Facebook as a social media platform was launched in 2004 and in its birth, didn’t feature any games. There was a whole five years of game-less platform before games like Happy Farm and Barn Buddy began creeping onto the social networking giant. Shortly afterwards came Farm Town and, you can see where I’m going with this, the monolith of social gaming ‘Zynga’ finally planted their feet and released Farmville. These are going to be top grossing facebook games.
Image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan on Flickr
Top Grossing Facebook Games
Zynga had been producing online games long before they steam rolled onto the social media platform, and so with them they brought a band of loyal followers. They had even had previous incarnations of Farmville, but it wasn’t until Facebook that they really began to take off. They neglected to throw money, time and effort into improving the graphical quality of their game to compete with their rivals, instead trying to make it an innovative and intuitive experience aiming to tap into the non-gaming market. The planting and harvesting of virtual crops went international, with the unique feature of roping online friends (and strangers) in to help with your project. Posting your achievements onto your wall meant that Farmville spread like wildfire and soon became the most popular game on Facebook, surpassing 80,000,000 users (higher than the population of France, the United Kingdom or Italy.)
It seems that the lifespan of a popular Facebook game has been vastly shortened in recent years. Farmville dominated the scene for a long while, but it appears that the patience and excitement threshold for social media users has dropped hugely. One of the more recent games that exploded onto the scene was SongPop, a game in which you hear a few seconds of a popular song and try to guess it before your opponent. Guessing consecutive correct answers earns you points, as does mastering a particular genre. SongPop’s success is down to its multi-platform abilities; being able to play from your smart phone against those on computers and vice versa. Paltry in comparison with Farmville, SongPop’s 4 million active monthly users still generate a good amount of revenue for creators FreshPlanet through the now familiar in-game purchasable content. Those looking for extra genres, more guesses or increased features can look to purchase them with real money in-game.
3.) Mafia Wars
The final game on the list is unsurprisingly a product of Zynga, but from an altogether different genre. It’s success was surprise for some as the interests of non-gamers had previously been piqued by the simple, straightforward and all age friendly games like Word and Bejewelled. Mafia Wars puts the user in the shoes of a mobster, fighting against and killing other players to gain strength and rewards. Yet another ‘freemium’ game offering itself as free, but then enticing its users with additional features for a price, Mafia Wars can boast a healthy 8 million MAU (monthly active users) with over 50 million created accounts. Zynga’s underhand tactics in keeping players engaged with their games is through the feeling of social responsibility. After active use of Mafia Wars or Farmville a player will have formed relationships and teams with other users, their online friends would suffer a blow if one of their team stopped playing. Through clever spider-webbing of users, Zynga have made it a hard decision to quit one of their games.
The future for Facebook gaming is exponential, and seemingly infinite. With Facebook plug-ins being implemented into a lot of existing and successful online gaming websites, users can now play games through Facebook without ever having to log into the Facebook website itself. Couple this with smart phone games adding the same feature and gaming developers will be flocking to social media gaming like never before.
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