The Top 25 Facebook Games of December 2011

Now that the dust has settled after Facebook’s adjustment to its method for counting active users, we take a look at the top 25 Facebook games going into December 2011.

Note: Because Facebook now rounds traffic to the thousands, our rankings now reflect ties with the letter “T” in the rank field.

We begin with the top 25 games by daily active users, which is the most effective measurement of a game’s core audience. About half of our games on the list saw losses in DAU over the last month, with the largest loss reflected in The Sims Social. That game appears to have reached its early life traffic apex right at the end of September before going into its mature state where traffic declines and the lifetime value of users rises. Note that Zynga’s Mafia Wars 2 technically suffered the “biggest loss” of DAU between November and December as it doesn’t even rank in the top 25 going into this month; on November 1, it would’ve been in the top 10 in terms of DAU. The biggest gainer was newcomer CastleVille at No.2, Zynga’s latest and so far fastest-growing game ever on Facebook while older game Top Eleven makes its debut at No.25:

Turning now to monthly active users, which is a means for gauging a game’s overall reach, we see mostly overall growth with just nine apps losing ground compared to their November numbers. The Sims Social again sees the biggest loss on the list while Mafia Wars 2 sees such a huge loss, it falls off the list completely whereas in November it would have been in the top 10. CastleVille again makes a strong showing at No.5 while Car Town returns to our rankings after a brief absence:

Other somewhat new notable games climbing the rankings for the past several months are Bubble Witch Saga, Tetris Battle, Words With Friends, and Ravenskye City. Each of these games either launched in the last four months or has spent those last four months scaling steadily to arrive in the top 25.

As for overall trends that we’ve observed in the last several months in studying our monthly top 25 rankings charts, it’s clear that “top” games now need a minimum of around 1 million DAU to place. As few as eight months ago, games could get close with around 800,000 DAU — but now there are five games in the 900,000 range, three of which didn’t make the top 25. Another trend is the relative stability of arcade and casino games. Titles like Slotomania and Diamond Dash seem like they’ll never leave this list no matter how old they get.

Join us toward the end of this month for a look back at the top Facebook games of 2011 as the calendar year draws to a close.

This post originally appeared on our sister site, Inside Social Games.