Zynga’s high-profile sequel to CityVille has seen a massive loss of traffic since the start of December, dropping from 3.8 million daily active users (the best gauge of a game’s core audience) to 570,000. That’s only 100,000 DAU more than the developer’s other high profile black eye, The Ville.
It seems that CityVille 2 hasn’t been able to recreate the popularity of FarmVille 2, which is still the No. 1 game on Facebook by DAU (which is currently sitting just north of the 7 million line). By comparison, the original CityVille still has 1.2 million DAU. Meanwhile, the game’s DAU to MAU ratio shows the current number of daily players make up 3.15 percent of its monthly traffic. Bear in mind: In order for a game to be considered healthy, its DAU/MAU rate needs to be around 15 percent.
So what’s going on? It doesn’t look like the developer is getting ready to sunset the title either. Playing CityVille on Facebook reveals Zynga is actively encouraging users to vote for the title as Games.com’s 2012 social game of the year, and there’s a heavy amount of promotion for Zynga’s other titles like Bubble Safari Ocean going on. However, the technical issues we noted at the time of launch —including incredibly choppy framerates for the 3D graphics and buggy messages in the posts one shares about their progress— are still rampant in the game.
On top of these problems, the game doesn’t have the same type of open community that recent launches like CoasterVille are enjoying, providing players with more neighbors to visit and help out in order to increase play sessions and exchange virtual gifts with users without annoying their friends with spammy posts. CityVille 2 still only lets us visit the burgs of our Facebook friends who are also playing the game.
Zynga recently announced it was planning to sunset 13 underperforming games including Vampire Wars and FishVille, but it seems unlikely that the company would shut down such a high-profile title so soon after it was launched. It’s possible that Zynga has put a damper on the game’s promotion until all the kinks are ironed out, after which the company might start directing users back towards the title en masse. That said, Mafia Wars 2 is shutting down in two days while the original Mafia Wars is still around, so it’s not unheard of for Zynga to kill a sequel while keeping its predecessor in operation.
We’ve reached out to Zynga for a comment, but have yet to receive a response.