It’s Official: CityVille Surpasses 100M Players

Alright, we’ve already established that Zynga’s CityVille is a very big deal. But now, the game has become so successful that it is on a plane of social game success that we didn’t even know existed prior to this. 100 million (100,000,000!) people have played CityVille within the last month:

When dealing with numbers this large, it becomes difficult to contextualize them. When people read “one hundred million” their heads translate that into “OK really big number. GOT IT.” It could be a billion or a bajillion and it would have the same effect on people. So let me illustrate just how big this Monthly Active User total is:

- Crowdstar is the #2 social game developer, and their games have a total of 47 million players. This means that CityVille alone has twice as many players as all of Crowdstar’s games put together. Crowdstar is not some mid-tier competitor – they are Zynga’s closest competition.

- Zynga’s games have a total of 296 million players. So, CityVille alone accounts for one third of Zynga’s player base. All their other games put together are the remaining two thirds.

- CityVille has more players than Pet Society, City of Wonder, Happy Aquarium, It Girl, Social City, and Restaurant City put together. With about 30 million players to spare. These six games are the #1 and #2 titles from the other “big three” social game makers.

- About one in six people on Facebook have played CityVille this month.

First Look: Zombie Mosh

Zombie Mosh from Menue is the best zombie nightclub social game we have played yet.

OK, seriously though, Zombie Mosh is an amusing take on a couple well-established social game genres. The most obvious influence is Nightclub City and other build-a-business titles. More surprising is that Zombie Mosh has also managed to work in a farming/harvesting mechanic in a logical way. This allows the game to stand out from a gameplay perspective. It obviously has no problem standing out thematically.

The goal of Zombie Mosh is to build “the ultimate undead hangout.” Players have an energy bar that they spend on various actions (more on these in a moment) that refills over time. Completing tasks earns coins, which can be spent on club customizations. A premium currency can be purchased with real cash to purchase exclusive goodies.

As a player builds up their club, it will attract the attention of zombie club-goers. Players earn the bulk of their XP and coins by moshing with these fellow zombies. But each zombie can only be moshed with a certain number of times. After they have reached their mosh limit, they disappear. How to replenish these dwindling zombie ranks, and make the club hoppin once again?

This is where the humans, and Zombie Mosh’s principal innovation, come in. On a regular basis, living humans will make their way into the club. Players can take these humans, bury them in graves they have purchased, and turn them into more zombies to mosh with! It sounds morbid, but it is handled in an amusing and cartoony way.

What type of zombie a human turns into is determined by what type of grave they are buried in. Some graves require just 5 minutes to transform a human, resulting in a zombie that can only be moshed with once. A 15 minute grave is also available early on, resulting in more valuable zombies. Basically, a player is “planting” human graves around their club, and can “harvest” them to create more XP-giving zombies.

In the end, you end up with a pretty crazy scene. An undead band rocking out on stage, entertaining a crowd of both humans and zombies. A variety of graves are strewn around the club, intermixed with the player-purchased decorations. Pretty zany.

Zombie Mosh obviously will only appeal to a certain demographic, but this will likely work to the game’s advantage. Lots of young men might be too cool to play Pet Society, but a zombie game built around a harvesting mechanic? Right up their alley.

CityVille is the Biggest Social Game In History

You might have seen some headlines last month stating that CityVille had surpassed FarmVille to become the biggest game on Facebook. This was technically true. On the day the news dropped, CityVille had 61 million monthly players, compared to FarmVille’s 56 million.

But I felt that the stories were a little misleading. CityVille had only surpassed FarmVille because the farming sim has been slowly but steadily losing players for the past 10 months or so. At its peak, around March 2010, FarmVille had nearly 84 million monthly players. So CityVille owed its #1 status as much to FarmVille shrinking as it did to its own growth.

But as of this week, CityVille can drop the asterisk from its World’s Biggest Social Game title. The game now has an astonishing 90.6 million monthly players. This surpasses FarmVille’s peak player record by a wide margin. Even more amazing, the game is not yet showing signs of slowing down. As of now, CityVille is on pace to surpass 100 million monthly players in just four or five more days.

