FarmVille takes a beating in April, losing 4.4 million players
Despite the ever-growing buzz around the farm-themed Facebook game FarmVille, the game hit a slump last month, dropping from 82 million players in March to 78 million at the end of April.
Inside Social Games, which reported the numbers, attributes this loss to the removal of third-party notifications on Facebook, which mean players stopped receiving a constant flow on what's happening in game. This reasoning seems pretty solid ( Zynga CEO Mark Pincus agrees, telling Business Week that it's only affecting their business in 'the short term'), especially considering that 14 games in the top 25 took a hit last month. That list of games includes Cafe World, Mafia Wars (both from FarmVille creator Zynga), Happy Aquarium from Crowdstar (which was already in decline the previous month), along with Pet Society and Restaurant City from Playfish.
We expect the drop may continue over the next month or so, especially with Facebook's plans to eliminate gift requests from the network, which means that all of the gift giving and receiving will be confined within the game.