While 2009 was the year social games exploded into the mainstream consciousness, developers aren’t slowing down as 2010 begins. Instead, they’re only speeding up – hiring more coders and artists, spending more intelligently on customer acquisition, and in some cases, releasing new games every 4 weeks.
Here’s a look at the top 25 Facebook games as we enter what will surely be the biggest year for social gaming yet, from Inside Social Games:
Interestingly, December was a mixed end to the year, as traffic stayed level or fell for most of the biggest Facebook games during December, according to AppData. 10 of the top 25 games saw decreases from December 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010. Another 5 games saw gains of less than 1 million.
Whether these numbers are indicative of the impact of Facebook’s stricter policies against some viral growth tactics or merely a seasonal holiday blip remains to be seen – but many developers are expecting the changes Facebook has started implementing over the last month – and the upcoming changes to notifications and requests – will have significant impact.
How did the leading developers fare in December?
- Zynga had a mixed month. Falling titles included long-time favorite Mafia Wars, YoVille, and Roller Coaster Kingdom. However, its successful launch of PetVille in early December brought in nearly 18 million users. The continuing popularity of FarmVille — still by far the most popular application on Facebook — and FishVille have helped buoy the numbers.
- Playfish’s biggest apps continued to drop, even as newer titles, like Poker Rivals, slowly make their way up the leaderboards. The company has no doubt been busy integrating with its new owner, Electronic Arts, so we expect it to make a big comeback in the next few months.
- RockYou shows up on our leaderboard this month, for a rather strange reason. It launched Zoo World this past fall, and integrated a window of the game into its other applications, notably Birthday Cards. The integration seems to be working, as Zoo World and Birthday Cards have seen considerable growth in the past month.
- CrowdStar has been on the rise all fall, starting with the launch of Happy Aquarium. While that game appears to have leveled off in popularity, newer titles including Happy Pets and Happy Island are coming up.
Stay tuned for all the latest details as more data comes in. 2010 is going to be a very interesting year!