Posts Tagged ‘Farmville’

Facebook Adds App Subscription Payment Model

June 19th, 2012 06:44 admin View Comments

After its disappointing IPO last month cast doubts on the company’s ability to monetize its vast user base, Facebook today announced a subsciption pricing model – potentially adding a recurring source of revenue for itself – and for developers of Facebook apps.

The new service, announced on Facebook’s Developer Blog this afternoon, will launch in July.

Subscriptions will bring Facebook app producers a recurring revenue stream that will ideally normalize an app’s overall revenue stream, instead of depending on the spiky ups and downs of one-time payments for virtual items. The new system will be launched on both the Web and mobile versions of Facebook.

Altimeter Group analyst Chris Silva sees subscription-based pricing as a real value for app developers to offer to users. “A subscription that buys me access to specialized content rather than a virtual item with maybe a more fungible value is a more successful way for developers to bring in revenue,” Silva said today. Specialized content is more of a value-add to users, he believes.

Subscriptions have already been tested by popular game producer Zynga for its FarmVille and Pioneer Trail games. Kixeye, a smaller game developer, will sell exclusive items in its Backyard Monsters game for a $9.95 monthly fee – with Facebook picking up 30% of every subscription.

Local Currency Pricing

At the same time, Facebook is also moving away from its Credits payment system to pricing that supports local currencies.

Prashant Fuloria “By supporting pricing in local currency, we hope to simplify the purchase experience, give you more flexibility, and make it easier to reach a global audience of Facebook users who want a way to pay for your apps and games in their local currency. With local pricing, you will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-US users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis,” Facebook Product Management Director Prashant Fuloria told developers in today’s blog.

That last point contains the real gem in the move: setting market-to-market pricing will let app developers maximize their revenue by lowering prices in markets where their items might be too expensive, or charge more if the market can bear it.

The new subscription program will support local currencies, and apps that use the Credits system will be flipped over to local currencies automatically.

“We hope new features like subscriptions and local currency pricing help you monetize more effectively and reach more users globally,” Fuloria added.

Generating alternate and optimized revenue streams is pretty much Job #1 for Facebook after the lukewarm reception investors gave its IPO this month. And for Fuloria, it’s personal – this is why he was hired away from Google in 2009.

The Mobile Conundrum

On the mobile version of Facebook, there are no ads and Facebook is seeing phenomenal growth. A recent report revealed that nearly a third of Facebook’s users in India access Facebook exclusively through mobile devices. The local currency and subscription changes will make it much easier for developers obtain revenue from mobile customers in developing countries.

That’s critical for Facebook’s future: Facebook’s mobile platform “must be front and center with the massive growth in mobile users in the US – and more so, abroad,” wrote Silva earlier this year. “Facebook should expect the device, be it feature phone, smartphone or tablet, to be the central interaction point for users. It’s going to have to adjust its monetization model to match if it wants happy investors because mobile matters.”

Today’s announcement is a fulfillment of Silva’s prediction: an adjustment of Facebook’s monetization model to start getting stronger and more predictable revenue streams from mobile users, and those in developing countries. And it won’t hurt the revenue channels from the rest of Facebook’s users, either.

Source: Facebook Adds App Subscription Payment Model

The (Not So Sad) Decline of FarmVille & Zynga’s Other Villes

June 14th, 2012 06:32 admin View Comments

Earlier this week we examined why Zynga is shedding users, causing its stock price to almost halve from its December IPO level. Zynga rose to prominence on the back of a farming simulation social game called FarmVille. Its success spawned a series of other ‘Ville’ games, such as CityVille, CastleVille, FishVille and PetVille. The theme of these games is to manage virtual stuff, with the help of virtual currency that you buy within Facebook (using real currency). The Ville series became tremendously popular, despite being shallow and irritating to many Facebook users – whose news feeds became clogged with virtual sheep, cartoon fish, and the like. Mercifully, for most of us, the Ville dynasty appears to be dying out. In this post we explore why.

