Strategy games are hot in 2010, according to Inside Social Games. Citing Appdata numbers (which are the exact same numbers as recorded by Facebook, I love Inside Social Games and Appdata, but it’s just a feed of Facebook’s numbers, unless I’m missing something), the most popular and fastest growing games are strategy games. From Verdonia (3 million MAUs), Nanostar Seige, Backyard Monsters, and Evony, strategy games are hot!
Farming games? In the words of Bruno, “nicht!” FarmVille is riding high but has lost 20% over the past few months. None of the hundreds of farming games released this year on Facebook are gaining traction. People are either getting bored of raising crops in the same way I got bored of my home garden after a few months or there are so many farming games to choose from, people can’t pick one to stay with.
My take? A shift from farming to strategy games is a shift from a casual to a more hard-core audience (radical thing for Mr. Casual himself to say). With less free viral marketing, it makes sense that games that would gain popularity are ones that appeal to more hard core players who don’t need the notifications to be nudged to keep on playing.
Don’t worry, my fellow casual gamers. There are still more people playing FarmVille than all the most popular strategy games combined. The second most popular game is Zynga Poker, another casual game.
Finally, let me take it to the next level and predict the next big craze in Facebook games. It’s virtual pets/Sims like games like Playdom’s most recent release, Fanglies. That’s because games like this are perfect for Facebook’s social graph and can extend to offline merchandising revenues, away from Facebook’s clutches.
And there is nothing more casual than virtual pets games. Just ask Nintendo (a k a, Pokemon).