Or, was May 2010 just a really bad month for social gaming? According to our article on this very subject yesterday and an analysis of the data on secondshares, the three leading social game developers Zynga, Playfish, and CrowdStar saw drops in monthly average users (MAU’s) by 10.7%, 11.1%, and 12.1%, respectively. To put that in perspective, Zynga has 230 million users so a 10.7% means they loss 26.6 million users in the month of May. That is essentially like losing the entire population of the state of Texas.
Many have speculated that this across-the-board drop in gaming traffic is a direct result of Facebook changes to its notification feed where users are no longer informed of every single change to your farm, town, or cow in your Facebook game.
There is a silver lining to these numbers though. Playdom, another of the major social game companies, experienced a growth of 1% during May. This is the result of numerous acquisitions (for example, the purchase of Three Melons with their hit soccer game Bola) and the launch of successful new titles such as Treetopia and growth of hits like Social City. Other social games buck the trend as well, such as iWin’s Family Feud.
Could the big drop in traffic from the Big 3 in social games be a result of the fact that they have not launched any new significant titles lately? Playfish just launched EA FIFA SuperStars and My Empire, CrowdStar launched Hello City, and Zynga has to release FrontierVille soon. Only time will tell whether this drop in traffic is just a blip in May or portends of sad tides to come.