As you might expect with the Thanksgiving holidays, the growth in the top fish sim games appeared to wane as we focused on real-life relationships and turkey dinners:
Across the board, daily users for each of the fish sim games flat-lined during Thanksgiving (although the reporting tool failed to provide new numbers for Sunday the 29th and Monday the 30th of November, most games were flat or down Thanksgiving week). In addition, for Zynga’s FishVille we’re seeing the social game sticky factor (Daily Active Users/Monthly Active Users) declining and it looks like it might settle at a 28-30% Sticky Factor similar to CrowdStar’s Happy Aquarium and TallTree Games’s Fish World:
In this group, 6 Waves’ My Fishbowl continues to have the strongest sticky factor, a good 33% higher than other fish sim games with over 1 million Daily Active Users (DAU). I believe their success is primarily due to the fact that it is the only one of the four top fish sim games natively coded in Chinese, which is allowing it to take advantage of Facebook’s rapid growth in Southeast Asia. In addition, it may also have something to do with the fact that My Fishbowl has a strong game element of “stealing” from your neighbors’ tanks (if your friends are late to collect the treasures produced by their fish, you can go in and steal these treasures for yourself).
Read the rest of the analysis, plus the impact on developers looking to grow into Asia and other fast-growing Facebook regions, at InsideSocialGames.com
With the launch of Zynga’s FishVille, I’ve been watching to see if the developer could again eclipse records for user growth. The last Zynga hit, Café World launched a little over a month ago, gaining 1.1 million new users on day two and an additional 1.4 million users on day three, eventually passing rival Playfish’s Restaurant City and reaching more than 5 million daily actives in just a week after launch. In its first week, the numbers for FishVille are strong: 1.6 million daily actives after five days, whereas top rival fish game, CrowdStar’s Happy Aquarium took more than two weeks to hit that level. But the growth is not quite as meteoric as Café World.
With all of Zynga’s promotional muscle and ability to cross-promote games across an even larger installed base of players than a month ago, what happened? Are users already mega-engaged with existing titles? Unlike Café World, FishVille is competing with three games and trying to tackle a much more established base: Happy Aquarium, TwoFishes Interactive’s My Fishbowl and TallTree Games’ Fish World collectively have 11.3 million daily active users and over 39.1 million monthly users. In aggregate, these games only trail Zynga’s FarmVille.
In addition, the launch was marred a bit. One of Zynga’s offer providers was running scammy offers, so Facebook took it offline for about 36 hours. With that caveat in mind, I decided to look at the launch trajectories of recent titles by Playfish and Zynga to see if we could discern any trends to benchmark the performance of FishVille:
Read more of the analysis on InsideSocialGames.com
The concept is straight forward – the more a user comes back and plays, the more engaged they are. And the more engaged they are, from my experience at PowerSoccer.com, the easier it is to monetize them. Why? A user who comes in and plays your game every day is much more likely to get to that point where they open their wallet, compared to someone who visits once or twice a month or plays twice and never comes back.
So while Monthly Active Users (MAU) has been a metric that has been used to identify which games have been strong in getting reach (either virally or through advertising), the Daily Active Users (DAU) is the true base you should be able to monetize, weeding out the users that only come for a quick trial and don’t come back. A step further in this analysis is something I call the Social Game Sticky Factor ™ (DAU/MAU) which allows you to benchmark applications’ ability to retain their users.
If your application has a 33% Social Game Sticky Factor, that means that for every new user you bring in, you have a 33% shot at turning them into a daily user. Compare that to an application with 20% Social Game Sticky Factor, and you can now compare the potential ROI of a Facebook Ad campaign or further development of a game (either to make it stickier or focus your development on another game with a higher Social Game Sticky Factor).
In the past I’ve looked at the top developers and their average sticky factors, but let’s break that down by game and over time to look at game-specific insights:
See the full article including comparative graphs at InsideSocialGames.com