The Sims Social bests FarmVille as the second-largest Facebook game
More than 9.3 million people played the Sims Social in the last 24 hours, compared with 8.1 million who played FarmVille.
The single-day milestone is significant because FarmVille is considered to be one of the most successful social games on Facebook. Launched in June 2009 by Zynga Inc., the game zoomed to the top of the charts as hundreds of millions of players rushed to plow virtual fields on FarmVille. At its peak, nearly 32.5 million people played the game in a single day, according to AppData.
But FarmVille has ebbed in popularity as players moved on to other titles, many of them published by Zynga, a San Francisco company that has declared its plans to sell its shares on the public stock market. (Current turbulence in the stock market has put those plans on hold, at least temporarily.)
The Sims Social, published by Electronic Arts Inc., is among the few games that have been able to touch Zynga's top titles.
Still, EA's victory may be more symbolic than substantial. Zynga's CityVille, launched in December, is still top dog on the daily chart, with nearly 14 million users. When measured on a monthly basis, Zynga holds four of the top five games on Facebook, including FarmVille with 35.7 million players versus 34.3 million for the Sims Social, which is in fifth place.
The rivalry between Zynga and EA is fierce. Zynga has been recruiting senior EA executives. Many of Zynga's key employees came from EA, including its chief operating officer John Schappert, its president of studios Steven Chiang and many of its top developers, including FarmVille producer Mark Skaggs and Amer Ajami, executive producer of Zynga's Empires & Allies game.
EA, in turn, has been aggressively expanding its social games business, starting with its $400-million acquisition of social game developer Playfish in November 2009. In July, it bought PopCap Games for $750 million. PopCap's Bejeweled Blitz was the 15th most popular game on Facebook in the last 24 hours, with 3 million players.
"With PopCap and the Sims Social, we’re now far and away the No. 2 player in social games," EA spokesman John Reseberg said. "And growing."
-- Alex Pham