Zynga Launches FishVille — How Big Will This Virtual Aquarium Game Get?

Facebook | FishVille[It looks like not all of the bad offers had been taken out of FishVille's offer wall, we are disappointed to say. In the latest embarrassment to the industry, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington took a closer look at some of the offers in the FishVille offer wall provided by DoubleDing, and noted some apparently scammy ones. He also discovered that his account was blocked from seeing these offers, while others weren't.

Here's what Zynga told him in response: We asked all offer provider networks to remove the mobile category. Upon learning today that one provider was still showing 6 ads, we asked them to remove these too. They told us they hadn’t realized this was still in their testing queue and immediately removed them.”]

Zynga, the largest developer on Facebook — and one that has come under increasing scrutiny recently for its use of scammy advertising offers in games — has just soft-launched a new title called FishVille.

The 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 users — and no, we didn’t forget a few zeros in that number.

The game is what you get when you cross the very popular new genre of Facebook apps built around the virtual aquarium idea, together with Zynga’s ruthless ability to take popular genres and create its own hit to compete against entrenched leaders.

The company has done the same with Mafia Wars among role-playing games, with FarmVille among virtual farming apps, and most recently Café World among virtual restaurant apps. Those titles are now at or near the top of our leaderboard of the largest apps overall on Facebook’s platform.

FishVille on Facebook-1

FishVille, in particular, is taking aim at recent winners like Happy Aquarium from CrowdStar. That game has recently surged past a number of big Zynga titles to reach 24.0 million monthly active users, and it is now the fifth largest app on the entire Facebook platform, according to AppData. Others, like Fish World, have also gotten millions of users. In fact, we’re not quite sure how many big fish games there are on Facebook — there are a few significant ones made by Asia-based developers, for example. Virtual aquarium games, from our understanding, first got big in China, before they got big as apps on Facebook.

FishVille on Facebook-2

Fishville itself is pretty straightforward. You start with a virtual aquarium, with a few fish in it. You harvest the fish, sell them, use your earnings to buy fish eggs, then feed the fish. If you’ve played FarmVille, you’re probably familiar with this dynamic. Other features include the ability to invite friends, and earn additional coins and experience by visiting their tanks. As with other games, Zynga has users wait certain amounts of time as their fish grow — a good method of keeping people coming back for more.

FishVille on Facebook-3

And, of course, if you need some extra coins in order to buy more fish, you can purchase them through the usual variety of direct payment methods, or earn them through offers. A look at Zynga’s offer wall shows that things are pretty clean now — yes, there are mobile quiz ads, for example, but these are actually allowed by Facebook if the offers do not mislead users about what they’re getting into.

Growth to come?

Zynga, no doubt, plans to cross-promote this app with its other popular titles, as well as buy ads on Facebook to help get it in front of more users. Those two strategies have been key to how it has grown other games.

But Zynga has also excelled at optimizing “viral channels” to reach new users,  Before Facebook changed its news feed from a raw stream to a slower, algorithmically-tuned one a couple weeks ago, Zynga had mastered the art of getting users to share information from games into the stream. This means users were seeing massive amounts of stories about FarmVille, etc. — and now they’re not, so much. Zynga’s games seem to have done fine since the redesign rolled out on October 23rd, from the little data we have available to work with (see more, here and here).

Name MAU↓
1. icon FarmVille 63,304,313
2. icon Causes 35,209,300
3. icon Café World 28,477,669
4. icon Mafia Wars 25,782,246
5. icon Happy Aquarium 24,002,808
6. icon Pet Society 21,468,688
7. icon FamilyLink.com (formerly We’re Related) 20,522,599
8. icon YoVille 19,735,219
9. icon Texas HoldEm Poker 18,757,583
10. icon Farm Town 18,380,105

So we’re very interested to see if Zynga can pull off a repeat of Café World, which launched at the beginning of October and since then has grown to be the third-largest app, with 28.5 million monthly actives as of today.

The wild card — or actually, a lot of wild cards — will be the changes that Facebook is planning to introduce to its platform this month. Features like notifications will shortly be folded in to users’ inboxes. For example, the app currently uses the one-line feed item story to automatically share user actions back to their profile walls — a practice that users sometimes find surprising, and one that won’t be available for too much longer.

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Leave a Reply

47 Responses to “Zynga Launches FishVille — How Big Will This Virtual Aquarium Game Get?”

  1. Montoya says:

    Eric, are you serious? Surely you should know that publishing one-line profile stories without the user’s permission is a very old Facebook feature and does not require user approval. It’s completely within policies and a lot of apps have been doing it since the early days of the platform.

  2. Eric Eldon says:

    Montoya, I know it’s been there, I’d thought that Facebook was moving against the practice already.

  3. Laurent Courtines says:

    Damn!

