The boffins at Facebook have done it again – in a bid to make the site more than just a social network, Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild has now announced the launch of its “Instant Articles” feature, securing its place as an often-accessed source of news.
The feature will comprise an in-app function which hopes to speed up the loading time between users clicking on the news story in the app and the article appearing. Previously, users would have to wait up to eight seconds for their articles to load, but as social media has become the go-to source for people’s headlines, it is no wonder that Facebook is seeking to improve this functionality as quickly as possible.
In recent years, the site has moved away from its former image of connecting old friends and university graduates, and instead has become known as a platform for philanthropy, news, and perhaps more surprisingly, gaming.
This became particularly evident in 2012 when the site decided to launch its first real-money gaming app, Bingo Friendzy. While in-app games such as Farmville and Candy Crush dominated the Facebook gaming market at the time, none could offer players the chance to win money, but after agreements were made with online gaming giant Gamesys, a new chapter began in the Facebook gaming world.
Fast forward three years to today and it seems that prizes are set to get even bigger for gamers on the social networking site. It was recently announced that Real Prize Arcade had launched its own “physical item” prize game.
Creator Dan Harris said: “I wanted to offer something that gave people the opportunity to get a real, physical item put back into their hands for the money they were spending.” The site will mimic the popular arcade ‘claw machine’ function, allowing players to remove a prize from the virtual machine and receive it some weeks later in the mail.
The idea is still in its inception stages and is relying upon crowdfunding support in order to get it off the ground, but it could be the start of something big for Facebook users. Just as social media gaming went through a huge shift when players began to start winning real money, they too could enjoy the opportunity to revisit their youth playing claw machines and win more than a few virtual credits.
Of course, with the amount of online promotions out there, offering tangible prizes is nothing new for the social network itself, but this new development could attract a whole new clientele of players. With so many developments in online gaming over the last few years, it is only a matter of time before we will see prizes of epic proportions coming our way.