One of the last few big social gaming companies yet to make a serious debut on mobile, EA’s Playfish is bringing Pet Society and Restaurant City to iOS later this summer. Both are standalone games rather than companions to their Facebook parents, yet one comes with a much deeper Facebook integration than the other one. We’re seeing lots of social gaming companies experiment on this front when it comes to mobile platforms; Crowdstar, for example, chose OpenFeint to provide social features for its recent title Top Girl.
Pet Society: Vacation’s Facebook Integration
In Pet Society: Vacation players decorate and care for both their pet and the pet’s boathouse on a tropical island. The player can also visit themed stores to buy food and decorative items, and visit friends’ boathouses to care for their pets. A diving mini-game lets player guide their pet through an underwater maze in search of more currency and decoration items.
The only content that is transferrable between the Facebook and iOS versions are the physical characteristics of their pet. Money is not transferable as the Facebook game uses Facebook Credits while Vacation uses Apple’s in-app payments system. There are, however, rewards for players who use both version of the game. iOS players can unlock content for the Facebook version and Facebook players get rewards when they first download the iOS version. More advanced players coming from the Facebook edition get a currency bonus and a trophy item in Vacation. As they progress through the iOS game, they’ll also unlock themed items in the Facebook version.
Though Pet Society is one of the oldest pet games in the genre on Facebook, Pet Society: Vacation is entering a very competitive genre on iOS with multiple zoo games, along with Pocket Gems’ Tap Pet Hotel.
As for the Facebook product, it’s never recovered the monthly active user or daily active user numbers it enjoyed at its peak in winter of 2009, but it has had a bit of an uptick in the last 30 days.
Restaurant City: Gourmet Edition’s Lack of Facebook Integration
Restaurant City will come to iOS in a faithful port of the Facebook game subtitled “Gourmet Edition.” Though the game uses Facebook Connect to find friends, it does not have integration with its Facebook parent.
In Gourmet Edition, players follow the same gameplay pattern established in the original — learning recipes, cooking meals, serving customers. Progression is rated by “themes” that the player unlocks as they become more skilled in recipes and satisfy more customers. The themes are oriented by country (e.g. French, Japanese, etc.) and contain both recipes and decoration items for the restaurant venue. Players can visit each others’ restaurants for light socialization and the game is monetized both through a premium currency and a standard currency to spend on decoration items.
Again, while Restaurant City was an original restaurant sim for Facebook, it faces stiff competition on iOS from games like TeamLava’s Bakery Story and Restaurant Story.
Meanwhile on Facebook, Restaurant City has slowed down in last 12 months, down more than 50% in both daily active users and monthly active users since August 2010 to today’s figures of 5.1 million MAU and 1.2 million DAU. As a percentage of MAU, DAU has remained between 20% and 26%.