By: Leo Mikinberg
Gaming in social media is a race to find the next big thing. Companies churn out games constantly, hoping that the next one will catch fire. "FarmVille", produced by Zynga, currently holds the top spot as the most active application on Facebook. With over 60 million monthly active users it is the benchmark that all game developers are striving to reach and exceed. Two companies to watch out for, Arkadium and Playfish, are working quickly and spending money in order to beat Zynga at its own game.
Arkadium is actually not a social media gaming company, or at least it wasn’t. The company is known more for its casual games, spin-offs and modernized versions of Solitaire, Mahjong and Scrabble. They re-launched “Mahjongg Dimensions” as a Facebook game earlier this year and garnered over 1.1 million users. That is far off from "FarmVille", but now that it has had its own taste of viral growth it is expanding its company from 80 employees to over 100. The new group of 20, all of which were hired over the last quarter, is going to be strictly focusing on social gaming.
Playfish is a more established social gaming company with 14 games currently running on Facebook. They are the minds behind “Pet Society”, “EA SPORTS™ FIFA Superstars”, and their newest game “Pirates AHOY!”. The company has had some success on Facebook with approximately 13 million monthly active users playing Pet Society. While that is still less than 1/3 the users that "FarmVille" boasts, the company is looking to chip away at dollars, not just users. It has recently launched an official "Pet Society" Figurine, currently selling on Amazon for $24.99. If the figurine sells well, we may see a more complete line of figurines and toys from Playfish.
As Playfish and Arkadium gain traction they will soon find themselves biting at the heels of Zynga. With teams of designers and developers working to come up with the next big thing in the world of social gaming it is only a matter of time until Zynga and "FarmVille" are knocked out of the top spot.
How do you think social media and companies like Playfish are going to change the market for video games? Will we see all video gaming go social in the next 5 years?