According to a new report out by Inside Social Games, Zynga’s most recent offering, CityVille has attracted over 22 million monthly active users in just 11 days since it’s release. In comparison, Zynga’s prior offering, FrontierVille managed only 7.4 million users during the same time frame. Looking back the the ‘Ville that started it all, FarmVille only managed 11M users in 11 days, keeping in mind, this was back in the “Free-for-all” heyday, where Facebook had not yet enacted their strict(er) messaging policies.
So why CityVille? Why now? Why not FrontierVille? One factor is certainly Zynga’s powerful cross promotion network. In addition from promotion on the main Zynga site, remember, Zynga also has a wide network of other ‘Ville titles to push their messaging through. Canabalization? Perhaps, but obviously one that’s paying off for Zynga. Another catchy feature Zynga implemented this time around; CityVille face, Sam, becomes an automatic neighbor to all FarmVille players. When farmers visit her farm, voilà, a link directing them to CityVille. Smart.
Localization. As mentioned in a previous post, CityVille is Zynga’s first widespread localized game. By localizing and translating into Spanish, French, Italian, and German, Zynga was about to pick up between 100 and 200 million native speakers via Facebook. However, that’s not to say that Europeans are rushing into CityVille, as Inside Social Games points out, a large portion of usage is coming from the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, as well as eastern European countries who’s languages were not included in the localization. This falls perfectly inline with a previous statement I’ve made about early adopters, and no matter what the language, players will play. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that Zynga has instituted these languages, but at the same time, the question remains to be asked – for all the time, money, and effort that was put into a project of this scale; is it really worth it all at the end of the day?
If you thought the days of Zynga ‘Ville based requests flooding your sidebar or inbox are over, think again. Clearly, there’s a bit of nepotism happening between Zynga and Facebook, as Zynga seems to be able to “work the system” just a bit harder than everyone else without a Facebook backlash. LOLapps anyone? What Zynga’s up to this time around is more or less the same old tricks. For example, an opening quest involves asking (recruiting) your friends to send you some chocolate. This flies directly in the face of Facebook’s own policy which prevents developers from incentivizing the use of communication channels. Right. Additionally, Zynga also sends out a daily email blast to all players reminding them to login to collect a bonus. Just how Facebook will handle Zynga (or not) remains to be seen.
Given CityVille’s current DAU status, in comparison to their MAU status, this game looks extremely healthy, with numbers around the 66% mark. If CityVille stays the course, they’re on track to break 30 million MAU later this week, a figure that hasn’t been duplicated since Café World one year ago. Likewise, this trajectory would put CityVille on top of FarmVille’s 54 M MAU.