Electronic Arts Puts Pogo, Its Casual Game Portal, on Facebook

Aside from releases by Playfish, the large Facebook gaming company that it acquired late last year, Electronic Arts doesn’t have much of a presence on Facebook. One way it may attempt to remedy that is by setting its Pogo casual games brand loose on the social network.

Pogo.com is one of the largest casual game portals on the web, averaging over 10 million unique visitors monthly according to Compete. Its games include both web specials and brand names that EA owns or licenses, like Monopoly, Scrabble and Yahtzee.

In the everyday world, these brands obviously have a great deal of value. But although Scrabulous, a knock-off of Scrabble, was one of Facebook’s first successful games, EA has had a hard time pushing the official version; two years after its release, the Facebook version of Scrabble still has fewer than a million users. Pogo.com also lists three Facebook games on AppData, but has only 9,666 MAU.

Player resentment and the existence of other versions of Scrabble for Facebook’s global audience may have contributed to EA’s slowness to introduce more classic games — not to mention licensing negotiations. But the company also has the example of MindJolt Games, which has captured over 20 million monthly active users with the portal strategy, for inspiration.

For now, Pogo is still in beta on Facebook, with 5,769 MAU. The app is beautifully designed, and the social element is pre-built into most games. In Boggle Bash, for instance, you automatically play against other people, and there’s a box for casual chatter.

But there doesn’t appear to have been much customization for Facebook; the game never even asks you to share it with friends. And only 10 of the total of 184 games offered on Pogo.com are offered.

EA’s job listing for a Pogo Platform Product Manager for Facebook suggests that the company hasn’t fully developed its marketing strategy or identified its core audience yet. So for now, it’s probably safe to assume that Pogo won’t take off in the near future.