While this is incredibly good news for Zynga, there still might be a small cause for concern. Monthly players (players that check in at least once a month) are certainly important, but daily players is the stat that truly matters. And in a comparison of daily players, CityVille isn’t as dominant. It is still the biggest, with 17.6 million daily players compared to FarmVille’s 15.5 million, but the stats seem to indicate that more players are checking out CityVille once and not returning, when compared to Zynga’s other titles.

Right now, 19% of CityVille’s monthly players are checking in per day. FarmVille, in comparison, enjoys a 27% DAU/MAU ratio.

This still takes nothing away from CityVille’s incredible feats. We’re excited to see just how high the game can go!

* Thanks to AppData for the player stats.

First Look: Pocket God

Pocket God from Bolt Creative has been a bonafide iPhone phenomenon for some time now. The little $0.99 app has sold over 2 million copies on Apple’s iOS platform, and seems poised to tackle Facebook next.

The basic premise of Pocket God on Facebook is the same as the classic mobile version. Players play the role of an omnipotent being (a God), and can control the fate of a set of pygmy islanders through a variety of powers.

Technically players can use their powers for good, such as giving the pygmies a fishing rod or a cool drink, but really, the bulk of the gameplay revolves around, erm… dispatching the pygmies as humorously as possible. Flinging them into the horizon, volcanos, hurricanes, flipping gravity upside down, sharks, lightning strikes, and plenty more creative pygmy death options are already present in the Facebook version.

It might sound gruesome, but Pocket God maintains a light, cartoony tone, and players can spawn more pygmies with a simple click of the button.

While the mobile version is more of a sandbox, allowing players to quickly and easily commence with pygmy death as they see fit, the Facebook release features more of a traditional social game experience. As players kill (“sacrifice”) pygmies, they level-up, unlocking more and more God powers to play around with. Powers also have to be purchased via a special currency, earned upon each successful pygmy sacrifice.

Pocket God for Facebook is funny and quite cute, but it is also quite a departure from what players expect out of a social game, even with the heavy changes that have been made. The game is still in beta, so we’re keeping a close eye on its progress, to see if it can become as big a hit on social platforms as it is on mobile ones.

First Look: Me to You: My Place

Me to You: My Place from Sharkius Games is one part Treasure Isle, and one part Tamagotchi, with a dash of FarmVille tossed in for good measure. That entire package is then wrapped up in one very cute and cuddly package.

The game stars Tatty Teddy, a character from My Blue Nose Friends. Gameplay starts off familiar enough. Players are sent out to dig up maps, one square at a time. A square can contain coins, treasures, food, or other goodies. But before long, players will come across a cute animal, and it is here that Me to You distinguishes itself.

These animals live back at a player’s home base, and need to be cared for by the player to build up their Friendship meter. Bathing an animal raises its hygiene, and feeding it fills its hunger meter. Once those essentials are taken care of, players can continue to click on an animal to do things like tell a joke, play a game, or read a story. These activities raise an animal’s social, fun, and friendship meters, but lower energy, hunger, and hygiene.

It’s an interesting twist on a familiar formula, and gives the game a nice flow. Once players have fully drained a pet’s energy, it needs to sleep to recover it. Those periods of “downtime” are good opportunities to go dig up more treasures, or spend some coins redecorating your space.

A light farming element is also present, where players can use a few pre-set farm plots to grow more food for their pet.

The game’s sugary sweet music, teddy bear protagonist, and stuffed animal virtual pets will probably turn off adult gamers, but it makes Me to You: My Place a great choice for the younger set.

First Look: Miscrits: World of Adventure

Miscrits: World of Adventure from Broken Bulb Studios is an exceptionally ambitious game. All of Broken Bulb’s titles have been quality (we’re especially big fans of My Town), but with Miscrits, the company seems determined to prove that social games are capable of richer experiences than they are currently delivering.

At its core, Miscrits is essentially a Pokemon clone. But I’m not using that label in an unkind way. The Pokemon formula seems tailor-made for the social game treatment, and if Broken Bulb didn’t tackle it, someone else was bound to.

Like Pokemon, Miscrits is an RPG (role-playing game). Players explore the wilderness, searching for creatures, called Miscrits, to capture and add to their collection. Players don’t actually do the fighting. Instead, a player chooses four of their captured Miscrits to act as their active team, and it is these Miscrits that are sent into battle.

