There are hundreds of games on Facebook, but only a select few have earned a spot on the social gaming red carpet. For every success story like FarmVille, Zoo World or Pet Society, there is a game that's broken, abandoned or just doesn't have that magical formula that will take it to the top.
We take a look at a handful of games that fit into the latter category (as in, we analyzed the monthly active users, update frequency and actual gameplay experience) to predict why they'll soon take a one-way trip to the chopping block.
The Agency: Covert Ops by Sony Online Entertainment
When we wrote a review of Agency Covert Ops in May, this game really looked promising. It had more polish than almost other Facebook games, has a big marketing push from SOE and did a good job at taking familiar social game mechanics to the next level.
Our theory is that SOE tried to do too much all at once with The Agency. Playing through the tutorial was an overwhelming clickfest, which left the player confused on what they were actually doing. The game tried to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the player, which made for a game that felt like it was too packed and not simple enough. There was so much reading involved, because there was too much story attempting to be told. And frankly, the game wasn't built with viral mechanics in mind, so it never spread to the masses. Taking a peek at the numbers from Appdata, it's easy to see that The Agency's players were purchased through marketing, and but aren't sticking around for the ride.
The Agency: Covert Ops is lingering at 87,123 Monthly Active Users (MAU), 8,853 Daily Active Users (DAU) and these numbers are rapidly falling. It's all-time high MAU was 391,216.
Purina Pet Resort by Playdom
If you thought Playdom could do no wrong, well, you're wrong. WIth top games like Social City, Bola, and Sorority Life, Playdom is normally on top when it comes to social games. With Purina Pet Resort, a branded pet themed advergamegame, it's clear they missed the mark. This advergame provides all fluff and no depth, and leaves players confused about what the point of the game actually is. We never did a full review of the game, but we mentioned that it had a different feel than other Playdom titles. So far, we have yet to see a branded game take off on Facebook, and Purina Pet Resort is no exception. Even with the powerhouse cross promotion capability of Playdom, this game is hanging out as a dismal 13,000 DAU and while it has 248,000 MAU, it lost 247,000 players in the last week alone. At its peak, it had 514,535 MAU.
City of Eternals by Ohai, Inc.
This game has a sad story, because it was a promising full MMO on Facebook that hasn't proven that complex games of its sort can be viable. At its peak, this game never went above 7,424 MAU and 954 daily actives. While the game does appear to do most of its traffic from the standalone game site, it uses Facebook Connect for logins which means that those people would be counted in the Appdata traffic stats. The game's blog hasn't been updated since May, and the company founder recently told a crowd of industry insiders that the game would not be getting any more updates. Yikes.
SPP! Ranch by Slide
This game that used to be leading the charts with almost 3 million monthly active players, and has slipped to 441,437. Slide's SPP! Ranch was using their SuperPoke IP and taking it to the farming/ranch decorating genre. Why isn't it doing so well? Frankly, it simply doesn't look as nice as the competitors any more. It's also simply a decorating game, and doesn't have the fundamental farming mechanics to keep players coming back. The Marketplace is small and hard to read, and nearly all the items are limited in quantity. SPP! Ranch might be an example of a game that's past its prime.
Little Rock Pool by Meteor Games
Little Rock Pool has a lot going for it - it's cute, and a new fun take on the fish-themed games. For some reason, the game peaked around 879,000 monthly players and has now fallen over the months down to 209,103. The game has regular updates, fan page engagement, and a seemingly passionate community. So what's wrong? Players say that they're bored because once you reach level 40, there's nothing else to do. The game is also super buggy. With so many Facebook gaming options out there, a game needs to be rock solid to stand out. Little Rock Pool simply isn't making the cut. Also worth not, Meteor's newer title Ranch Town doesn't seem to be faring much better.
My Casino by Rock You
Rock You has taken Facebook gaming by the horns with their popular game Zoo World, which is currently the 6th most popular Facebook game with almost 26 million monthly active players. However, Rock You haven't found the foolproof secret recipe yet. Their title My Casino, which launched in March, never really exploded the way Zoo World did. While it did reach 920,000 at one point, much of that was due to cross promotion with Zoo World. The game is now sitting at 389,000 MAU and 47,000 DAU. My Casino has a heavy Asian influence and style, which may have something to do with its lack of success in North America.
Epic Goal by Watercooler
This soccer themed game seemed promising when we reviewed it in early June, we even recommended it as the perfect balance of fun and complexity. The audience has never really caught on though, and Epic Goal has never gone above 364,000 MAU. It's been hovering around 315,000 for some time now and isn't growing. In contrast, Bola has been doing very well. However, another soccer game, Winning Goal, is doing even worse with only 7,593 MAU. Ouch. Looks like sports games still have to prove themselves on Facebook.
Poker Blitz by Zynga
Zynga is the juggernaut of Facebook games, but not everything they touch is gold. Poker Blitz was a very interesting title, with an easy to play Texas Hold 'Em gameplay with an adorable art style. The game felt like a winner out of the gate, but hasn't performed up to par. The game topped out at 1.3 million (low for a Zynga game) and is currently sitting at 434,000 MAU. A better indicator of the game's health is the fact that Zynga haven't updated the game's fan page since March. We predict this game will be folding 'em in the not-too-distant future.
Towner by Metrogames
Metrogames saw early success with Towner, a city-building game. This game topped out at 2.3 million MAU, and is currently struggling at 512,867 MAU. The fan page for the game hasn't been updated since June, and that update was just to promote Metrogame's newest title Fashion World (which is faring better, especially with some cross promotion love from Playdom).
Music Pets, Habbo Hotel, Big City Life, Island Life, Mobsters, Garden World.
Do you agree with our predictions? Should other games be on this list? Leave a note in the comments below.