When Zynga recently mentioned that CityVille is the company's fastest growing social game it was no joke. According to Inside Social Games, the game has reached 22 million monthly players as of this morning (in less than two weeks), which would make it a faster growing game than not only FrontierVille, but all Zynga games--including FarmVille-- to date. And if this insane growth is possible after Facebook shut down nearly all viral channels for social games, there is only one question to ask: How?
The Zynga Name
Well, let's start from the beginning. Zynga already has an established reputation for social gaming being connected to FarmVille alone, so that certainly helps. In other words, folks were just waiting for CityVille since we first heard word of it back in August. But it takes more than just a reputation to garner this much of a following so quickly.
Let's take this dissection behind the break and see how CityVille became the fastest-growing Zynga game ever.
Willkommen bei CityVille
That's "Welcome to CityVille" in German (roughly), one of CityVille's five supported languages and most likely key to the game's rapid growth. Translated into Spanish, French and Italian in addition to German and standard English, CityVille is open to a whole new world of players (literally) without the need for intense localization by remote studios. However, this is also because European culture is much more similar to American culture than, say, Chinese or Japanese culture. If the game were to later be translated into those languages, some more intensive localization would have to go down in order to fall in line with cultural customs--which is already underway for FarmVille in Japan and has been done with Zynga Poker in China. At any rate, being open to a more diverse range of players has almost certainly increased Zynga's reach with CityVille.
Hey You, Come Try This Game!
While cross promotions for CityVille have just recently been popping up in the Zynga Game Bar above each of its games, it's the in-game promotions that are likely grabbing more of us every day. And although this isn't necessarily a new method, it is effective for sure. I don't know about you, but seeing a massive billboard for another game in my farm certainly piques my interest. With results like this already blowing up, I would expect cross promotions for CityVille to stick around for a long time.
"Bobby Sue just sent you Miscellaneous Item #27 in CityVille."
Yes, viral growth has returned. Well, at least a little bit. Facebook game requests have recently started popping in our Notifications on the home page including anything from help requests to gifts. And since you can send gifts to non-players, these Notifications are likely appearing for the social game pure as well. Not to mention that Zynga's infamous "BegVille" techniques have made a not-so-triumphant return in CityVille, which in a way could be helping the game grow through persistence. It's a bit of a stretch, but being constantly reminded about a game could lead to players mentioning in conversation, spreading the news via word of mouth. Multiply that by a few million people and you've got yourself an inadvertent source of growth.
And if CityVille keeps going at this rate, CityVille will soon overtake Cafe World and later FrontierVille in the list of Zynga's top Facebook games. However, is it possible for the game to come close to FarmVille much less thwart it as the developer's number one game? Well, that's up for you, the players, to decide.
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