I am in total awe of Zynga’s FarmVille. This very plain casual farming simulation game managed to rack up more than a hundred million dollars of sales in less than 6 months! Launched only on Facebook last June 19, 2009, FarmVille still topped the world’s virtual item market! Zynga farm-simulation game managed to earn $145 million dollars ending December 31, 2009. It is now the undisputed #1 app not only on Facebook but also the entire social gaming business. As of January 2009, Farmville has 72 million monthly active users and counting. Compare this to current MMORPG leader World of Warcraft (one of the world’s most addictive games) that only has around 12million subscribers. This feat is more astonishing since World of Warcraft (WOW) has been around since 2004. It took them 4 years to hit the 10m mark of players. FarmVille did it in 1 month!
Zynga’s is winning big money on their bet. Unlike teenage and college MMORPG gamers who play WOW, among other games, casual gamers are cash-rich professionals and have deep pockets to spend on games they like. FarmVille earns millions of dollars from customers around the world who are too busy working to play too much virtual farming. FarmVille also appeals to personal vanity — moneyed players will buy the most inane but cute decorative item or animal for their farm! Zynga sells Farm Cash and Farm Coins so you can purchase these items which can help you have the grandest ranch farm on the block. Just imagine the Wall Street Banker checking his Facebook account every night and realizing his FarmVille farm is not keeping up with his neighbors. He will be obliged to spend as much as $40 just to improve the physical appearance of his farm. Pride is a social disease that many people are prone to have. We may say it is only a game but there are people who really feel that FarmVille is a real extension of their success in real life. If I were a millionaire industrialist, how do you think will my Facebook friends and acquaintances see me when they discover I have a deprived FarmVille account! It’s all about perception so it is important to some individuals to maintain their mighty appearances like saying “Hey, folks, look I am rich, I can afford to waste $500 on this ridiculous game.”
FarmVille is going to make at least twice that much this 2010. Experts are predicting it can give as much as $350 million earnings to Zynga this year. As long as no other new game can equal its plague-like popularity, FarmVille will continue to be a giant cash-cow.