Playdemic credits Zynga with Village Life’s success, launching new game features soon

Alex_RigbyPlaydemic’s life management sim Village Life may have just launched a few months ago, but the game’s deep, original gameplay is already proving successful on the platform. Playdemic CCO Alex Rigby sat down to chat with us regarding the game’s initial success, as well as what’s in store for it in the near future.

Our review of Village Life called attention to its unique mechanics, and the game’s continuing to show strong growth. Village Life is still showing up in our weekly gainers lists, with AppData estimating the title has 4.77 million monthly active users on Facebook (showing its broader reach on the social network) and 276,725 daily active users (the best measure of a game’s core audience).

According to Rigby the major source of this success is largely due to Playdemic’s partnership with Zynga, which was announced just over a year ago at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. On Facebook,  the game is benefitting from Zynga’s cross promotion bar, pictured below, and it’s also enjoying prominent promotion on Zynga’s own web portal.

Screen 1

“We’re one of the top partners with Zynga, and Village Life has been getting a lot of attention through that,” he notes. “They give us different stages of traffic through the different channels they have at their disposal. They’re really pushing our metrics up there.” (more…)

Dragon City inhabits top spot on this week’s list of fastest-growing Facebook games by MAU

infeatureSocial Point’s Dragon City took the top spot on this week’s list of the fastest-growing Facebook games by monthly active users, up 2.61 million MAU for a gain of 13 percent. Since Dragon City launched in May 2012, the game’s gradually climbed the traffic charts, though it looks like the gains are slowing down to the point of plateauing in the near future.

Pretty Simple’s hidden object game Criminal Case took in 1.96 million MAU, putting the game at No. 2 with a 24 percent gain.’s newest “Saga” game, Pet Rescue Saga, came in at No. 3 with a 7 percent increase of 1.46 million MAU. Zynga’s CastleVille had 1.16 million MAU this week, placing at No. 4 with a 16 percent gain. CookApps’ Pengle rounded out the top five games on this week’s list with a 14 percent increase of 647,152 MAU.

Four games on this week’s list saw traffic gains greater than 30 percent. CMUNE’s free-to-play shooter UberStrike brought in 629,941 MAU, a 33 percent gain. Qublix’s Bubble Land was the big gainer this week, up 318 percent with 502,544 MAU. PopCap’s Hidden Agenda grabbed 315,065 MAU, a 37 percent increase. Finally, GameHouse’s GameHouse Casino grew by 56 percent with 825,287 MAU.

Name MAU_ESTIMATE Gain Gain,%
1.  Dragon City 21,318,750 +2,614,031 + 13%
2.  Criminal Case 9,712,500 +1,966,406 + 24%
3.  Pet Rescue Saga 23,343,750 +1,466,802 + 7%
4.  CastleVille 8,156,250 +1,157,919 + 16%
5.  Pengle 5,087,500 +647,152 + 14%
6.  UberStrike 2,406,250 +629,941 + 33%
7.  Bubble Land 618,750 +502,544 + 318%
8.  Panda Jam 3,825,000 +470,401 + 13%
9.  Bubble Island 7,468,750 +453,498 + 6%
10.  Family Farm 3,462,500 +398,202 + 11%
11.  Pool Live Tour 12,762,500 +396,213 + 3%
12.  Diamond Dash 24,717,139 +383,187 + 1%
13.  Disney City Girl 3,050,000 +378,955 + 13%
14.  Bejeweled Blitz 8,593,750 +372,761 + 4%
15.  Bubble Saga 4,137,500 +371,362 + 9%
16.  Baseball Heroes 3,775,000 +358,488 + 10%
17.  Marketland 2,812,500 +339,678 + 12%
18.  Village Life 4,775,000 +331,145 + 7%
19.  Hidden Agenda 1,100,000 +315,065 + 37%
20.  GameHouse Casino 825,287 +311,018 + 56%

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppDataCome back for our look at the fastest-growing Facebook games by daily active users on Wednesday and top emerging apps on Friday. You can learn more about Facebook’s new ranking system here.

Read our reviews of…

What’s the Phrase (iOS) review

What's The PhraseWhat’s The Phrase is a new iOS game from Zynga — specifically, the team behind the successful With Friends series. As usual for the series, the game is available in both free and paid incarnations, with the paid version being ad-free and providing players with additional in-game currency.

