Unseating FarmVille: Have social games seen better days?


We reported earlier this week
that FarmVille has been ousted as the top Facebook application, with the Phrases application coming out on top as of this week. For those of us who work with these games day after day, we know that FarmVille falling to 54 million players from 84 million players isn't the end of the world. An article posted today in PC World claims that this is a sign of general social gaming woes:

It's like Zynga is scrambling to add more sources of air to a deflating bubble. The fact that a random quiz app could unseat Farmville from its top spot, even temporarily, shows that social games have seen better days.

[Source: PCWorld]

We think that this article was a bit sensational and overblowing the situation. Many articles on the web talk about social games as if there is only one game (FarmVille) or only one company (Zynga) who are playing a part in the massively popular gaming trend. What these articles fail to mention is that smaller developers are now showing huge successes, and that there are many more companies out there making social games. There are currently 10 social game developers with over 10 million monthly active users across their games. Another 12 with over 5 million MAU. And over 75 other lesser-known social game developers who have games with over 1 million players combined. This is no easy feat, and nothing to sneeze at.

Social games are diversifying. The days of Zynga not only ruling the roost but also being the only major player are dead. There are up-and-coming developers such as Digital Chocolate that are pumping out high quality games at an unbelievable pace. Massive brands such as Google (who purchased Slide), EA (who purchased Playfish), and Disney (who purchased Playdom) are coming in and putting existing IP and familiar faces into new and existing games.

Social games aren't dying, by any means. The loss in numbers of FarmVille is an indicator of the game's age and lifecycle, and the vast number of new games by new companies that are being released weekly. It's never looked better for social game players, nor social game developers. Using FarmVIlle as an indicator of social game health as a whole is a rookie mistake that many journalists are making, but at Games.com - The Blog, we know better because we are completely immersed in Facebook games.

What do you think? Is FarmVille's shrinking numbers a sign that people are getting bored of social games entirely, or just moving on to new games? Tell us in the comments!