Takeoff Monkey’s expressive application, Phrases, just surpassed FarmVille as the most popular application on Facebook, culminating an eight-month slide for the Zynga virtual world game.
This may seem a tad bit odd given that Phrases has blocked access to U.S. users, but the rankings change concerns monthly users. Zynga’s FarmVille still ranks as the most popular in daily active users, exceeding 16 million.
Zynga’s FarmVille had a 15-month run as the most popular game on Facebook, peaking in February with more than 80 million active users a month. That has dropped to just below 54 million.
Apparently, the game has suffered from recent changes limiting developers’ ability to acquire more users through viral methods. Add to that the fact that growth in the U.S. games market is leveling off, possibly for good. If Zynga wants to increase its audience, the company has to make more of a push internationally and in mobile devices.
The company also has to figure out how to make follow-ups to FarmVille that can perform at least as well. FrontierVille got off to a strong start and has fizzled a bit, although it holds fourth place in the monthly user rankings. CityVille, which will aim for a more global user base, could bring Zynga back into the top spot if players decide they like the increased complexity that the game promises, as compared to FarmVille.
Until recently, FarmVille was considered the most popular game ever on Facebook. Social games are no different from other types of video games in that players don’t stay loyal to the same game forever, and eventually something else becomes the next big thing.
Readers, do you think Zynga will rebound from this latest dip in its popularity when CityVille launches? Or will Phrases continue to hold on to the top spot in the application rankings?