Like most of the other With Friends games, What’s The Phrase is based rather closely on an existing, established game format — in this case, the TV show Wheel of Fortune. The basic aim of the game is for players to guess a phrase on a given category by guessing letters and winning points — either for correct letter guesses or completely solving the puzzle.

Players have the option of viewing a tutorial before they start playing for real, in which the basic mechanics are introduced but a few key rules — such as the “three moves per turn” limitation — are not mentioned explicitly. Players may then begin a game by either inviting their Facebook friends — if they have connected the game to the social network, obviously — or challenging a random opponent. There is no apparent means of playing a challenge game against the computer.

When starting a new game, users have the option of playing one of several categories or sending their friend a custom puzzle of their own devising. If playing from a preset category, players take it in turns to take three moves and guess letters from the phrase, scoring varying numbers of points by spinning a wheel with each guess. Players may also “buy a vowel” for a few coins at a time, though this counts as one of their three moves. Once three moves have been taken, players have the option of handing the board over to their opponent, attempting to solve the phrase — which doesn’t seem to carry any penalties if incorrect — or using a powerup. Powerups include an extra turn, automatically revealing a consonant on the board, eliminating a single letter from the player’s own selection of letters, and setting score-sapping “bomb” traps on the other player’s keyboard. At the end of three rounds, the player with most points wins — though players only get to keep their points if they solve the phrase. Earned points contribute to a meter that gradually fills with each completed round; filling the meter rewards the player with additional coins which can subsequently be spent on new powerups, categories, vowels or items that help unlock new categories. (more…)

Pet Rescue Saga back on top of this week’s fastest-growing Facebook games by MAU’s Pet Rescue Saga managed to dominate this week’s list of the fastest-growing Facebook games by monthly active users, bringing in nearly 3.3 million MAU for a 17 percent gain.

Playdemic’s Village Life is continuing to grow, taking the No. 2 spot with a 44 percent gain of nearly 1.5 million MAU. Pretty Simple’s Criminal Case still seems to be on a winning streak, coming in at No. 3 with 910,486 MAU for a 12 percent gain.’s 8 Ball Pool snagged the No. 4 position with a 5 percent growth of 519,095 MAU. Zynga’s CastleVille rounded out the top five with 501,632 MAU, a 7 percent traffic increase.

Even though it’s early in the month, only two games on this week’s list had traffic percentage gains in the double digits. Plarium’s Total Domination was up by 39 percent with 468,902 MAU, most likely due to how the developer’s other core game Stormfall: Age of War is continuing to grow on Facebook. PopCap’s hidden object game Hidden Agenda took in 300,906 MAU, a 56 percent gain.

Name MAU_ESTIMATE Gain Gain,%
1.  Pet Rescue Saga 21,318,750 +3,228,595 + 17%
2.  Village Life 4,662,500 +1,492,150 + 44%
3.  Criminal Case 7,906,250 +910,486 + 12%
4.  8 Ball Pool 10,725,000 +519,095 + 5%
5.  CastleVille 7,050,000 +501,632 + 7%
6.  Total Domination 1,575,000 +468,902 + 39%
7.  Diamond Dash 24,331,250 +456,102 + 2%
8.  Bejeweled Blitz 9,350,000 +431,966 + 5%
9.  Bubble Witch Saga 16,712,500 +407,704 + 2%
10.  Hidden Agenda 800,000 +300,906 + 56%
11.  Pengle 4,468,750 +248,632 + 6%
12.  Royal Story 2,700,000 +220,247 + 8%
13.  Marketland 2,600,000 +206,973 + 8%
14.  Panda Jam 3,518,750 +201,471 + 6%
15.  CityVille 10,243,750 +176,461 + 2%
16.  Cafeland 3,037,500 +141,703 + 5%
17.  Dungeon Rampage 1,975,000 +140,458 + 7%
18.  Solitaire Blitz 1,961,445 +128,791 + 7%
19.  Disney City Girl 2,812,500 +121,705 + 4%
20.  UberStrike 1,800,000 +120,519 + 7%

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppDataCome back for our look at the fastest-growing Facebook games by daily active users on Wednesday and top emerging apps on Friday. You can learn more about Facebook’s new ranking system here.

Read our reviews of…

Arabic-language Happy Farm sports winning crop among fastest-growing Facebook games by DAU

infeatureFunPlus Game’s Arabic-language farming sim  المزرعة السعيدة (“Happy Farm”) was the fastest-growing Facebook game by daily active users this week, taking in 705,317 DAU for a 73 percent traffic gain.

