Google has launched an Angry Bird at Facebook.
Angry Birds: The game has grown into a full-blooded pop cultural sensation.
The search giant’s Google+ social site on Thursday unleashed a move into casual games with such titles as Angry Birds and Zynga Poker, putting it squarely on a collision course with the social-networking giant. Initially, Google+ is undercutting its rival on the slice of money taken from game developers, upping the ante in the ongoing battle for social status.
Facebook takes 30% of revenue from in-game transactions on games on its service, while developers keep 70%. At first, Google+ will offer developers 95% of such payments and keep just 5%, Google said.
That’s a way to woo developers to consider Google+ first, says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. “And somebody will. There’s a lot of guys who have a lot of trouble getting noticed on Facebook.”
At first only a subset of the 10 million-plus Google+ members have access to the initial set of 16 games. Those users who have games available will see a Games icon at the top of the Google+ page.
Games and game-related updates do not appear in Google+ members’ news “streams” as they originally did in Facebook news feeds. These days, Facebook games appear along the left rail of the main interface. Google’s will be on a separate page.
That falls in line with Google’s effort to make its social site less cluttered with news feed updates, a common criticism of Facebook.
Most of Zynga’s major hit games, including CityVille, FarmVille and the new Empires Allies, are exclusive to Facebook..
Still, the early roster for Google+ includes games from top developers such as Dragon Age Legends (Electronic Arts), Bejeweled Blitz (PopCap Games), City of Wonder (Playdom), Zombie Lane (Digital Chocolate), and Monster World (Wooga).
“Google is going after Facebook seriously,” Pachter says. “The trick is, is there anything Google+ is doing that Facebook can’t rip off? â€¦ If a game shows up on Google+ and gets any traction, then immediately that person can go over to Facebook and say, ‘Promote my game.'”
Facebook countered late Thursday with a series of tweaks to its games platform.