When Mark Zuckerberg spoke about enabling independent entrepreneurs, make no mistake, this was about more influence, not less. Take gaming for example: Late last year Facebook acquired Walletin, a start-up still in stealth mode at the time. Despite being largely overlooked, this was a high-profile talent acquisition. Walletin's Cory Ondrejka was Second Life's co-founding CTO and a DoD/NSA veteran, while Bruce Rogers earned his stripes at Atari and as CTO of Cryptic Studios.

It's pretty obvious that they wouldn't have joined to staff a 24-hour Zynga hotline, but what exactly could be brewing over at Facebook HQ?

Bruno Haid is a European-born entrepreneur currently being busy building a new venture, work|i|o, in New York. Early in, he's sticking his nose in far too many things.
Hardcore PC gamers know that one of the first, rather dull-looking steps for a common gaming experience across a plethora of hardware and configurations are benchmarks. And this is exactly what Cory and Bruce presented in February of this year. Currently HTML5 or even native 3D cross-browser games are relatively useless. But if you want to create a framework for a completely new gaming experience right in the browser, then starting off with their JSGameBench and exploring the current limitations looks like a good start. Maybe the relatively unknown toolkit is a first glimpse on the next level of Facebook's long term strategy in an industry currently pegged at 60B.

The way game development usually works today is that you license an engine (e.g. CryEngine) and a platform (e.g. Playstation). Facebook most likely wants to commoditize these basic building blocks by creating an entire open-source ecosystem, but with Facebook as a central social (and most likely monetization) layer baked right in.

Every vital step you make in any browser game would become an artifact in your social graph, adding to just the exponential growth Zuckerberg was talking about.
Every vital step you make in any browser game would become an artifact in your social graph, adding to just the exponential growth Zuckerberg was talking about. If Facebook owns the social core itself, plus maybe even payment and credits, they could dominate gaming in all areas, not just in the simple casual games that took them by surprise in the early days.

Maybe that's also the reason Disney got into this early by buying Rocketpack : Being able to offer a turnkey solution they control.

The good news? If you grew up in the eighties and nineties, expect to soon be able to replay all of your 8- and 18-bit past in a browser near you, all the jump-and-runs, vertical scrollers and strategy games. Like, for example, CivWorld.

While back then even a basic walk-through meant a long and often futile march to the store, in the coming years all it will take to reach your friends and upgrade payments is a simple click.