FarmVille: Biggest Online Game Ever

If you're on Facebook and have yet to discover FarmVille, a real-time strategy-lite game that lets you plant and raise crops, animals, trees and build the farm of your dreams, you might soon be in the minority among your social networking friends.

The San Francisco-based Zynga says FarmVille is the largest and fastest growing social game of all time, boasting 11 million users nine weeks after its launch. To put that into perspective, that's roughly the same number of subscribers for Blizzard's insanely popular World of Warcraft game.

"FarmVille's growth is nothing short of spectacular and a clear indicator that we have a winning formula for giving players around the world a virtual farming experience that they truly enjoy," Mark Skaggs, VP and GM of Zynga's Social RTS studio, says. "By combining the best elements of social gaming, with people's instinct to nurture, we've created an incredibly fun, wholesome and rewarding experience."

To play FarmVille, custom create a character, then start out with a small farm, planting crops, trees and raising animals, then harvesting them to earn coins and experience points, which, in turn, are used to upgrade the farm. The game encourages players to invite their friends to be neighbors -- and has a robust gifting option built in, so every time you log in -- you can send an animal or tree to 20 friends. Essentially, the more friends that play the game with you, the better the experience.

FarmVille is free to play, though there's an option to buy extra virtual goods, in this case, coins that can be used to buy new items for your farm.

Zynga has also found success applying a similar formula to a handful of games, such as Mafia Wars, Pirates, Vampire Wars, etc, which have also become big hits in their own right. To get an idea of their success -- the company's entire suite of games (which also includes Texas Hold 'Em Poker) pulls in 27 million daily users and 93 million monthly users. Sounds like some pretty intense usage from some so-called 'casual' gamers.

Play Farmville on Facebook Now

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