While farming games no longer dominate the Facebook gaming platform as they once did in previous years, they still retain a very large userbase. Join us for a look at the top six farming games by traffic, as recorded by our traffic tracking service, AppData.
|2.||المزرعة السعيدة(Happy Land)||3,000,000||920,000||31%|
|3.||開心農場 (Happy Farm)||2,200,000||890,000||41%|
|4.||Komşu Çiftlik (Barn Buddy)||2,100,000||450,000||22%|
Beyond FarmVille, the leading five farm games have over 13 million total monthly active users (MAU), spread across a demographically diverse userbase, much of whom are Arab, Turkish, and Chinese speaking Facebook users. Many of these top farm games boast engagement rates over 20%, which is considered high based on data collected in Inside Virtual Goods. This report will briefly review each of these games’ core gameplay loops and monetization features.
[Editor’s Note: For the purposes of this report, “farming game” is defined as a simulation where the act of farming forms the core gameplay loop. This list also excludes games where farming mechanics such as harvesting and planting are used to collect non-farm resources — monsters, zombies, marijuana, etc.]
Launched in the Summer of 2009 and reaching a peak of of nearly 60 million MAU in December 2010, FarmVille’s userbase is now roughly half that number, with a downward trend that continued into May 2011. At that point, Zynga launched a branded FarmVille ad campaign linked to pop star Lady Gaga that created a short-term increase in DAU and MAU; a complete expansion launched in September also temporarily increased MAU, but not DAU. Since November, FarmVille has seen a recent drop of DAU as a percent of MAU, falling from 28% in mid-October to 23% now as MAU continues to rise while DAU falls.
Beyond FarmVille, however, activity rates for the top farming games are often quite different:
A farming game aimed at Arabic-speaking Facebook users, Happy Land contains art assets targeting that demographic; for instance, the player’s advisor character wears a keffiyeh headdress. In the core gameplay loop, the player harvests farm resources which can be used to feed livestock, or processed, and then sold at market. Players can customize the look of their farm, and compete with other players to gain the most wealth and experience points for developing them. Monetization is through Ranch Cash (purchased with Facebook Credits) used for buying equipment upgrades, special items, and farming power-ups.
Clockwise from top left: Happy Land (Arabic), Happy Land (English), Country Life, and Our Farm (Turkish)
Note that publisher Peak Games also has a Turkish language version of the game called Bizim Çiftlik that enjoys 980,000 MAU and 26% DAU/MAU in addition to an English language version of the game called Happy Land, which now sees 500,000 MAU and 23% DAU/MAU. There also appears to be second English language version of the game, Country Life, with 1,100,000 MAU and 19% DAU/MAU, but as of press time Peak Games has not responded to request to clarify whether or not this game published by it or was perhaps created by developer Halfquest independently of its publishing agreement with Peak Games.
開心農場 (Chinese, Happy Farm) – ELEX
A farming game aimed at Chinese-speaking Facebook users, Happy Farm’s core gameplay loop centers around a 4×7 farming grid, where crops can be planted and harvested. Players have some customization options for the look of their farm, and a ranking system enables competition between friends playing the game. Monetization is built on special Happy Farm currency, purchasable with Facebook Credits, which can then be used to purchase special seeds, plants, equipment, livestock, and special enhanced farm layouts with different backgrounds (such as a fantasy or island theme). Happy Farm enjoys very high engagement rates, with over 40% of its users playing on a daily basis.
The Turkish language version of TheBroth’s Barn Buddy farm game far outpaces its English language original in MAU (2.1 million versus 1.6 million), but arrives at roughly the same DAU/MAU around 20%. In the core gameplay loop, players tend a field by removing dead plants, spraying for bugs and weeds, planting and watering new crops, and then harvesting and selling them at market for the game’s currencies, Coins and Credits. As with many other farm games, players of Barn Buddy can visit their friends’ farms to help care for their crops and livestock. However, they also have an option to sabotage friends’ farms by adding bugs and weeds, or even steal their crops. This component adds an extra layer of competitiveness to the game’s leaderboards.
Monetization comes through Facebook Credits purchased to buy farm animals, which earn the player extra currency and experience points. This includes guard dogs, which protect against player-to-player crop theft. Among the animals that can be purchased in Barn Buddy is a branded virtual good: Domo, the popular Japanese television character — who also has his own Facebook game developed by TheBroth. Facebook Credits can also be earned in the game by watching embedded commercials.
Among the very first Facebook farm sim games to gain a large number of players back in 2009, Farm Town still maintains a relatively large and active userbase. Players customize and control an avatar, and use him or her to grow and harvest crops, sell them at market, and then use the profits to develop and expand their farm property. In the marketplace, players’ avatars can interact with each other in real time, and earn bonuses for cooperating with each other on their respective farm tasks. (The game has live chat and player-to-player messaging features for this purpose.)
As for monetization, players can also customize many aspects of their farm, adding factories and other buildings, along with livestock. To purchase in-game items, such as seeds, trees, flowers, animals, buildings, additional land, and furniture, players spend Coins (which can be earned with in-game activity or purchased with Facebook Credits) or FarmCash, which are only available for Facebook Credits, or by fulfilling advertiser offers.
In Gourmet Ranch’s core gameplay, players expand and customize their farm, which is attached to an organic restaurant. Commands are directed through a customizable avatar. As with the other farming games in this list, the player must grow, tend, and harvest crops/livestock. Unlike these other games, this harvest is used to bake products served in the player’s restaurant. These harvested goods (along with cooked products) can be sold to other players. Earnings from these sales can be spent to purchase higher quality farm products, to bake more expensive restaurant items, and to develop the farm and restaurant.
Monetization comes via the game’s official currency, GR Coins and Cash, both buyable with Facebook Credits, used to purchase farm and restaurant items. Keys, which unlock game content, and Speedups, which automatically hasten game goals, can also be purchased with GR Cash.
Note that Gourmet Ranch developer Playdemic was purchased by publisher RockYou in January 2011, causing the game to grow steadily as the publisher integrated its ad platform within the game while the developer continued to release content. RockYou recently underwent dramatic restructuring, ultimately selling Playdemic back to its founders along with Gourmet Ranch, which may explain the decline in MAU and DAU reflected in the chart above.