Social Point’s Dragon City took the No. 2 spot, up 9 percent with 397,696 DAU. Zynga’s CastleVille saw an unexpected surge in traffic with a 30 percent gain of 277,816. Playdemic’s Village Life is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds, surging by 259,150 for a 30 percent gain.’s Candy Crush Saga ticked up 0.82 percent, courtesy of its 126,521 new DAU.

Most of the traffic gains this week stayed in the single digits, though five other titles saw traffic grow by more than 10 percent. PlayQ’s Bubble Blitz grew by 11 percent with 112,521 DAU. FunPlus Games had another game appear on the chart with the Turkish-language Bizim Çiftlik (“Our Farm”), up by 110,575 DAU for a 40 percent increase. Cie Games’ Car Town took in 102,599 DAU for a 16 percent gain. PopCap’s newly-launched Hidden Agenda continues to gain early footholds with 82,986 DAU for a 149 percent increase. Finally, Pixelfederation’s TrainStation brought in 46,564 DAU for a 35 percent gain.

Name DAU_ESTIMATE Gain Gain,%
1.  المزرعة السعيدة 1,707,363 +705,317 + 73%
2.  Dragon City 4,859,143 +397,696 + 9%
3.  CastleVille 1,157,457 +277,816 + 30%
4.  Village Life 417,897 +259,150 + 120%
5.  Candy Crush Saga 15,567,962 +126,521 + 0.82%
6.  Bubble Blitz 1,089,535 +112,026 + 11%
7.  Bizim Çiftlik 385,156 +110,575 + 40%
8.  Car Town 676,166 +102,599 + 16%
9.  Slotomania 2,031,342 +90,246 + 5%
10.  Tetris Battle 1,263,309 +90,091 + 7%
11.  Top Eleven Be a Football Manager 3,418,862 +88,653 + 3%
12.  Hidden Agenda 136,443 +82,986 + 149%
13.  Buggle 1,441,498 +80,370 + 6%
14.  Pengle 913,249 +75,519 + 9%
15.  FarmVille 2 8,417,796 +55,863 + 0.82%
16.  Texas HoldEm Poker 6,873,752 +53,932 + 0.82%
17.  TrainStation 137,065 +46,564 + 35%
18.  Words With Friends 6,021,336 +46,183 + 0.82%
19.  Social Empires 771,153 +43,169 + 6%

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppDataStay tuned for our look at the top emerging apps on Friday.

Read our reviews of…

FarmVille 2 returns to the top of this week’s fastest-growing Facebook games by MAU

infeatureZynga’s FarmVille 2 is once again the big winner this week when it comes to the fastest-growing Facebook games by monthly active users, taking the No. 1 spot with 5.4 million MAU.’s Candy Crush Saga took No. 2 with 5 million MAU, a 12 percent gain. Playdemic’s Village Life is continuing to grow, coming in at No. 3 with 1.5 million MAU for a 75 percent increase. Playdom’s Disney City Girl is also continuing to gain, bringing in 831,340 MAU for a 41 percent growth. Pretty Simple’s Criminal Case rounds out the top five games on our list with a 9 percent gain of 592,714 MAU.

As it’s approaching the end of the month, gain percentages this week aren’t as great as they were in the past weeks. However, three games had traffic percentage increases greater than 40 percent. PopCap’s new hidden object title Hidden Agenda was up 173 percent with 345,052 MAU. Kabam’s Kingdoms of Camelot took in 148,164 MAU for a 43 percent gain. Finally, Stunt Dirt Bike grew by 60 percent with 139,718 MAU.

Name MAU_ESTIMATE Gain Gain,%
1.  FarmVille 2 40,623,485 +5,434,728 + 15%
2.  Candy Crush Saga 45,941,454 +5,031,559 + 12%
3.  Village Life 3,434,831 +1,475,132 + 75%
4.  Disney City Girl 2,853,552 +831,340 + 41%
5.  Criminal Case 7,450,941 +592,714 + 9%
6.  8 Ball Pool 10,826,323 +415,919 + 4%
7.  Hidden Agenda 544,288 +345,052 + 173%
8.  Bubble Origins 1,354,116 +309,750 + 30%
9.  Angry Birds Friends 11,031,092 +294,740 + 3%
10.  Royal Story 2,635,572 +294,063 + 13%
11.  Bubble Age 2,747,865 +266,664 + 11%
12.  Car Town 4,438,858 +261,393 + 6%
13.  Family Farm 3,467,858 +221,675 + 7%
14.  Marketland 2,543,096 +194,935 + 8%
15.  UberStrike 1,783,470 +186,987 + 12%
16.  Hoop De Loop Saga 5,046,559 +163,980 + 3%
17.  Social Wars 6,347,832 +161,458 + 3%
18.  Kingdoms of Camelot 496,729 +148,164 + 43%
19.  Stunt Dirt Bike 373,868 +139,718 + 60%
20.  GameHouse Casino 458,591 +113,879 + 33%

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppDataCome back for our look at the fastest-growing Facebook games by daily active users on Wednesday and top emerging apps on Friday. You can learn more about Facebook’s new ranking system here.

