Heading into September 2011, we have a slew of new games joining the ranks of the top 25 Facebook games by traffic as tracked by AppData — and shockingly, not all of them are from Zynga.
We begin with the top 25 Facebook games by daily active users. This figure is useful in determining the actual number of people faithfully playing a game each day, as opposed to those who log into a game once and then never return after their first experience. Keep in mind that DAU is vulnerable to rapid fluctuations due to external factors like ad spend, game outages, or cross-promotions with other games and media.
Right away, we’re introduced to the big name newcomers on the platform launched in the last 30 days: EA Playfish’s The Sims Social, Zynga’s Pioneer TrailFrontierVille expansion, Zynga’s Words With Friends, and Ubisoft’s The Smurfs & Co. Each of these games got head starts on traffic that pushed them toward the top of our rankings in different ways.
The Sims Social enjoys brand recognition from millions of PC fans that have been playing Sims games for over a decade, and also had an extensive pre-launch marketing campaign driven through its Facebook page. Zynga’s Pioneer Trail and Words With Friends also had recognition, but in both cases, the games pulled from an existing user base with FrontierVille players being directed to migrate to the new app and Words With Friends players on iOS and Android already using Facebook Connect logins to access the Facebook version of the app. Ubisoft’s The Smurfs & Co. also gets some brand recognition from the beloved 1980s cartoon, but it had additional affiliations with The Smurfs live action summer film.
Now we turn our attention to the top 25 Facebook games by monthly active users. This figure is useful in determining a game’s overall reach, but can sometimes be skewed by the game’s natural lifecycle. At this point in the Facebook platform’s development, it seems like most games have the highest MAU in the first three to four months on the market.
*Zoo World 2 appears as Zoo World in our AppData traffic tracking service because the sequel and the original are run through the same app ID.
Again, the newcomers make the biggest splash here, although the not-quite-as-new Zoo World 2 is still working its way up the list. Depending on how Zynga’s experiment in Pioneer Trail with driving users from the original game to a new app ID goes, other developers may consider creative alternatives to the “sequel not selling problem” other social games have struggled with in the past.
These figures are based on September 1, 2011 totals logged in AppData.