In the past few days, Zynga, the leading Facebook platform developer, quietly released a new game called “FarmVille”. If you’ve played Farm Town at any point in the past few months then you won’t need any education about how to use Zynga’s version of the game as it’s almost an exact duplicate. The only feature the company needs is the ability to import the game from Farm Town over to FarmVille and they’ll have come up with a great tool to take over the users.
Zynga has been repeatedly accused for stealing game ideas from other developers. The developer behind Mob wars even sued Zynga for copyright infringement back in February, and it appears that the dispute is still unsettled. With one active lawsuit, the company must feel confident in their strategy of copying the most successful games on Facebook. Farm Town, the most recent game to be copied, has grown steadily over the past few months with over 3.7 million daily active users and over 9.5 million monthly active users.
With such high engagement and
no previous competition only one competitor (Barn Buddy), the application has become an example of an extremely successful game on the Facebook platform. Almost 50 percent of the users come back daily which is an impressive feat for any application. So how does Zynga’s new version, “FarmVille”, differ from the highly successful Farm Town? Well, for the time being there is no public marketplace or “Saloon” in which users can go socialize with one another.
Instead, the game is focused on letting users interact with their friends. You can visit your friends farms as well as add them as neighbors. Honestly, this game is likely to be much more viral as it focuses on the interaction between friends, not strangers. One other improvement is the removal of annoying bugs that were prevalent in Farm Town. Often times you would click on a plot of land in Farm Town and it wouldn’t respond.
FarmVille has successfully removed all the kinks and now all that’s left is viral growth. The company is also investing in a large ad campaign which has been showing up occasionally around Facebook. Not surprising considering that this is a typical strategy for the company. On MySpace, they are reportedly spending $2 to $3 million on MySpace ads every month. Regardless, the company continues to grow and they don’t appear ashamed to use any strategy in the book, even if it includes copying others.
Will you be “Moooving to FarmTown”? If you are considering, go check out the farm they gave you.