Facebook’s largest game operators are facing a decline in user activity according to the IHS Screen Digest. During the first three quarters of 2011 companies such as Zynga and Popcap have seen a decline in user engagement; a metric that measures the ratio of daily active users versus monthly active users. Naturally, no one wants to see a decline, as it mean players are consuming less virtual items.
Screen Digest believes this shift is due to greater competition in the Facebook game space. With so many options available, players are quick to drop games and move on if they don’t become fully engrossed in them. Steve Bailey, an analyst at Screen Digest, spoke up on the matter:
Games from top operators hit their MAU-acquisition peak very quickly, upon which the battle begins for retention, leading us to the second point: that is, the importance of more effective conversion and monetisation of the core audience of a game, an initiative that key operators – including Zynga and EA – appear to be making progress on.
It should be noted that no one is declaring the end of social gaming here. The decline mentioned is only about one percent – hardly enough to send an industry crashing down. The problem will only grow to that level of severity if this becomes a trend. Some of the more popular Facebook games are getting up there in age, and the newer launches aren’t picking up the users that are falling off the train at this point. Only time will tell, but I imagine that the social gaming big boys aren’t going to take this sitting down.
Can this decline really be boiled down to increased competition and age? It’s true that most players will probably try out a new game if it’s like, lets say, Farmville. However, in most cases players will end up going back or sticking with the game they are already established in – especially if the new game is very similar to the previous one. Perhaps the problem is being intensified by the fact that people are getting tired of playing the same games; maybe they are getting tired of being microtransactioned to death. Maybe it’s time for something new, something that will make players want to play again. What do you think, internet? Let us know in the comments below (wasn’t trying to make that rhyme).
[Source: Develop Online]