At midnight, FarmVIlle for iPhone rolled out across the US, changing the lives of millions of farmers who can now tend their crops on the go. The game is free to download from the App Store, and can be played on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
So far, the game seems like a solid translation of the Facebook version, despite the fact that a handful of play features didn't make the jump to iPhone. The biggest new feature of the game is how you use tractors to plant, harvest and plow your virtual crops. Hold and press to automatically activate your tractor, harvester and seeder, and then swipe your finger (Zynga calls this "finger-painting") over the crops that need tending. FarmVille for iPhone also includes push notifications, and if you decide to activate them, a message will pop up when crops are ready to harvest. It might require a little extra battery life, but it'll hopefully help you avoid withering crops. There's also a special in-game market for Apple users, that include exclusive items such as a snow leopard, rainbow apple tree and a giftable white apple tree.
Zynga says it will roll out additional features for the iPhone 4 and iOS4 "in the near future," which includes better-looking graphics, "to showcase the retina display" as well as multi-tasking.
FarmVille for iPhone rolls out as people are activating their brand new iPhone 4 devices. The game has just reached it's one-year anniversary as well -- it's hard to believe this game has only been around for 12 months. In that time, FarmVille has:
Reached over 100 billion pageviews
FarmVille players have received 23 billion gifts
200 million gifts are sent in FarmVille every day
Players sent 1.7 billion Valentines in 10 days
34 million Horse Stables were installed in 15 days
1.2 billion Horse Stable parts were sent in 15 days
Maintained its position as the largest app on Facebook, with 72 million players
Of course, not everything has been rosy for the farming game, which has lost roughly 10 million players in the past few months and has been plagued with bugs and stability problems, which have set players on edge and put others on the defensive. The expansion of the game to iPhone as well as as a strategic partnership with Yahoo is clearly an attempt to expand its reach beyond Facebook, with hope of turning a few more casual gamers into obsessive farmers. Not that there's anything wrong with that.