Read our reviews of…

Social games news roundup

Yahoo-Japan-and-GREE-315x236Yahoo Japan and GREE join forces, co-found new social game dev— Yahoo Japan and GREE announced this week they were launching a joint-venture company that will be focused on developing social games for smartphones. The company’s name is GxYz; GREE will hold a 51 percent stake in the company, with Yahoo owning the rest. The two parent companies committed approximately $2.2 million to the new developer, which will be focused on Japanese audiences.

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 2.37.44 PMArcane Legends rolls out “Kraken Isles” update— Spacetime Studios’ Arcane Legends had its newest update, Kraken Isles, launch this week. The expansion brings pirate action to the game, with increased level caps, new pets and gear to collect and the ability to travel by ship. Arcane Legends is available for free on the App StoreGoogle Play or the Chrome Web Store.

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 2.41.24 PMDraw Something reaches 100 M downloads— Zynga announced Draw Something reached 100 million downloads this week. To celebrate the milestone, Zynga released an infographic to note several of the game’s highlights, including being played in 190 countries for a total play time of of 28,000 years. You can see the full graphic on Zynga’s blog.

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 1.53.05 PM

[Launch] Flutter: Butterfly Sanctuary arrives on iOS — DeNA and Runaway this week released Flutter: Butterfly Sanctuary on mobile devices this week. THe game has players caring for sections of a rainforest where they raise butterflies.

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 2.10.57 PM[Launch] MLB: Full Deck arrives on Android—  GREE’s baseball-themed card-battling game MLB: Full Deck has proved popular for the developer on iOS, and now it’s coming over to Android. GREE says the game can be played across any mobile operating system (meaning iOS and Android users should be able to play against one another).

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 2.15.39 PM[Launch] Zombies & Trains lurches to Android— We get a lot of of notices about games with zombies, but this is a new one. Norwegian developer Dragonhead Games just launched Zombies & Trains! for Android, following the game’s iOS release. Players use trains to “blast through waves of zombies” and the game is available for $0.99.

Social games news roundup: Playdek, Zynga’s love survey, SqueeDogs and more


Playdek launches President’s Day Weekend sale – Mobile game developer Playdek is hosting a sale for the long weekend. iOS players can pick up Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer for $2.99, and the in-app expansions Return of the Fallen and Storm of Souls for $1.99 and $2.99, respectively; Nightfall for $.99; Penny Arcade the Game: Gamers vs Evil for $2.99; and the “Everything Bundle” in-app purchase within Summoner Wars for $4.99.


Mother and son launch Facebook game SqueeDogs – Game developer Pirate Epstein, at the urging of his mother Cerise Jacobs, has launched a 3D Facebook pet sim called SqueeDogs using $10,000 in Kickstarter funds. As Wicked Local’s Brookline blog reports, the project got off the ground because Jacobs wanted a game that starred her rescue dog, Mencius.


Zynga Valentine’s Day poll reveals that With Friends players flirt with chat – An annual Zynga survey of players reveals that people sometimes flirt in social/mobile games. Highlights from the survey include: 30 percent of players flirt with their opponent through the chat feature; 23 percent try to play higher-scoring words against someone to whom they are attracted; 24 percent are more competitive when playing against somebody they have romantic feelings for; 53 percent report being more attracted to players with a good vocabulary; and 26 percent of married players play with their spouse.


Teen creates social network for cancer patients that love video games – Polygon reports that cancer survivor Steven Gonzalez is creating a social network for teens with cancer that want to play video games together. The not-for-profit network, Survivor Games, will function like a virtual arcade where players can chat, game together or spectate other games.


