Zynga Trademarks FishVille — Get Ready for a Big Aquarium Game

Picture 14In what can only be a gut-wrenching moment for the developers of aquarium simulations games like Happy Aquarium and My Fishbowl, Zynga received a trademark to the name “FishVille” last week. This almost certainly means that Zynga will launch a version of the game, and quite likely grow it quickly.

The trademark comes as the company enjoys the successful launch of Café World, a restaurant simulation that directly challenges Playfish’s Restaurant City. Café World grew by 10 million users in a week, through Zynga’s methods of cross-promotion with its other games, advertising on Facebook, and building increasingly high-quality game-play.

n134920244184_1261Café World itself follows Zynga’s launch of FarmVille, a farm simulation game that copies others, like Farm Town. And, before that, Mafia Wars, which copied Psycho Monkey’s Mob Wars, which itself was part of an intellectual property dispute with SGN. Copying is how things go in social gaming these days.

As spotted first by Trademork, the trademark for FishVille covers:

“computer game software, video games, online games, and game related applications; interactive video game programs; electronic games and game related applications that may be accessed via the internet, computers and wireless devices; computer software to enable uploading, posting, showing, displaying, tagging, blogging, sharing or otherwise providing electronic media or information regarding the fields of virtual communities, electronic gaming, entertainment, and general interest via the Internet or other communications networks with third parties” as well as “entertainment services, namely, providing computer games, enhancements for computer games, game applications, reviews of computer games, and information relating to computer games; providing an Internet website portal in the field of computer games, gaming and social networking; Entertainment services, namely, providing social games and information regarding social networking via the Internet”.

app_1_215779025017_3377This is not to say that Zynga is the least original developer. FarmVille and Café World both use some original dynamics. If anything, improving quality is now a key part of Zynga’ strategy.

Which is why the aquarium threat is so real. At this point, it’s not clear what exactly will slow down Zynga. It is at least twice as large as the nearest developer on the platform — Playfish. Maybe something big, like a severe design change by Facebook, or the entrance of a well-funded competitor.

Happy Aquarium is made by a developer called CrowdStar. The app was just added to AppData, which shows CrowdStar’s other games totaling only 324,000 – Happy Aquarium alone has 10.2 million monthly active users. We’ve been tracking the progress of My Fishbowl lately as it has climbed up the charts. It’s a product of Chinese-language developer TwoFishes Interactive.

[Fish image from Zazzle via John Battelle]

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10 Responses to “Zynga Trademarks FishVille — Get Ready for a Big Aquarium Game”

  1. utifrån in – 2009-10-13 « walfisz – inifrån ut says:

    [...] Zynga Trademarks FishVille — Get Ready for a Big Aquarium Game – zynga kör verkligen stenhårt på konceptet att kopiera andras orginalidéer, förbättra kvaliteten och sedan marknadsföra via sina andra spel. ett vinnande koncept utan tvekan. kvalitet är nyckeln. [...]

  2. Scott says:

    You really have to give Zynga credit for what they’re doing, but I can’t help but think this “copy and improve” business plan will last forever. Something has got to give eventually.

    I do feel sorry for the developers who come up with something unique and get great growth because they came up with an original idea….only for Zynga to come in and basically bully their way to the top of the market too. Can’t blame Zynga for a second, but just wait til social gaming inevitably gets more saturated. General rule of thumb seems to be if anyone is doing THAT well, it’s only a matter of time before everyone loses a share of the pie to the hundreds of new competitors…

  3. Scott says:

    Sorry, I meant “won’t last forever”

  4. Zynga Launches FishVille — How Big Will This Virtual Aquarium Game Get? says:

    [...] company trademarked the name “FishVille” recently, so the launch is perhaps no surprise. But the move was very quiet, as the app currently has 61 [...]

  5. whitney says:

    my game stopped working dose it only work for so long

  6. Hunter Howard says:


  7. Zynga’s December Trademark Spree Shows Potential New Titles says:

    [...] in the sense that the company has been busy trademarking names for future games. FishVille was one example from last fall, then PetVille was another, and now Games.com has noticed that the company has [...]

  8. In Hot Social Gaming Market, CrowdStar Considers Options says:

    [...] been building games and other applications on Facebook since 2008, but it exploded last fall with hit game Happy Aquarium, and it has since launched two followups that have done well in their own rights, Happy Pets and [...]

  9. Dolly Martinez says:

    I was playing Happy Aquarium on facebook and one day over a month ago I just lost it. I have tried to reach someone don’t know what else to do. Would appreciate it if any one can help. Thank You

  10. DASIA says:


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