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Summary:

While everyone in the game industry was following the latest news from GDC last week, I happened to notice an MMO milestone happening on Facebook: a casual virtual world called YoVille passed 5 million monthly active users. Launched in May of last year, YoVille’s user growth […]

yovilleWhile everyone in the game industry was following the latest news from GDC last week, I happened to notice an MMO milestone happening on Facebook: a casual virtual world called YoVille passed 5 million monthly active users.

Launched in May of last year, YoVille’s user growth rate is faster than that of any virtual world I’m aware of, quickly putting it in the upper ranks of other web-based MMOs, such as Gaia Online, launched in 2003, which reported 7 million monthly actives last Winter, and Habbo, launched in 2000, which reported nearly 10 million monthlies last June. Even more surprising to me, YoVille is only accessible as an app on Facebook and MySpace (where it currently counts 2.8 million users.)

How did it get so successful so fast? “Many casual social network users were hungry for a virtual world, and YoVille was the first to deliver that experience,” YoVille developer Justin Waldron speculated in an email interview. He also credits a design emphasis on play among friends for the site’s rapid growth.

One of many successful social games from San Francisco-based startup Zynga, YoVille invites players to create cartoonish avatars, customize their appearance and apartments, socialize with other users, and add them as friends. (Sort of like an animated, synchronous version of Facebook within Facebook.) Waldron tells me its user base has a demographic that’s 60 percent female and 40 percent male, mostly in the 13-35 year old range. Like many social games, YoVille has its own virtual currency, and that’s even led to some emergent user-created content: Zynga’s team was surprised to discover some players using the world’s virtual whiteboard object to draw and sell artworks to other users.

The company currently earns revenue from YoVille through banner ads, lead generation, and direct user purchase of YoVille cash. With such a spectacular growth rate, it’s likely we’ll see other developers attempting Facebook-based virtual worlds of their own. Waldron’s advice? “Be sure to listen to your users. You get a ton of useful feedback on social networks.”

  1. [...] By Wagner James Au: Click here to view full article [...]

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  2. A virtual world facebook inside facebook. Clean and simple, and obviously effective.

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  3. its also not just for women between 30 to 35! try 30 to 60 in age range! this is becoming popular for women in a huge way! Way to go YoVille!

    YoVillian Bud
    teacup

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    1. YoVille was fun. YOu can creat your houses & apartments to look great. Then you log in & all your stuff is gone! What is the purpose in playing if you cant have what you have earned.

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    2. How do you get the yoville game.

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  4. [...] and arrives at 7.8 million monthly uniques. This is by summing the MySpace and Facebook usage reported by GigaOM, which likely means that there’s overlap in users. But still — impressive monthly [...]

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  5. Interesting to see how facebook can create such a large stream of users for virtual worlds. There might be something to learn from the marketing approach used by Yoville. Fact is that there is a strong demand for virtual worlds so people are always looking to find something new and test it out.

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  6. Interesting figures but really too bad that in terms of “how” you could only get
    “Many casual social network users were hungry for a virtual world, and YoVille was the first to deliver that experience”
    and “design emphasis on play among friends”.
    Basically, first mover and gaming? Hardly a lesson…

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  7. As a user of the application, I would have to say they need some serious help. The application is run a muck with hackers using the popular program WPE Pro. Not only that, but it’s costumer support is practically non existent. The company also has an ‘F’ rating from the BBB, and it’s sad that such a great opportunity is going to squandered. I hope for their sake,and that of their players, they head the advice, and lite to user feedback. If they don’t change they way they conduct business, I positive they will see the fall of yoville just as quickly if not faster as they rose.

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  8. awsome i love yoville im addicted i cant get off and i got tests 2 morrow but still i love yoville big time the most best game on earth

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  9. Yeah I completely am addicted to this program. I’ve been using about 2 months. However I believe because of the amount of users in such a quick time, they have run into serious problems and unhappy yovillians. I would assume the developers did not expect this huge rush to socialize as the dream cartoon pic of yourself, buy some awesome furniture and items and take home to your house you bought and create, create, create. I hope that they have not reached their bubble already and are on the verge of bursting…..but Im impatient and am already looking for a similar type game and join switch!

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  10. This game used to be fun. But now it is down more than it is running. Time to try out other games similar, like Club Penguin, IMVU, Second Life, etc.

    Which is a shame, i was addicted to it, but it has become more frustrating then fun. Time to move on and time for Zynga to step up their performance.

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