focus away from music. Additionally, MySpace announced that it will enable users to play MySpace games on the iPhone. The roll out of the strategy is expected later this year.
Shifting expertise from music to games will be difficult considering Facebook’s immense head start. However, there is potential: about 30% of MySpace users play games daily which accumulates to 1 billion game play minutes monthly. MySpace is optimistic to double the latter figure by the end of 2010 by improving the possibilities game developers have on the platform.
One way of attracting more members is to develop games exclusively for MySpace, as currently the same games can be played more conveniently on Facebook. Recent developments like Playdom’s acquisitions of Facebook game developers show that MySpace needs to act, as major developers of social games focus more and more on Facebook.
There are reasons to be sceptic whether MySpace can reclaim past glory. However, one reason to be optimistic is MySpace´s announcement to allow developers to spread their games virally within the social network. This is good news especially for small developers with low marketing budgets given that, unfortunately for them, Facebook has been cracking down on certain viral marketing practices with its redesign of the platform and new app policy, including the ban of game-related notifications which makes it harder to promote games. All in all it is highly unlikely that MySpace will regain market leadership, but if the company manages to provide a viral platform for game developers MySpace can become serious competition again.