Tag Archives: My Fishbowl

For Fish Sim Games, Does Stealing Make Them Stickier?

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:

All the fish sim games remained flat or declined their daily active user numbers over Thanksgiving

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:

As FishVille's sticky factor comes down to the level of rivals Happy Aquarium and Fish World, My Fishbowl maintains a sticky factor 33% higher than any of them

In this group, 6 WavesMy 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

Chinese Game Developers Jump Into Top 20 Facebook Apps

Chinese developers are now cropping up as some of the top applications on Facebook, with their native Chinese versions sometimes outstripping the English versions. A quick look:

Rank in DAU Game Developer 1 Sep 2009 DAU 29 Sep 2009 DAU % Growth in DAU
#12 開心農場 (Happy Harvest) Elex Technology Co., Ltd. 1.067 mil DAU 2.14 mil DAU +1.1 million
#16 My Fishbowl TwoFishes Interactive 0.654 mil DAU 1.855 mil DAU + 1.2 million
#20 Animal Paradise Rekoo 0.203 mil DAU 1.155 mil DAU +952K

Elex has proven success on international social network sites, with the #1 application on two of China’s biggest social nets (kaixin.com and xiaonei.com which was renamed Ren Ren) and the #3 application on one of Russia’s largest social networks (vkontakte.ru), according to a note posted by an Elex business development partner. There is an English language version of Happy Harvest – which seems to have stalled at 181,000 DAU – but it’s the Chinese language version of the game that has hit #12, showing that even though FarmVille and Farm Town have been successful, there is still room for success if you can provide a well-translated version of the game.

TwoFishes Interactive doesn’t appear to have other games developed, but their corporate site (2fishes.com) appears to be registered in China. Also extremely interesting to note is that Elex and TwoFishes actually have a cross-promotion effort in place with a toolbar across their top two applications:

If the two developers are not co-owned, it points to an interesting option for small developers to band together and cross-promote other games in a similar fashion to the way Zynga and Playfish jump-start their new titles and portfolio.

Rekoo also has its root on Chinese social networks like xianoi.com and 51.com. Animal Paradise may not be completely ready for US audiences as several translations are a bit rough (“You upgraded to Level 1 and was rewarded you 1 Black Pigbaby”) but I’ve been on the other side of the coin and realize how incredibly difficult it is to get good localized translations for games in place – this is going to be a key point as developers expand internationally. What it does have is tried and true sim game play of getting baby animals, raising them, and then selling them. The Zoo Tycoon theme is pretty universal and should do well with the Facebook/Casual game demographic. In addition to develops their own farm sim game, Sunshine Ranch, which just hit 400,000 DAU but growth is slow and the farm sim genre is a bit over-crowded.

Social Game Competition is Global

The wave of Chinese developers is a sign that more competition in social games is coming. Developers successful in markets where Facebook is not the dominate platform, like Russia and Germany, will begin tapping the US markets. Likewise I would expect US developers to begin exploring the international markets. Translations will be as critical as servers for success – and that takes investment. From my experience at both Oberon and Power Soccer, crowd sourcing is cost-effective, but quality always suffers. Paid translation services are better, but even they often miss subtle nuances. Because a poor translation has the opportunity to be magnified many times over across social networks, it will be critical to have on-staff translations and partner in the local markets developers want to tackle.