Zynga’s CityVille surged past 100mm Monthly Active Users (MAUs) on January 13, just 41 days after its release, becoming the first game in Facebook history to break that milestone. Cityville become the biggest game in Facebook history on January 1, by surpassing the 83.7 million mark set by Zynga’s Farmville on March 11, 2010. Cityville’s monstrous success is based on numerous factors, (quality
of the game, localization in six European languages), but none is as big as the cross promotion only available to Zynga with its current base of over 300mm total MAUs across all its games, more than 6X the size of CrowdStar, the 2nd largest aggregator of MAUs on the Facebook platform. The cross promotion for Cityville runs the gamut from a big Cityville button that is displayed all the time while Zynga gamers are playing any other Zynga games, to your new neighbor on Farmville who provides links to Cityville. Zynga also asks its gamers to help spread the word, including asking farmers to spread the word to their Farmville friends when playing Cityville.
Zynga’s Cityville crushed the growth of Zynga’s Frontierville, which was previously the fastest game to 20 million MAUs:
We estimate that more than 70% of Cityville’s users are outside the U.S., with the game a hit in both Asia and Europe. However, while Zynga can get people to try the game, getting them to return and become regular users is more difficult. The current ratio of people who logged on yesterday (as measured by DAUs – Daily Active Users), as a percentage of users who logged in to Cityville in the last month, is currently lower than the ratio for other Zynga games:
Based on the monstrous success of Cityville, total MAUs for the ten largest social gaming developers on Facebook hit an all time high this week at 490 million, up more than 25% since Cityville was introduced in December.
Finally, it’s interesting to put Cityville in to perspective with regards to the other 20 largest games in terms of MAUs in the history of Facebook. Figure 9 highlights how Cityville is currently has about the same number of MAUs as total combined MAUs of the 3rd, 4th and 5th largest games ever. Of the top games in the chart below, Happy Aquarium, at 7th largest, is the first not developed by Zynga (it ‘s a CrowdStar game). Finally, as of the 15th, Zynga controlled over 60% of the total MAUs of the top 10 developers combined.
Cityville should accelerate the growth of Facebook gamers, which is already on a steep trajectory per the figure below, which highlights that over 37% of U.S. Facebook users 18+ are already playing games on Facebook, a 20% increase in just two months.