The new Facebook redesign has started to roll out en masse, including a new Games hub designed to give members easier access to the hundreds of games on the social network.
I took my first look at the new hub yesterday, and first impressions? It's nice to see that the new design puts my Facebook games front and center. On the not-so-nice side, it's now a hassle to jump from game to game. There's no way to access my list of bookmarked games while playing another. In an unexpected turn, the new hub also offers a snapshot at just how much my friends (and I) play FB games. To summarize: we play a lot.
The entire Games hub is broken down into four sections, each slicing and dicing game data in different ways, and each area serves as a sort of who's who of Facebook games (and gamers).
The first portion of the new Games hub is titled "Your Games." That's followed by a listing of three games, all of which I, of course, played today. My excuse is that I write about these games, so all that play time is really for work. Then there's an option to see all of my games, which opens a long list of games. The few played most recently sit at the top, and all I can think is "damn, that's a lot of games." Again, that's my job, so I feel (slightly) justified with my seemingly excessive gaming habits.
Below that is an area called Friends' Recent Activity, and a list of the most recent games your friends are playing. Beneath each game is a list of people playing. Then -- here's the freaky part -- it also tells you who's "currently playing" the games, who played them 'today' or on preceding days. According to this activity log, my buddy Christian is "currently playing" Happy Pets, Island Paradise, Happy Island, Island Life, Happy Aquarium -- all at the same time. Earlier in the day, he played Country Story. Two minutes later he's playing a game called Ranch Life.
My friend Christian is actually a social game developer, so it's not so strange to see him check out numerous Facebook games in a short period of time. Then, there's other people -- who won't be named here -- who definitely put in some serious game time while on the clock. Busted. I just hope their bosses can't see this data or there might be trouble.
Below that is another section called "Friend's Games" -- and each friend is listed along with up to three games they're playing. Almost all of my friends are playing three (or more games) -- everything from Sorority Life to Castle Age. This list changes each time the page is reloaded, so it's a good way to see what (and how many) games my friends are playing.
At the bottom of the page -- there's several lists of games broken out by genre -- board games, card games, word games, role-playing games, virtual world games, action/arcade games. It's another great way to discover new games. For instance, two of my all-time favorite games from GameHouse -- Collapse and Text Twist -- have been added to Facebook.
The prognosis? Based on the anecdotal evidence, there's a lot of people playing a lot of games on Facebook. I'm still feeling my way around this new hub page, but -- one thing's for certain -- it couldn't have come soon enough.
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What do you think of the new Facebook games hub?