Why Sony couldn’t get PlayStation Portable games to work on smartphones – Two years since launching an unsuccessful campaign to bring PlayStation Portable games to Android devices like the Sony Xperia tablets and phones, Sony’s Chris Mahoney explained to the audience at the Appsworld conference in San Francisco why the company had to rejigger its approach to mobile games: “What people were saying is not that we have to fit these games into the device, but fit these games into how people use it. People are using games during these little bursts of time. So we thought, what is a console game? A console game is ten 30-60-minute levels. Mobile games are like hundreds of levels that are three to six minutes, sometimes even less. What if we take the higher quality graphics, and the narratives that everyone is asking for, and we put it on a mobile phone and fit it into these little bursts of time. We took that back to consumers, and they said ‘Yes, that’s it exactly, that’s what we want.'” Read the rest on GamesIndustry International.


[Launch] PerBlue brings Boardtastic to Android – Parallel Kingdoms developer PerBlue brings free-to-play 3D skateboarding sim Boardtastic for Android this week. The game offers a competitive multiplayer mode, a set of five tricks to master and new abilities to unlock as the player progresses and clothing customization that offers player bonuses.


[Press Release] Investment group App Fund seeking mobile game submissions – The App Fund, an investment group dedicated to supporting mobile apps across a broad range of categories is seeking mobile game submissions. Interested parties can apply here and check out the press release detailing the App Fund’s approach here.


[Press Release] EA to launch Tetris Blitz on iPhone, Android – This spring, EA will bring a new flavor of Tetris to mobile devices with Tetris Blitz. The game challenges players to reach a high score in a fixed amount of time and the touch interface offers a new control scheme.

Breaking: EA and Zynga reach settlement in lawsuit surrounding The Ville

gavelInside Social Games has learned that Zynga and Electronic Arts have reached a settlement and are moving to dismiss the lawsuit that was filed last summer surrounding The Ville. The decision is now in the court’s hands.

At the moment, details are scarce about the settlement.

Zynga released the following statement this morning: “EA and Zynga have resolved their respective claims and have reached a settlement of their litigation in the Northern District of California.”

The lawsuit was originally filed against Zynga by EA in August 2012. Earlier that summer, Zynga launched its lifestyle sim game, The Ville, and garnered criticism from across the internet over the game’s similarities to EA’s own The Sims Social. At the time, EA claimed it was “standing up for the industry” with its lawsuit. We had a different take on the lawsuit.

Shortly afterward, Zynga countersued EA. The counter-suit alleged EA violated anti-trust laws and claimed the company had copied the visual style of CityVille with SimCity Social and actively tried to prevent Zynga from hiring employees away from EA. EA, for its part, called Zynga’s filing “a subterfuge aimed at diverting attention from Zynga’s persistent plagiarism of other artists and studios.”

Neither The Ville nor SimCity Social really paid off for their developers. Although The Ville saw high traffic levels when it launched, the numbers dropped dramatically in the months following its launch.

The game was no longer appearing on either of our lists of Top 25 Facebook games by December (though it dropped off the Top 25 Facebook games by DAU in October). SimCity Social, meanwhile, only appeared on the Top 25 Facebook games list in August before it also started to lose users, likely due to a lack of content after completing the main chapter-spanning quest surrounding a UFO crash.

The lawsuit has held the attention of both the press and game developers, primarily because it surrounded two of the biggest players in the games industry. Prior to this, there had been a similar lawsuit between SpryFox and 6waves (formerly 6waves Lolapps), where SpryFox accused 6waves of cloning its popular social game Triple Town with its own game, Yeti Town. That suit was settled in October after a judge denied 6waves’ request to dismiss the case, with SpryFox receiving ownership of the Yeti Town IP. Both of these cases would have set precedent when it came to video game law and what it could mean when a developer cloned (or “fast followed”) titles from other companies.


2 months in the theme park: A CoasterVille deep dive

coastervillefeatureCoasterVille launched in early December and started to seriously climb the charts towards the end of the month. Two months later, the game has taken over the No. 1 spot among Facebook games by MAU and can be played both on Facebook and Zynga’s own platform.

We’ve been playing CoasterVille since it launched, logging into the game a couple of times on a near daily basis. As is the case with our deep dives, we’ve made a point of playing CoasterVille without actually monetizing so we can provide an informed analysis about what the experience is like for free players.

Just how far can you get without paying?

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 10.29.01 AM

So how far can users advance in CoasterVille before starting to feel pressure to monetize? For us, it was around level 25 that progress notably slowed down. In the three weeks since that point it’s become much more difficult to complete quests in the game without buying and spending the game’s hard currency, Park Cash. Since then, our progress has slowed and we’ve only moved up to level 28. As you can see in the above screenshot, there are a number of open missions we haven’t completed because we’ve been trying to play through the game without spending any money. We currently have four buildings requiring speciality items, at least one of these has been stuck at this stage for three weeks.