A reminder, here is what has happened to Zynga’s top three Ville games over the past six months, measured in Daily Active Users (DAU):

The DAU of all three games on Facebook, which is where most of Zynga’s users come from, has dropped dramatically in the six months since Zynga’s IPO last December. The three games are hovering at the 4.1-4.6 million DAU mark. To put that into perspective: in December 2010, when CityVille overtook FarmVille as the most popular Facebook game, CityVille had 61.7 million monthly active users according to AppData (the same source of data for the above chart). So we’re talking a deep dive in popularity for the Ville franchise.

Users Tired of Throwing Sheep

So what happened? The simple answer is probably that Facebook users have become tired of the Ville franchise. From my own personal experience, while I have never used a Ville game at least a few members of my family have. I’m confident this is a common theme for readers of this site! My dear little sister was a big FishVille fan for a while last year, even creating a fake Facebook user named “Fred MacManus.” Fred wasn’t my long lost cousin, he turned out to be an animated fish from the game FishVille. OK, I have to point out that my sister is very intelligent and she played FishVille because it entertained her (and I too enjoyed the Fred character showing up in my Facebook news feed). But she tired of those games sometime last year and no longer plays them. Fred’s Facebook profile eventually got deleted.

I can’t help but think that’s fairly representative of what’s happened with other Ville users. They just got sick of the silliness.

Software Crashes & FarmVille Inflation

There have been other reasons for the Ville decline, which former or current Zynga users noted in the comments of our earlier post.

Stephanie Kelley cited regular game crashes and poor customer service. She is a regular game player on Facebook, as well as her smartphone and tablet. But Kelley “went on a Zynga strike” about 3 months ago because she had spent money on games that, according to her experience, “crash frequently, are poorly written and rely on spamming anyone and everyone in order to advance.”

Scott Colin noted Zynga’s tactic of aggressively cross-promoting new games in existing ones. Zynga users may be getting tired of that tactic. “As soon as the pop up shows up in the game I am playing for one of their cross promotions,” wrote Colin, “I simply block it right off.”

Another commenter speculated that the decline in users is because Zynga raised its prices for Ville features and “special animals.”

Whatever the reason, it seems that our collective obsession with virtual animals and virtual land on Facebook is declining, which is hitting Zynga where it hurts: its stock price. And that’s real currency, not virtual.

Source: The (Not So Sad) Decline of FarmVille & Zynga’s Other Villes

What Zynga Users Played Over The Holidays

January 3rd, 2012 01:00 admin View Comments

WordsWithFriends-150.jpgNew data from InsideSocialGames reveals more about the top most-played Facebook games. When people had downtime this holiday season, they were more likely to play Words With Friends and Farmville.

The number of Words With Friends players went up 9% to 15,100,000 monthly average users. A total of 1.3 million users joined during the holiday week. Farmville, the second most popular holiday game, went up 2% to 33,900,000 monthly average users. It gained 800,000 users over the holiday.

Other Zynga games with a significant increase in players over the holiday week included CityVille at number 7; it gained 300,000 users, or 0.61%. Texas HoldEm Poker gained 200,000 users, up 0.7%.

Last year at this time, Zynga classic CityVille was the number two game with 49,600,000 monthly average users. CastleVille and FarmVille were at number four and five with 37,100,000 and 33,900,000 MAU respectively. Words With Friends was at number 15.

Words With Friends is one of Zynga’s fastest growing games. In its first mobile app rankings for Android, Nielsen listed Words With Friends as one of the top apps. Toward the end of December 2011, Words With Friends was ranked as the number two game for Android.

Zynga went public at the end of 2011, pricing its shares at $8.50-$10. Its stock price closed out at $9.45 today.

Source: What Zynga Users Played Over The Holidays

Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Unauthorized Sharing Of User Data With Advertisers

May 13th, 2011 05:35 admin View Comments

A judge yesterday threw out most of the claims made in a lawsuit against Facebook, in which two California individuals, David Gould and Mike Robertson, accused the social networking giant of sharing their names and other private information with some advertisers in direct violation of its own privacy policy.

That said, the judge also ruled the lawsuit will not be dismissed in its entirety either, as Facebook had pleaded.

