Science and Tech


Facebook Targets Gamers With New iPad-Only Update

Facebook introduces a new feature specific to iPad: a right hand sidebar dedicated to trending topics, gaming, and overall discovery within the app.
Posted at 3:53 PM, Jun 16, 2014

Move over newsfeed. Facebook is taking advantage of the iPad’s screen real estate with a new righthand sidebar.  Sounds exciting, right?  Well, if you’re gaming on Facebook, lean in.

​In a blog post Monday the company said, “This update will surface content on the right-hand side of the iPad that’s relevant to how people use tablets today, which is primarily to read news, watch videos and play games.” (Via Facebook)


A sample screen shot shows four widgets housed in the sidebar: calendar events, trending topics or videos, the games you play, and popular games on Facebook or among your friends.  To find the sidebar, your iPad must rotated to landscape. (Via Facebook)


Why put the emphasis on entertainment?  Because people come to game on FB.  70% of all users have played a game in the last 90 days according to the social network.


The new column will also drive users to click links that fence them inside Facebook’s app for as long as possible.  Plus, the sidebar is a logical step toward advertising games and engaging more players.

VentureBeat spoke with Facebook’s Lead of North American game partnerships Dan Morris.  He agrees the new sidebar could help developers spread the word about a new game,

“Discovery is the problem these days. We expect it’s going to give a big boost to games.” (ViaVentureBeat)

This isn’t the first time Facebook users have seen the right hand column revamped.  In January, the social network rolled out “Trending”: a watered-down, desktop version of this week’s iPad update. (Via Facebook)

The Washington Post reported then, the feature was supposed to shift Facebook’s image closer to its rival, Twitter.  Allegedly, more users saw Facebook as a place to “catch up” on the news, rather than a hub for discovering the hottest topics. (Via The Washington Post)

Like so many of its updates, the new sidebar is currently available for U.S., iPad users only.