  4. cameron says:

    I just tried out Fishville and this app seems to get an allocation of 60 “invites/requests” per day on only their first day of release!

    Most new apps get much less allocation by default when they are first released. Why do Facebook give Zynga special treatment by giving them huge initial allocations??

  5. FishVille Launches on Facebook; It’s Like Underwater FarmVille | NASZAKLASA says:

    [...] indeed it was, with FishVille launching in beta today. It’s a bit of a late contender to the aquarium games space, with Happy Aquarium, Fish [...]

  6. FishVille Joins the Facebook Social Game Mania | 901am says:

    [...] FishVille joins the ranks of other Facebook social games that will surely annoy you with updates if you don’t hide on your Facebook live feeds. Zynga is currently soft launching this game on Facebook. [...]

  7. FishVille Launches on Facebook; It’s Like Underwater FarmVille « TechTalk says:

    [...] indeed it was, with FishVille launching in beta today. It’s a bit of a late contender to the aquarium games space, with Happy Aquarium, Fish [...]

  8. Gray Duce says:

    Ahhh… another rehashed (almost exact) copy of something popular at the moment. Oh how I hate Zynga.

  9. FishVille Game Launched on Facebook After FarmVille Success | TechNama says:

    [...] blog site, the game is a late contender to the arena as there are already other famous titles. InsideSocialGames has to say the following on the launch of [...]

  10. “Horrible Things” Slink Back Into Zynga says:

    [...] we were surprised yesterday to see a screen shot clearly showing a mobile subscription ad in a post on InsideSocialGames about the launch of a new Zynga game, [...]

  11. Shooting at Bubbles - Zynga shows just how slimy advertisers can get says:

    [...] we were surprised yesterday to see a screen shot clearly showing a mobile subscription ad in a post on InsideSocialGames about the launch of a new Zynga game, [...]

  12. i am correct in my point of view says:

    WOWW…I THINK IT IS VERY USE FULL …KEEP POSTING..

  13. giafly says:

    fishing meets phishing

  14. 詐欺まがい商法の正常化 « maclalala:link says:

    [...] Zynga Launches FishVille ― How Big Will This Virtual Aquarium Game Get? | Inside Social Games コメントを書く « 直ちにアップデートしてください、さもないとコンテンツが消えます [...]

  15. Zynga’s FishVille Swims With The Fishes For Ad Violations says:

    [...] is a relatively light slap on the wrist since the game only launched two days ago and had a couple of thousand users. Zynga’s other games, including FarmVille [...]

  16. Capri says:

    Zynga is not getting me to use their crappy viral games, and it’s clear they are trying to be the only game on Facebook. I’m sick to death of my news-feed getting cluttered with stories every time friends use these lame apps, so, have stopped coming to Facebook altogether unless I get a direct notification about a comment a friend has made on my wall or an invite to a group or cause or something. Zynga, take your chain letter applications and go away! For that matter, Facebook has never really put a stop to all the viral user-collecting crap apps that have taken over. Zynga’s just the latest to get in there and try to monopolize the whole thing, and several of my friends have become hopelessly addicted, blissfully unaware of the fact they are just cogs in a huge viral scheme.

  17. Facebook Takes FishVille Offline and Zynga Takes its Offer Providers Offline says:

    [...] Zynga launched FishVille last Friday, and when we covered it we noted the presence of mobile offers. The ones we saw looked legitimate, but TechCrunch found some that weren’t. Offer provider DoubleDing said it had included these offers by mistake. But the mistake came at a terrible time, as the entire industry has been tarnished by the presence of scammy offers in games. [...]

  18. This Week’s Headlines from Inside Social Games says:

    [...] More World to the Virtual New Games Hit Stride in This Week’s Up and Coming Facebook Games List Zynga Launches FishVille — How Big Will This Virtual Aquarium Game Get? Spore Grows on to Facebook Social Gaming Roundup: A Tough Week, Cyworld, Miraphonic, Storm8, Glu, [...]

  19. ZyngaのFishVilleゲーム、違反広告でFacebookが利用停止 says:

    [...] これは、このゲームが2日前にスタートしたばかりで、ユーザー数が数千人であることを考えれば比較的軽いお仕置きだ(アップデート:ZyngaによるとFishVilleのユーザー数は昨日時点で87万5000人だそうだ。ワォッ。)。Zyngaの他のゲームは、ユーザー数6300万人のFarmVilleを含めて未だに稼動中だ。そちらでも同じ広告出しているのだが。 [...]

  20. Just Social – Facebook takes Fishville offline and Zynga takes its offers offline says:

    [...] Zynga launched FishVille last Friday, and when we covered it we noted the presence of mobile offers. The ones we saw looked legitimate, but TechCrunch found some that weren’t. Offer provider DoubleDing said it had included these offers by mistake. But the mistake came at a terrible time, as much of the industry has been already tarnished by the presence of scammy offers in games. [...]

