Comparing Social Game Publishers | January 2012


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Social games like FarmVille and Bejeweled seem ubiquitous, as requests for new farming equipment flood across friends’ Facebook pages and smartphones. Plus, the social and mobile gaming space has proven to be a hot sector: Zynga confirmed in January its recent purchases of four mobile gaming companies. But how widespread is the popularity of these games? We’ve charted the most popular social gaming publishers to compare them across a range of important metrics, from how many games they offer, to how many monthly users they have, to their revenues. Most of the information comes from the publishers themselves, but we’ve relied on AppData for much of the stats on monthly users. Check it out…

Year Launched

Total Free Games

Total Paid Games

Most Popular Social Games

Number of Users

Platforms Available

Revenue / Funding






CityVille; FarmVille; Texas HoldEm Poker; Adventure World

About 223 million monthly users.

Facebook; MySpace; Yahoo;; iPhone/iPad; Android.

Zynga filed for a $1 billion IPO in July 2011. In 2010, Zynga made $27.9 million profit on revenue of $597.5 million.

Most recently, Zynga confirmed the purchase of four small gaming companies. It also bought mobile game developer Newtoy in December 2010 for $53.3 million. Zynga purchased 12 other companies since 2010, paying a total of $123 million in cash and stock as of 2011.

Zynga has set the standard for socially oriented games, but needs to find a long-term strategy that doesn’t leave it so dependent on Facebook.



Most social and mobile games are free; some console games are paid.

The Sims Social; Zuma Blitz; Bejeweled; Peggle; Plants vs. Zombies; Pet Society

About 49 million monthly users (which includes users of PopCap and Playfish games).

Facebook; iPhone/iPad; Android; PC; Xbox 360; PlayStation 3; Nintendo Wii

For the period ending September 30, 2011 EA reported $715 million in revenue, with a net loss of $340 million. During its Q2 2012 results, the company reported full game downloads were 26 million, up 44% year-over-year, driven primarily by Sims 3 and PopCap Games.

EA has made some acquisitions in 2011. It bought PopCap for a staggering $750 million in July 2011, and mobile games maker Firemint in May 2011. It also bought Playfish for $275 million in cash, as well as $25 million in equity retention arrangements in November 2009.

EA is the granddaddy of mass-market gaming but hasn’t adjusted quite as well to the social era. Still, with franchise titles like Madden and Tiger Woods in its arsenal and the cash to buy its way into the market, its presence will be felt.



Most social and mobile games are free; some console games are paid.

Brick Breaker Revolution series; Mini Golf Castles series; Tornado Mania! series

About 7 million monthly users.

Facebook; Android; BlackBerry; WIndows 7; Windows Mobile; PC; Xbox

Previously, it raised a fourth round of $12 million in in February 2011. Digital Chocolate has raised $54 million to date.

Digital Chocolate bought casual games developer Sandlot Games in August 2011 for an undisclosed amount.

The company recently made three promotions, two new hires and plans to expand its branches in Barcelona.




Diamond Dash; Bubble Island

About 36 million monthly users.


Berlin-based Wooga raised $24 million second round May 2011. It has raised $31.5 million to date.


Wooga faces the same problem as Zynga–reliance on Facebook–without as much cash to figure out another path.




Backyard Monsters; Battle Pirates; Desktop Defender

Over 3 million monthly users.


Kixeye raised an $18 million third round in August 2011. It has raised $23.5 million to date.


Though for now, all of Kixeye’s games are for Facebook, the company is experimenting with Google+ games, SVP of marketing Brandon Barber recently told




Gardens of Time; Wild Ones; GnomeTown; World Series of Poker; Sorority Life

Over 14 million monthly users.

Facebook; MySpace; iPhone/iPad; Android.

in Q3 2011, the acquisition of Playdom contributed to lower operating results in Disney’s Interactive Media segment. During this quarter, Disney’s net income was up 11% on a 7% revenue increase.

Disney bought Playdom for $763.2 million in July 2010. Prior to the acquisition, Playdom made a string of acquisitions, which included: social games startup Metaplace, Hive7, Aclaim Games, Three Melons, and Offbeat Creations.

Playdom has the backing of an entertainment giant, but the fact that it is so strong on MySpace says an awful lot. And the company has also faced inquiries from the U.S. government about its privacy policies and children, one of which resulted in a $3 million fine.




Bubble Atlantis; Snake; Epic Coaster

Over 3 million monthly users.

Facebook; Web; iPhone/iPad

MindJolt raised a first round of funding from Austin Ventures in March 2010. Though the company doesn’t disclose financial information, it has said one-third of its revenues come from mobile games.

MindJolt bought developer and social mobile game publisher SGN in April 2011. Former MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe and MySpace co-founders Colin Digiaro and Aber Whitcomb, and Austin Ventures bought MindJolt in March 2010.

In a recent Pocketgamer interview COO Colin Digiaro said MindJolt is working on HTML5 games and sees Amazon as being a strong growth area, particularly because of the Kindle Fire.




Bubble Saga; Mahjong Saga

About 23 million monthly users.

Facebook; Web raised a $43 million first round in July 2007.


It’s growing fast, but not as well known as some of the other players and needs to keep the hit-making machine going.

Sources: Based on company information, additional reporting, and metrics from AppData.
Produced by: Amanda Natividad
Additional Reporting by: Tom Krazit
Published: January 18, 2012

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