Just this morning, we took a look at how games and applications on Facebook have changed since the removal of third-party notifications on the platform. We speculated that not only the removal of notifications, but also the age of some games has led to the overall decline seen throughout the platform, in terms of the sheer number of users playing games or using apps, and it seems that Inside Social Games agrees with that claim. What’s more, they have released last month’s figures for the top 25 Facebook games for May, and the losses seen in April have continued, and in some cases worsened significantly from this time a month ago.
Most notably is Zynga’s FarmVille, which, while still the number one game on the platform lost a whopping 7.7 million monthly active players in the month of May. Add that to the 4.4 million users that left in April, and you have a drop of more than 12 million players in just eight weeks.
Meanwhile, three of the apps that had been beacons of hope last month, in that they registered large growths – Playfish’s Hotel City, Zynga’s Treasure Isle, and Playdom’s Social City – also saw declines throughout May. In terms of Hotel City and Social City, the losses were at a bit more than 1 million users, while Treasure Isle’s was smaller, at around half of a million users lost.
Where some of these declines, like those seen in Playfish’s Restaurant City (a drop of 2.1 million players) and Slashkey’s Farm Town (a loss of 1.7 million players) could be attributable to the games’ age – both are more than a year old – this doesn’t explain the aforementioned trio of newer games that also registered losses.
With Zynga launching a widespread cross-promotional campaign with 7-Eleven, that sees items being released for YoVille, FarmVille, and Mafia Wars, it will be interesting to see how those three games change throughout the month of June, and, if the data is positive, just how quickly other developer will follow suit.
However, while we can continue to speculate as to the reasoning associated with the drops in users, as to whether it had anything to do with Facebook notifications (or the lack thereof) or simple user boredom, we have to keep one other element in mind, that being the natural element. User numbers were at an all-time high earlier in the year, when weather was poorer and users weren’t able to spend as much time outdoors. Now, with summer all-but-officially here, perhaps it’s simply that users are spending more time outdoors than sitting in front of a computer.
While no single factor will be able to easily explain these drops (it is mostly likely the combination of the above and many more factors), as the weather continues to improve, and developers try harder and harder to maintain their user-base, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on all of the important changes and revelations concerning your favorite developers. For now though, let us know your thoughts in the comments – are you playing Facebook games as much now as you did earlier in the year? Why or why not?