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 FarmVille  Sheds Another 9 Million Users In Latest Facebook Rankings
FarmVille Sheds Another 9 Million Users In Latest Facebook Rankings
June 10, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

June 10, 2010 | By Eric Caoili
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Every other week, we examine the most popular Facebook games (according to monthly active users), looking at the top titles and developers on the social network to see who's attracting or losing players.

Almost all of the top 20 games on Facebook continued to lose users in the past two weeks, with Zynga's FarmVille taking the biggest hit: now down to 66.6 million monthly active users (surely an unlucky number) from its already deflated count of 75.5 million in our last count.

Since its peak of 85 million users in March, before Facebook enacted changes to its application notification system to curb the "spam" many apps depend on for the viral growth, the farming simulation game has shed more than 18 million users.

Zynga's Texas HoldEm Poker, currently the second most popular game on the social network with 28.3 million players, fared much better as it climbed up a spot and actually brought in some 200,000 new users since late May, but the same can't be said for the studio's other releases.

The developer's Treasure Isle (#4), Cafe World (#5), Mafia Wars (#6), PetVille (#8), FishVille (#10), and YoVille (#16) each gave up a significant number of gamers, some as little as 300,000 but most closer to Treasure Isle's loss of 3.7 million.

Electronic Arts/Playfish's social titles -- Pet Society (#9), Restaurant City (#13) and Hotel City (#15) -- suffered similar troubles, losing 1.5 million users, 1.9 million users, and 3 million users in the past two weeks respectively.

The only winner here in recent weeks is Mindjolt Games, a portal for more than a thousand casual online titles, which managed to jump from #14 to #7 with 5.5 new monthly active users for a total of 18.4 million -- but only after losing 13.1 million players in April.



All charts and data are courtesy of Facebook application metrics and trends site AppData.


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gus one
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Are we going to be subjected to a weekly countdown of Farmville numbers? If Facebook had any brains (and balls) they would take 50% of all revenues generated by these so-called (I mean social) games.

Tomiko Gun
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I bet Zynga didn't give a shyt. Those are players that will never ever purchase any virtual item with real dough anyway.

Jamie Mann
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I think FarmVille is going to be a prime example of viral marketing and meme management [*], in a few years time. It also suggests that the gameplay in Farmville isn't actually that appealing unless shared with friends and family: without the constant "peer pressure" reminders, people are finding other things to do.



@Tomiko: I'm willing to bet at least some of those 9 million users would have spent some money - at the very least, they've helped to maintain the social "web" for Zynga. It's also worth bearing in mind the context: this is a loss of 9m users in just one month, or around 15% of the active userbase - and it comes on top of the 10m users they've lost in the two months prior. In total, that's around 25% of their userbase gone, in just three months, and with the double-hit to their business model (limited advertising combined with a reduced userbase impacts their ability to attract new players - and there's also the psychological impact of the losses), this downward spiral is likely to continue.



In any case, I think this is something that's definitely worth tracking. Will FarmVille and it's kin die off altogether? Unlikely. Are the player numbers sharply inflated due to (ab)use of an unrestricted marketing system? Probably. Will the company be able to survive? Maybe. Will there be another viral/bubble in the near future? Almost certainly.



[*] Or possibly as a fine example of a pyramid scheme/bubble economy: they only work while there's still room for expansion...

Tomiko Gun
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@Jamie

Nope, those people that they lost were just lurkers. They used farmville out of curiosity because of the annoying spams by their friends. They weren't actively using it in the first place. It's the same with software piracy, the number of pirates doesn't directly correlate to lost revenue.

Jake Romigh
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@Tomiko:



The people who were lost still could have brought new people into the Farmville game, and those people could get even more people, and so on. Even if one connection in this web does not spend money in the game, it doesn't mean the connections he/she adds will not. Therefore, a loss of these players still could equal lost money.

Tawna Evans
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Application notifications on Facebook were a form of feedback for the games. Eliminating the notifications is basically the Facebook equivalent of removing sound effects in console games. Are they still playable without them? Yes, but the removal of the feedback can greatly alter the experience of the games.

Mark Morrison
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here's what i think is really going on. the top private publishers cannot claim inflated user #s any longer, because there are 3rd party metric systems that can expose that false data. also, the analytics/metrics are being standardized, improved, and shared in order to capture actual active users. again, this means publishers can't fake #s that are not there. there is much more competition in terms of interesting apps/games now. we're seeing a first big evolution in the casual gamers patterns/habits.



@ tawna, no offense, but your analogy seems extreme. to take away sound from a console game might be akin to removing the notification feature in FV altogether, which has not happened. what happened is that FB doesnít update all friends of the user who donít have the app or have not opted in for those email/push notifications.

Mark Morrison
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anyone played frontierville yet? is there any evolved mechanics/features from the previous time/task based mafia wars/FV styles?

Franklin Brown
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I wonder if Brian Reynolds is going to be able to cash in before this fad fizzles and dies.



Frontierville is his "baby" at Zynga. It's just another version of Farmville. Pathetic.


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