Facebook Nixes App Notifications, Social Games Get Email Alert Incentives

Now that Facebook apps can no longer send notifications to users, social game developers are implementing new methods of keeping in touch with their players. Here’s an overview of recent game updates from a few top social titles, as reported on FriskyMongoose.com.

First, in case you’ve been under a rock, the background: Facebook notifications will cease to exist in their previous form, starting this week. According to Mashable, developers of games and other Facebook apps will now be required to either send email updates to users (assuming they’ve agreed to receive them), or hope that users will read about their updates via fan pages and new feeds.

An additional counter feature will also be relied on, which displays the number of app related notices you have next to the application’s name in your left menu navigation on the Facebook homepage (for those applications you have bookmarked). However this is as close to universal notifications as the updated system comes, making those who were tired of logging in to see a big 20+ digit in the corner of their screens very happy campers indeed.

One of the most popular new features is an email alert system. Facebook games are rewarding players who register with all kinds of exclusive in-game items, like new recipes, shells and armor.

Join Cafe World’s Email Distribution List for a Chance to Win 100 Cafe Cash – Zynga is offering two pieces of incentive for Café World users to sign up for email updates of the game. The first is a simple, one-time reward of 20,000 coins for hitting the “Subscribe” button that constitutes the fourth step of the “Become a real chef!” bar running across the top of the gameplay screen. While the 20,000 coins may be enough to get you to subscribe to game emails, Zynga is opening that their ongoing Café Cash giveaways will keep you on the distribution list. Once every week, one lucky subscriber will receive a staggering 100 Café Cash prize, simply for agreeing to receive email updates. If you thought that unlocking access to the Giant Dino Egg recipe would be the only reward for signing up to receive email updates for Zynga’s Cafe World, think again. The developer has announced further details surrounding the rewards awaiting those who sign onto the game’s email distribution list – namely, the creation of a Dish of the Month Club.

Sign Up For Tiki Resort Emails, Receive Shells – After rewarding users who became a fan of Tiki Resort with a gift of 3000 shells (the game’s currency), the game’s developer, Playdom, is at it again, this time offering a reward to users who agree to receive email updates about the game. The reward here is the same for those who became a fan – by placing your email (or a proxy) on the game’s email distribution list, you’ll receive 3000 free shells with which to buy new Charms, decorations, pets and more for your humble (or extravagant) island paradise.

Sign Up for Mafia Wars Email List, Receive Free In-Game Armor – With traditional Facebook notifications now a thing of the past, Zynga is hoping to keep Mafia Wars players connected to the game via email updates, and as an added incentive for users to sign up for said updates, the company is offering an exclusive in-game item to all who participate. The item comes in the form of an armored vest, with some fairly impressive stats (when compared to other defensive items): 23 Attack and 47 Defense.

Several social games have also been busy flaunting their Facebook fan page as a way to stay up-to-date. Like signing up to receive email alerts, players can earn special bonuses and exclusive items by becoming a fan (and will get the latest updates in their Facebook news feed via the game’s fan page).

Playfish Offers Free Coins to Pet Society Fans – Playfish is offering incentive to users not only to become a fan of their popular pet simulator Pet Society, but also a reason to play the game every day. Users that login should receive a 1000 coin bag just for being a fan of the game. According to the pop-up that appears, you can receive an additional 1000 coins for signing up for email updates for the game as well, although both tasks are entirely voluntary.

Wild Ones Offers Laser Cannon to Facebook Fans – Wild Ones is the latest in a long string of Facebook games that has rewarded users for becoming a fan by offering them a free item in exchange. The item here is the Laser Cannon, a weapon of mass destruction that, according to Games.com, causes 400 damage, and as long as it’s properly aimed, can’t miss… If, however, one Laser Cannon simply isn’t enough for you, subscribe for email updates for the game, and you’ll get a second!

Other new notification methods include in-game features, such as enhanced comment systems and gift boxes. Games like PetVille are evening offering new bonuses to help ease the transition.

PetVille Neighborhood Bonus, Comments Box: Post-Facebook-Notification Notifications – Welcome to the Neighborhood! Zynga has made PetVille’s neighbor “visit” feature a bit more official, including an enhanced cleaning system and a new bonus meter where players can track their “Neighborhood Bonus”. You can earn daily bonus coins for visiting friends in the game, grooming them and cleaning up their houses.You can access the Neighborhood box by clicking the green bunny-shaped icon on the bottom of your PetVille screen. The Neighborhood Bonus box contains your pet’s Happy -O- Meter, which increases when you visit and care for your friends’ pets in the game.

PetVille players also have a new place (the Comment Box) to track which friends visited their pet’s pad, who sent gifts, and who left comments. Click on the pencil/notepad icon to access your Comments Box. Similar to the Neighborhood Bonus, you can earn daily bonus coins when your friends leave comments in your pet’s Comment Box.