The game’s friend system is a huge boon for early player progress. While any Facebook Friends are added to the list of “neighbors”, the game continues to add other users in the game to this group, too. Players are encouraged to visit their neighbor’s parks to assist with tasks in exchange for the Inspiration resources, which are necessary for construction and expansion. During early stages of a park’s existence, these neighbors make it much easier to advance through the game without being forced to buy Park Cash.

As opposed to other social games, CoasterVille’s been rather stingy when it comes to handing out hard currency, even when players level up. Likewise, more and more of the buildings one needs to build in order to achieve milestones require special items that can’t be earned by searching/boosting existing structures or crafted. Players instead have the option to ask their friends for these items as in-game gifts, but these requests don’t go out as in-game messages to users’ neighbors (as opposed to requests for less crucial items). Instead, they’re posted to one’s Timeline, where the request isn’t likely to be spotted. While it’s certainly possible to ask for the help and then follow up/nag your friends, the faster and less frustrating option is just to buy some Park Cash and acquire the items you need.

Looking at our list of in-game friends —which includes but isn’t limited to our Facebook friends playing the game— it seems players looking to experience CoasterVille for free seem to be stuck around the same level point we are. A quick tour of their parks reveals similar problems completing structures that require premium items. Some of our neighbors are continuing to advance at a steady rate, and their parks are substantially larger and full of hard-to-construct buildings (pictured below). Unfortunately, we couldn’t message any of these people since they’re outside our Facebook network, but it looks like they’ve been spending money on a somewhat regular basis in order to acquire new territory and premium building items.

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 10.29.39 AM

If we’re correct and free players are hitting this progress wall, then they may be leaving the game around this point. Assuming that’s the case, it would would certainly explain the game’s loss in DAU traffic we recently noted.

The game’s performance so far, plus what’s coming

According Zynga’s General Manager Hans Yang, custom coasters have proven to be the best-monetizing items in the game. Aside from sometimes requiring premium items to add expansions, players can also change the coaster track features by placing unique features like banks, loops and covered sections. Although some of these custom sections can be added via in-game gold, the showier customizations require Park Cash in order to be placed.

Yang also tells us the game is currently monetizing as expected, with themed content (attractions tied to seasons and holidays) performing especially well over December and January. “We ended up leaving [the winter content] on longer than expected because, even well into January, players were still interested in winter stuff,” he says. Yang also notes Zynga was very pleased with the winter content because it was rolled out during the game’s soft-launch period. At the time we chatted, Zynga was about to launch its Valentine’s Day-themed content, which is running for another 19 days.

Zynga’s also gearing up to start rolling out the game’s post-launch content. Yang says there are three themes coming, but the development team isn’t rolling them out all at once; instead, the release times will be balanced so as not to overwhelm player demand. He explains the point of the updates is to “fill out a theme park with everything a player would expect to see there.” These updates will include things like mascots (who will wander around parks), tour busses, and railroads with custom train types to wind around one’s park.

Zynga’s also planning to add more depth to to the game’s guest theme simulator. This controls guest behavior, driving them to seek out things like food, restrooms and first aid facilities. “We want to build on that more and more. We know a lot of players look at this as their ant farm, they view those guests as people they want to please. When they see guests are unhappy, they work to make them happy. We want to keep expanding on that and adding depth so the ‘ants’ will keep getting smarter and smarter , which means you’ll get smarter and smarter as a park manager as well.

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 4.56.26 PM

Brand placement is likely to continue being a noticeable presence in CoasterVille. Late in January, Progressive Insurance partnered up with Zynga to customize the centerpiece carousel that appears in players’ parks; Yang tells us this kind of in-game branding will likely continue, but doesn’t go into specifics.”A theme park game is pretty fitting for those custom ad products because you expect to see them there. If you go into Disneyland, you see Kodak photo spots and Coca-Cola vending stations.

One thing that won’t change, Yang tells us, is how the game stays accessible to free players. “In the short run, you could say ‘oh, well, I should chase the money and pinch our players right off the bat and not give them enough of the things so they have to pay for them,'” he explains. “But that wasn’t our philosophy for this game. We want players to invest time in their parks and love them. We realize not every player wants to spend money on these games and we want to make it a delightful experience for everyone.”

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