  21. Slide Gets Into the Virtual Aquarium Business with Top Fish says:

    [...] from now on in the article) big game developers have been quick to follow up. We already looked at Zynga’s new FishVille game last Friday. Today, we have another fish game: Top Fish, from [...]

  22. Facebook nimmt FishVille von Zynga offline - Onlinespiele News says:

    [...] der großen Social Gaming Anbieter von Facebook berichtet. Am Wochenende hat es den neuen Titel FishVille von Zynga getroffen: Facebook hat das Spiel (875,000 Spieler bis dahin) aufgrund von “Ad Policy [...]

  23. With Hit Social Game Happy Aquarium, CrowdStar Steps Into the Spotlight says:

    [...] the aquarium with the wave of your mouse cursor. Other fishing games, notably Fish World (and now, Zynga’s new FishVille), tend to rely more on the production and sale of [...]

  24. FishVille Launches on Facebook; It’s Like Underwater FarmVille | XtremelySocial.com says:

    [...] indeed it was, with FishVille launching in beta today. It’s a bit of a late contender to the aquarium games space, with Happy Aquarium, Fish [...]

  25. PCEXPERTOS says:

    mas sobre fishville

    http://pcexpertos.com/2009/11/fishville-de-zynga.html

  26. FishVille Gets Millions of Users in First Week, But Sees Slower Growth Than Past Zynga Titles says:

    [...] the launch of Zynga’s FishVille, I’ve been watching to see if the developer could again eclipse records for user growth. The [...]

  27. Fish Life is Another Big Virtual Aquarium Game on Facebook says:

    [...] analyzed each of the five virtual aquarium games we’ve previously covered — Top Fish, FishVille, Happy Aquarium, Fish World, and My Fishbowl. But there’s another one, that’s been out [...]

  28. How Big Will FishVille Get? It Already Has 9 Million Users, Mostly Gained Last Week says:

    [...] obvious: The virtual aquarium application has reached 9.24 million users, according to AppData. The game actually launched early this month, but wasn’t being promoted through Facebook advertising or on Zynga’s toolbar until the [...]

  29. FishVille: A Marinated Review says:

    [...] okay, it’s been more than a week since FishVille first launched. We were just marinating a formal review, that’s all. Frankly, even without a formal critique, [...]

  30. FishVille says:

    Very very good game. Perfect!

  31. tiffany says:

    u suck cause i cant play it online

  32. judy says:

    I love your games i dont have any trouble with any of them except fishville..a dirty tank opens & i click sponge & nothing happens..there are no options or neighbors at the bottom or sides of the screen..please help

  33. ruth says:

    Hi !! I have alot of fun with your games .

  34. lauren says:

    it was crap i watted to go on faqrmville or fishville wit out going on facebook

  35. lauren says:

    im sooo bored in class (yorn yorn

  36. Ты смотришь на рыб, Zynga смотрит на тебя « SocialPlay.ru – Сайт хорошего настроения says:

    [...] игр для Facebook, Zynga, на волне успеха других «аквариумов» выпустил собственный — FishVille (Facebook, [...]

  37. FarmVille: The Biggest Social Game of 2009, By the Numbers says:

    [...] recent Zynga games have grabbed the headlines this fall — first Café World, then FishVille and most recently PetVille — virtual farming game FarmVille continues to grow by millions of [...]

  38. ISG: FarmVille Is the Biggest Social Game of 2009, By the Numbers says:

    [...] recent Zynga games have grabbed the headlines this fall — first Café World, then FishVille and most recently PetVille — virtual farming game FarmVille continues to grow by millions of [...]

  39. CrowdStar Launches Virtual Tourism Game Happy Island, Using Only Facebook Credits says:

    [...] market leader Zynga. That developer followed up on Happy Aquarium and other aquarium games with FishVille in November, then followed up on Happy Pets (and preceding pet games, like Pet Society and [...]

  40. angélik says:

    Salut ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt

  41. meredith says:

    how do i get a facebook

  42. War, and Peace — A Look at Two Lesser Known Facebook Titles says:

    [...] is your standard virtual aquarium game. It is a bit behind the times, as that boom appeared to peak last fall, but the game is still a decent rendition of this common genre. The basics are all present: buy [...]

  43. Derek Walsh says:

    I love fishing

  44. Derek Walsh says:

    I hate fishville

  45. Abdal says:

    wow very nise game

  46. dsone says:

    amazing stuff thanx

  47. Zynga's FishVille Goes Live On Facebook - AllFacebook says:

    [...] If you want to spend your time building a virtual fish tank, go check out FishVille. Also check out Inside Social Games who first broke the news of this application. Comments Share Tags Games [...]

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