Each Miscrit has a variety of statistics (health points, attack power, speed, etc.) that determines how effective they are in battle. As players win battles they earn experience points, which eventually allow them to level-up. Each time a player levels up they earn five Training Points, which can be spent to make their Miscrits more powerful. Eventually, a Miscrit can actually “evolve” into a brand-new form.

Like Pokemon, a Miscrit’s most important stat is its element. Each Miscrit belongs to an elemental family (fire, water, nature, etc.), and in battle some elements may be strong or weak against others. So it is important to adventure with a balanced team of Miscrits. A fire Miscrit is very weak against water enemies, but strong against nature, for example.

Miscrits is still very new, with lots of features still listed as “coming soon.” But even in this early state, it is still a very compelling product. The game looks great, with all of the 20+ Miscrits featuring high-quality, detailed artwork. The soundtrack is also lengthy and very catchy.

Like in Pokemon, a large part of Miscrit’s draw is attempting to collect all the available creatures. Some are more rare than others, and it is likely that some can’t be captured by normal means. I currently have seven unique Miscrits in my collection, and I’m already thinking about when I’ll be able to head back out and add some more.

First Look: Spa Retreat

Spa Retreat from social game newcomer Summerlight Studios is the latest in a growing collection of realtime commerce games. It reminds us most of Lolapps’ Critter Island, or perhaps Crowdstar’s Happy Island.

Players are tasked with developing their own private spa by purchasing buildings and decorations. Customers are attracted to the spa automatically, and will enter any spa attractions a player has placed, generating coins, popularity points, experience points, and other bonuses.

The most obvious way Spa Retreat differentiates itself from its competitors is with its spa setting. The attractions players place are things like Pilates Studios, Milk Baths, Chemical Peels, and Thai Massage parlors. Not restaurants or roller coasters.

From a gameplay perspective, Spa Retreat feels more familiar. Players collect bonuses from their attractions, spending energy points in the process. Energy refills over time. Coins must be spent to resupply each attraction after it has serviced a specific number of customers.

The game does have a light risk/reward system. The more spa-goers that enter an attraction at once, the bigger the bonus. With a set amount of energy to spend, clicking on an attraction at just the right moment to earn the biggest EXP bonus becomes more important.

In its current state, Spa Retreat doesn’t do much to impress, although it also doesn’t break any cardinal social game rules. The game plays it safe. Perhaps too safe. Right now, feels very similar to existing titles. The game’s foundation is quite solid – just as good as any of the big hits in the genre. If Summerlight Studios can find a way to separate Spa Retreat from the pack beyond the game’s setting, we think Spa Retreat’s outlook is quite sunny.

Happy Island Adds Picture Postcard Feature

Happy Island developer Crowdstar added the ability for players to take a snapshot of their island resort earlier this week, but with a special tourist twist.

Instead of a standard snapshot feature (which is common in social games), players can turn their pictures into postcards, add a special backdrops, and include messages. These postcards can then be sent to a player’s Facebook friends. It might not be as nice as sending a postcard from a real tropical island, but it still sounds like fun to us.

Players can access the new postcard feature via the camera icon at the bottom of the game screen.

Happy Pets 12 Days of Christmas Event Begins

Christmas is the time for giving, even in the world of social games. Crowdstar is showing their giving spirit today, announcing a special Happy Pets 12 Days of Christmas event.

The event itself is pretty simple. Starting Tuesday, December 14th, each day for the next 12 days players logging in to Happy Pets will receive a free Christmas themed item. At the end of the 12th day, (12/25 – Christmas Day) players that have collected all the freebies will receive one final bonus: a Mini Multi-Glow Elf Cat.

Players can RSVP for the event here, but note you don’t need to in order to receive the free gifts.

Happy Aquarium Introduces Deep Sea Props

Happy Aquarium developer Crowdstar introduced a handful of new tank decorations today, all with a deep sea theme. These new props will undoubtedly appeal to those tank managers attempting to keep their tanks at least somewhat realistic-looking.

New props include colorful corals, smoker vents, and elaborate deep sea plants. Best of all? They’re all available for coins! No FB$ needed. Will you be buying any for your tank? Or do you prefer the more outlandish decoration sets? Leave a comment and let us know!