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MySpace is pitching game developers to help with revival

MySpaceGames MySpace is looking to a new audience to help with its revival: video game developers.

The struggling News Corp.-owned social network, which is transforming itself into a place to discover and share content, made a presentation at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday morning in an attempt to lure developers to work with its gaming section, an updated version of which launched Wednesday.

"About 30% of our users currently play games on MySpace," said MySpace co-President Mike Jones, who led the morning presentation. "We think we can get that up to 50%."

Casual games such as Zynga's Farmville have been a crucial part of the growth of MySpace's larger competitor, Facebook. They don't only attract users, but also keep them engaged for longer than any other activity as players look to set new high scores and compete with friends. Facebook users spend twice the amount of time on the social network as MySpace users do, according to the most recent data from research firm ComScore.

Jones said MySpace is looking to offer more sophisticated games than the simple, casual titles currently popular on social networks. As part of that effort, it is integrating a new technology into MySpace called Unity that will enable developers to create games with rich 3-D graphics.

To rival Facebook as a gaming platform, MySpace will need to not only attract and retain users, but also persuade developers to make their games work on its platform and, in some cases, create games exclusively for it.

Jones said MySpace would use its growing suite of discovery tools to help users find and start playing games they might like.

"We're rolling out tools so that when people check out the games section on MySpace, we present them with games that match their interests and that are popular with their friends," he said.

MySpace is also launching an iPhone application that lets users access games they play on the site.

For much more on News Corp.'s attempt to redesign and revive MySpace, see this story in today's Times.

-- Ben Fritz

Image: MySpace's newly redesigned games section. Credit: MySpace

 
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