Quick Hits: PetVille’s Massive Growth, Playfish Still Down Since EA Acquistion

A day after CrowdStar threw down the gauntlet that it was going to be more profitable than Zynga, Zynga pulled out a massive Facebook advertising campaign (see example ad at right) that saw PetVille’s numbers go through the roof, helping it crush rival CrowdStar’s Happy Pets. PetVille climbed from 934,945 daily active users (DAU) to over 3.1 million in a single day, taking over the #14 spot among Facebook applications and quickly surpassing CrowdStar’s Happy Pets (currently #18 with just under 2.6 million DAU). Also not so trivial: After less than a week, PetVille is now only 300,000 behind YoVille — Zynga’s initial sim game– which launched 19 months ago.

Zynga Believes There is Life in Synchronous Games After All?

After my article in InsideSocialGames yesterday suggested that Zynga was focusing its attention on asynchronous games and less time on synchronous games like Scramble and Zynga Poker, today’s FarmVille toolbar actually cross promotes largely synchronous game PathWords (for the first time that I can ever remember) and formerly deposed sim game Roller Coaster Kingdom:

The EA Purchase of Playfish Still Not Showing Growth

We’re a month out since Electronic Arts made a big splash in purchasing Playfish and we noted that traffic was actually down across the top Playfish games shortly after launch. The cross-promotions to EA properties like the Sims3 iPhone application and to the Pogo.com portal have been removed, but traffic through December 7th on the top Playfish games remained 10% or more below their average DAU during the month prior to the acquisition:

Restaurant City Pet Society Country Story
Avg DAU 30 days prior 5,048,849 5,099,902 1,645,520
Dec 7 DAU 4,542,862 4,551,948 1,463,206
% Difference -10.0% -10.7% -11.1%

Interestingly, the Pet Society numbers have been revitalized in the last two days (growing from 4.5 million to it’s pre-acquisition levels with just under 5.1 million DAU), which might be seen as a defensive initiative in reaction to rival Zynga’s massive launch of incredibly similar PetVille. Part of the improvement in DAU may be due to a new daily coin lottery, where users have a chance to win more if they have logged in five straight days, but wondering how long it will take EA to support Playfish with ads to protect itself from inroads by Zynga.

Meanwhile, EA’s Spore Islands never really took off — it never grew over 20,000 DAU, and could never retain users. It’s Sticky Factor is a dismal 5%.

Bejeweled Blitz Flat, Others Target Gem Swapping Masses

While PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz has been solidly at 3 million DAU for over a month now, other gem-swapping games are beginning to find an audience. GameDuell has been targeting Bejeweled players in ads for its Jungle Jewels game (so far only amassing 216,000 DAU and cracking the top 100 with a pretty limited social game experience) while France’s ZSlide has been advertising Treasure Madness (with a slew of gem-swapping mini-games) and gained a little traction (currently in the top 50 with 700,000 DAU). I expect more subtle nuances to the gem-swapping games to continue to percolate in the months ahead, much like they did in the casual games space.

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