Never content to let grass grow beneath its Farmville feet, Zynga keeps broadening the playing field, gaining more and more of an edge over competitors such as Playfish and Playdom.
On the heels of the recently launched Treasure Isle, which became the fastest growing Facebook application and one of Zynga's most popular games, with over 25 million daily users, FrontierVille is gaining similar appeal.
With FrontierVille, instead of tending to your crops and building a farm, players get a chance to build a bustling frontier town. Like FarmVille, a lot of the gameplay relies on the social side of things, so its important to maintain a neighborly approach in assisting others.
Lesbians in FrontierVilleDiffering from some of Zynga's other games and in an attempt to broaden its appeal to female gamers - Zynga is allowing players to "customize" a spouse and raise a virtual family." And with customization you are then are open to choosing the gender of your partner. So, I guess FrontierVille is one of the first social games to allow gay marriage.
"FrontierVille gives users creative new ways to connect with people around the world while bringing out the pioneering spirit in all of us," says Brian Reynolds, the game's general manager.
Milestones include events such as “learned the ropes,” “just broke ground for a new homestead!,” and “just finished building a General Store in FrontierVille.”
Zynga, with estimated annual revenues of $150 million dollars allows members to play all their games for free - but lures users into purchasing virtual items with real cash to improve their 'stakes' in the game. According to Ed Oswald in his PCWorld review, he suspects the release of FrontierVille is due to FarmVille losing some of its cache and traffic momentum. "AppData metrics indicate that FarmVille seems to be losing steam, likely due to the fact that after awhile, there is only so much you can do."
Mark PincusIn a TechCrunch report, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus reports, “FrontierVille is the most successful launch we’ve ever had.” More than 100,000 people tried the game the first day, with roughly half of those coming from blogs and news sites. Pincus says the second-day retention rate (people who came back to play again on Day 2) was 70 percent. Less than a week later, the game has more than one million daily active users.
While Pincus threatened to pull out of Facebook last month, it looks like he made amends with Mark Zuckerberg and the symbiotic relationship will continue for some time, going forward. Neither Facebook, nor Zynga would come out a winner -if this lucrative partnership was to ever sever ties. And now with Treasure Isle and FrontierVille coming into the fold, there's even more to pile on to their respective coffers.