In October last year, The Wall Street Journal ‘uncovered’ that some of the most popular apps on the platform, including Zynga’s Farmville and Texas HoldEm Poker, had been sharing certain information, including real names, age, hometown, gender or other details with advertising and Internet tracking companies.

Facebook admitted that this happened, but downplayed the risks involved.

Gould and Robertson, however, lodged a complaint alleging that the Facebook security flaw violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Stored Communications Act, and California’s Computer Crime Law and Consumers Legal Remedies act.

U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, California, yesterday unequivocally rejected Facebook’s argument that Gould and Robertson’s lawsuit should be dismissed because the users didn’t show an injury sufficient to bring the case, which means the company will have to actually face the lawsuit. You can find the relevant documents below.

However, Ware also threw out most of the two men’s claims (8 out of 9) against the company, giving them a chance to refile only five of those dismissed.

We’ll see what happens next – we’ll keep you updated.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company was “pleased with the court’s ruling”.

2011-05-12 – FB Privacy Lit – Order on MTD

Source: Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Unauthorized Sharing Of User Data With Advertisers

‘Farmville’ With Live Animals. No, Really

May 5th, 2011 05:04 admin View Comments

“The online farmers will not be able to choose to grow cannabis or bananas, but undoubtedly there will be some strange decisions, some decisions I would not have made.”

– Richard Morris, farmer

Because it’s hard hitting journalism week here at TC (and pretty much every week in my world) I’m just going to throw this one out there: Some actual farmers in the UK have decided to turn their farm into a real life FarmVille. As of yesterday people who participate in the MyFarm project can buy virtual access to Wimple Estate, National Trust farm in Cambridgeshire, England.

After paying 30 £ (or $48 dollars) up to 10,000 participants will vote on day to day farm minutae like what kinds of real wheat to buy and what types of real cows to raise, with their decisions being informed by blogs and videos about farm life provided by MyFarm. One “big” vote will be made monthly and the decisions with the most votes will actually get implemented on the farm.

Despite signal on the farm being “very patchy,” MyFarm is working on a smartphone app to keep Wimple Estate manager Richard Morris abreast of online developments.  Morris has been judged by backseat farmers before,“Farming is always a compromise — there is never a right or a wrong answer. If I choose one thing, my neighbour will be leaning over the fence shaking his head”.

While FarmVille was part of the inspiration behind the year long project, the real goal is to forge a greater connection between people and the point of origin of what they eat, “This is all about reconnecting people to where their food comes from. Our TNS poll showed that only 8 percent of mothers feel confident talking to their children about where their food comes from. That’s really poignant,” said National Trust Director Fiona Reynolds.

FarmVille is Facebook’s second most popular game at around 47 million monthly users. Farming has almost seven billion users, worldwide.

Source: ‘Farmville’ With Live Animals. No, Really

Zynga’s FarmVille Now Allows You To Sow Seeds At A Farm In The English Countryside

March 11th, 2011 03:59 admin View Comments

With the success of Zynga’s newest game CityVille, the gaming giant’s first game, FarmVille, has taken a backseat in terms of buzz. But despite the competition from its sister games, FarmVille is still posting impressive usage numbers on Facebook; with 14 million daily active users and 44 million monthly active users (this data doesn’t include usage on Zynga’s mobile apps). FarmVille is still the second most popular game on Facebook, behind CityVille of course. And today, Zynga is launching its biggest product enhancement to FarmVille since the game’s launch a few years ago—a second farm experience in the English Countryside.

So now users will be able to create a second farm (players previously could only create one farm), in a new venue and geographic area—the English Countryside. Zynga has worked to make the new area and farming experience unique and separate from the regular FarmVille experience.

When you choose to start a farm in the English Countryside, you’ll be greeting by a Duke with an airship who will take you to the new region for your farm, where you can get started on building your farm. The game itself is similar to the sowing experience on FarmVille but with a number of new features. The English Countryside includes a exclusive crops and buildings, a new visual layout, new characters and more.

