Last month, the largest Facebook game, FarmVille, lost more than just a few players, as 4.4 million users decided, for one reason or another, to call it quits. Inside Social Games has all of the data associated with the loss, and claims that the most likely reason players stopped playing FarmVille (or any of the 14 games that saw losses) was due to Facebook’s removal of third-party notifications from the platform, meaning that all gift requests and notifications had to be handled through the game’s page proper, or through emails.
This is a likely excuse, but many games have also seen major performance issues, including the main game in question, FarmVille. Could long-time users simply be fed up by the (seemingly) increasingly frequent down-times seen by these games, so much so that they decide to leave the game? There’s a forthcoming change that will most likely answer this question, as Facebook works to remove gift requests from the network as well (we’ve seen Zynga acknowledge this with the arrival of the Zynga Messaging Center in their games).
If downtime is the culprit behind player numbers dropping, this change should have little noticeable effect; conversely, if it’s the lack of this readily available, instant communication that changes players’ minds, the virtual closing off of all Facebook games (meaning that all game news will have to come from first-hand sources, and not through a Facebook driven process) should see users flocking to play either less complex games or not at all.
Games.com brings up another valid point with FarmVille’s decline in users – perhaps it and the other games that suffered losses last month are simply suffering from gamer fatigue, or are becoming the victim of the many new titles being released on the site, including Zynga’s own Treasure Isle, which has rocketed to the number five spot on the app charts, with more than 25 million monthly active players. Other examples are Hotel City and Social City, from Playfish and Playdom, which are perched at spots 14 and 15 on the charts, respectively. Each have more than 12 million monthly active players, as of last month’s figures.
Before you fear for FarmVille’s survival, this 4.4 million player loss did little to affect the overall state of the game as the number one Facebook application, as it has retained 78 million monthly active users. The nearest competitor in terms of games is Cafe World, another Zynga title, in fourth place with over 26 million players.
Do you have your own thoughts on why gamers might be quitting these games? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject, through the comments section below.