Game Development Reference
In addition to Zynga's Empires & Allies (which currently boasts a huge audience, thanks to the company's
cross-promotional kung fu), a number of strategy games on Facebook enjoy a passionate following: Battle Pir-
ates and War Commander from KIXEYE (see Chapter 5), Kabam's Edgeworld and Dragons of Atlantis, and
Social Point's Social Empires. Although most of these games have players in the hundreds of thousands (relat-
ively small for Facebook), they attract players in the “core gamer” demographic of young males, who tend to
spend more money on their games than other gamers.
Although it has a niche on Facebook, the traditional (fantasy/sci-fi) RPG game has a smaller but passionate
user base. Even though Dungeons & Dragons-style games have a limited audience on Facebook, a number of
games that use RPG mechanics in a non-fantasy setting are performing well. This includes a current top game,
EA Playfish's The Sims Social, based on the PC game franchise client of the same name, and Zombie Lane, a
comedic survival-horror RPG, except, you know, funny.
Casual Arcade Games
In 2012, expect several casual arcade games, probably led by Tetris Battle, to take the top slots among Facebook games overall, alongside
By the end of 2012, games with fast, casual action will probably come to dominate the top of Facebook's charts.
As of this writing (summer of 2012), five of them are in the top 20: Diamond Dash, Bubble Witch Saga, Tetris
Battle, Bubble Island, and Angry Birds Friends. Besides Tetris Battle and Angry Birds, the top three in this cat-
egory have a similar gameplay mechanic (fast-paced symbol matching), and their millions of fans will probably
be in the market for new titles that have similar gameplay, but with new twists.
City Management Sims
Supplanting farm-based sims (see the “Farming Sims” section later in this section), these descendants of early
PC classics like SimCity have done well recently, with the successful launch of Wooga's Magic Land, Disney
Playdom's Gnome Town, Zynga's CastleVille, and 6waves Lolapps's Ravenskye City. All of these hits have a
fantasy theme, which represents a new trend in city-building games (as opposed to Zynga's CityVille, launched
in 2010, which has a realistic, modern day theme). These leaders in the genre now have a monthly audience of
over 40 million.
Gambling-themed games will probably become very popular by the end of 2012. Although Facebook doesn't
currently allow real money gambling, this will probably change by the time this topic goes to print. For one
thing, in late 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice changed its policy prohibiting online gambling, saying that
it's legal if gambling is allowed in the state hosting a given game's servers. For another, Facebook is seeking