One of the new features that Zynga’s GM of FarmVille Todd Arnold highlighted is the ability to breed animals. For example, users can choose to breed sheep, pick the sheep they want to breed, create babies and earn points for breeding. While you could create baby animals in FarmVille, this new breeding feature is a more interactive and in-depth feature.

The new farm will also how you a map of how you are progressing through the game compared to your friends. And you can easily travel back from the English Countryside to your home farm on FarmVille and work on both farms at the same time.

Arnold says that Zynga evaluated a number of different climates and locales for the second farm experience, including a tropical island farm, but eventually decided to go with the English Countryside. Zynga conducted a number of surveys within its games, and players overwhelmingly responded positively to the UK-based farming experience.

For now, English Countryside farms can only be developed on Facebook but depending on the traction the new experience receives from players, this could be expanded to FarmVille’s mobile apps. And Arnold says that the hope is that English Countryside will resonate with FarmVille users, and the gaming company will add additional farming experiences.

As we indicated above, although FarmVille has taken a backseat to CityVille, the game is still seeing viral use. FarmVille has received 30+ million likes on Facebook (FarmVille English Countryside’s Facebook page has 1.5+ million likes even before launching), and there are now more tractors in FarmVille than there are in the world.

Judging by the success of pretty much any social game that Zynga develops, I’m going to bet that FarmVille English Countryside will be a hit.

Source: Zynga’s FarmVille Now Allows You To Sow Seeds At A Farm In The English Countryside

Isle Of Tune Lets You Compose Music By Um, City Planning

December 18th, 2010 12:03 admin View Comments

Need something to do while waiting for your copy of Farmville for Dummies to arrive? Isle of Tune is the latest in viral web distraction, built on the side by London-based interactive director Jim Hall.

Isle of Tune lets you create whole songs by building a little town using objects like streetlamps, houses and trees to make sounds. There is even a collection of pre-built loops for those of us less musically inclined.

Hall also offers a way to customize individual sounds, share your island on Facebook and Twitter as well as vote other people’s islands up or down. iPhone and iPad versions are in the works.

While a pretty amazing digitally landscaped version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” currently rounds out the Isle of Tune top 50, I dare you to show me something more hipster than MGMT’s “Kids,” built entirely with animated cars, flowerpots and bumps in the road.

Source: Isle Of Tune Lets You Compose Music By Um, City Planning

Zynga’s FarmVille Heads To The Land Of The Rising Sun

November 30th, 2010 11:00 admin View Comments

It’s already taken over the English-speaking world, and it’s ready for more. Zynga’s juggernaut FarmVille will soon be launching in Japan, marking the first time the game has been translated into another language. A localized, mobile version of the game, which will be called FarmVillage, is slated to launch in Japan in “early December”.

FarmVillage is going to be available on Mixi, which is the top Japanese social network.  But it will only be available for mobile ‘feature-phones’, at least for now, which could impact adoption. The release is the first from Zynga Japan, the social gaming company’s joint venture with Softbank that was announced over the summer (in addition to a Softbank investment of $150 million).

This is the latest round of Zynga’s international expansion. The company launched Texas Poker in traditional Chinese over the summer, and will soon be launching CityVille simultaneously in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish (that will also mark the first time Zynga has had an international launch for a game’s initial release).

Source: Zynga’s FarmVille Heads To The Land Of The Rising Sun

FarmVille Now Worth More Than EA

October 28th, 2010 10:36 admin View Comments

tekgoblin writes “Zynga, the creators of the popular hit FaceBook game FarmVille should be happy today as the company’s worth has passed that of EA (Electronic Arts).”

Source: FarmVille Now Worth More Than EA

Zynga Goes Hiring Via Its New German Base

October 22nd, 2010 10:33 admin View Comments

In between trying to patent virtual currency, launching FarmVille on the iPad, buying a games studio and hiring a mobile head, Zynga also appears to be building out its presence in Europe.

We’ve discovered new job postings for Germany which indicates it’s pretty serious about the German asset it recently acquired in the form of Dextrose AG in Frankfurt.

Read the rest of this entry »

Source: Zynga Goes Hiring Via Its New German Base