Big Fish’s Casual MMO Faunasphere Comes to Facebook

FaunasphereBack in September we covered the release of the casual massively multiplayer online game, Faunasphere from developer Big Fish Games. The company has already been testing Facebook Connect for the environmentally-friendly game. Now, it is introducing a Facebook application.

Many traditional game publishers are experimenting with how to take advantage of Facebook — can an app work better than Connect, even though both services provide the same user identity information and communication channels?

This is basically what Big Fish is trying to find out.

Will O’Brien, the company’s new vice president of social games, tells us that the app is intended to give users more choice in where they play the game, even though he says the Connect implementation is already showing some positive results.

The company isn’t sharing overall numbers for the game so far. O’Brien says that “as a standalone site, Faunasphere has demonstrated incredible user growth and consistently high average spend per users.”

The original browser-based version and the app are connected to the exact same virtual world. The only difference is that the app is on Facebook. Some portion of users feel more comfortable playing on Facebook than on the web. The result is that when users check out games by seeing ads, or activity in their news feeds from friends who are already playing, some larger portion of them appear more likely to stay on.

AppData is showing limited Facebook Connect traffic to Faunasphere so we’ll be watching for increases.

Bux

For those that missed our first review, the game is a quality MMO where players control a cartoonish-looking animal called a Fauna (which, for the record, can be easily shared on your profile too). Set in a sci-fi sort of universe, users proceed around the world completing quests and cleaning up various forms of pollution (some of which fight back). As they progress, they eventually begin to find trees, ground tiles, and even waterfalls to decorate their own personal space called a Faunasphere.

Eventually, players also gain the capability to adopt and grow other Fauna – beyond the first handful you can pick from – via breeding or feeding them “gene food,” leading to over 50 million possible variations.

All of these qualities that made the browser rendition attractive are still intact, This includes the ability to purchase the virtual currency, Bux, for spending on rare or limited items such as holiday goods or the gene food, as well premium memberships that grant large amounts of Bux per month and a greater cap on how many Fauna a player can create.