Home Zynga Is Not First On Facebook’s Top Games Of 2011

Zynga Is Not First On Facebook’s Top Games Of 2011

Yesterday Facebook released its list of top games for 2011. Only four of those games were Zynga-owned. The number one and number two slots were filled by Disney Playdom’s Garden of Time, a game about locating hidden objects through time travel and EA’s The Sims Social, which is most similar the “real-world” virtual game Second Life. Zynga’s CityVille, a game all about building “the city of your dreams,” came in third. In the top casino games of 2011 category, Zynga took first place with Zynga Poker. Right now, 95% of Zynga’s gaming strategy relies on Facebook, and just last week Zynga went public. What does this mean for Zynga?

Facebook based this list of games on which games had the most users and the highest recommendations. Interestingly, today Gardens of Time ranks number 40 on AppData’s MAU (monthly average users) app leaderboard with 8.5 million users, while CityVille ranks number two with 48.8 million users.

On Facebook, Fantasy Beats Reality

In Gardens of Time, the top Facebook game of 2011, users travel through history, traversing distant lands in order to find objects hidden in time. In terms of popularity and the fantasy aspect, this game feels very much like the Harry Potter of social media pop culture.

Sims Social, on the other hand, is about building your personal life, and Zynga’s CityVille focuses on building virtual cities.

Zynga’s games are focused on games that one can play with their friends and less about escapism and fantasy. Its game references (Scrabble) and movie references (Indiana Jones) are easily identifiable by mainstream users. For example, Zynga’s Indiana Jones Adventure World is the number five game on Facebook, followed by Words With Friends. Another example of a real world “life lessons”-type game is Zynga’s PrivacyVille, which was released in early July 2011. It is aimed at teaching users how to securely play online.

Will a gaming company founded on the real world task of connecting people through games rather than engaging in individuals’ fantasy-scapes ever become number one on Facebook?

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