Games are a big part of Facebook, but have you ever wondered which of the the social media platform’s universally recognized games are the most popular and – consequently – the most financially successful for their creators? Some of the contenders in the list of most popular ever Facebook games are obvious – others might surprise you.
If you have a Facebook account, you’re probably already familiar with Candy Crush. Even if you’ve managed to avoid playing the game yourself, it’s impossible to not notice how loved the game is amongst users of the social media site. At the height of its popularity, Candy Crush was played by more than 93 million people on an average of one billion times per day. Though the game is free to play and around 70% of regular players never pay a dime, the game has nonetheless managed to amass hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from in-game purchases. Why is it so popular? The Candy Crush phenomena can be put down to the winning formula of it being accessible and easy to play, graphically colourful and alluring, and having an addictive quality that comes from the rewarding sense one gains from making progress.
This fantasy game developed by Social Point was the second highest rated on Facebook in 2012. Though that was a good few years ago, Dragon City remains a hugely popular game with over 25 million regular players. The purpose of the game is for players to raise dragons and create their own dragon city upon floating islands. The appeal of this game is similar to that of Neopets and Tamagotchi – nurturing a virtual pet and controlling the environment in which they are raised has proved a winning concept on which to base games.
That a poker game should make for one of the most popular apps on Facebook is to be expected. Online poker sites have, after all, proven very successful since the early days of the internet, in part because of their quick-play format and social aspect. Though many game developers have brought an online poker variant to the social media platform, it is Zynga that has created the most favored Facebook game amongst poker players. The game is largely focused on Texas Hold’Em, and allows users to play with virtual money or real cash – the latter contributing toward its incredible $800 million annual revenue. Though not as profitable as the biggest real money poker sites, it’s high up in the list of Facebook’s most financially lucrative games.
Zynga are also behind the popular farming simulation game known as Farmville – once notorious for encouraging users to send mass invitations out to their Facebook friends in a bid to get them to join. Farming simulation games have done well on social media sites, but Farmville is currently the most played and highest rated on Facebook.
From criminal novels to murder documentaries – humans have a fascination with the morbid, which explains the appeal of getting to play detective in the mystery-based crime game that is Criminal Case. Unlike most other Facebook games on this list, Criminal Case was developed by a smaller indie studio – the French ‘Pretty Simple’.The game itself is indeed quite simple, presenting a criminal mystery to the player and allowing them to search crime scenes, study autopsies, examine evidence, interrogate suspects and match killer profiles. What keeps bringing users back is the fact that these tasks can take many real-time hours, subsequently encouraging players to invest real time and commitment into the fictional crime case they are assigned. With 46 million monthly users, Criminal Case is competing against Candy Crush as the most played game amongst Facebook users right now.
The puzzle Facebook game has since become a real downloadable video game thanks to its popularity on the social media platform. The point of the Bejeweled Blitz is to ‘detonate’ as many gems as possible within 60 seconds – with extra points available for certain gems or gem sequences. As with most of the games on this list, Bejeweled Blitz limits the amount, or extent to which, you can play unless you spend money – in this case by purchasing extra gems.
Words with Friends
Zynga proves itself the king of Facebook games once again with this highly successful Scrabble-inspired puzzle. Players challenge friends or strangers to a game, of which they can have thirty on the go at any one time. What makes this form of Scrabble so popular is the casual aspect that allows a game to last over the space of a few days (there is no countdown for when a player must play their turn) and because of the social aspect – players can challenge friends and family from afar, messaging them through a chat box during the game. Words with Friends also provides an in-game dictionary to help struggling players. The game has over 18 million active users and is one of Zynga’s most popular.
The one thing that can be concluded from looking at Facebook’s most popular games is that there is a wide range of entertainment which translates well onto the world’s biggest social media site. It helps further our understanding of what we consider fun in the modern age – a valuable piece of insight for those interested in making money in this multibillion dollar industry.