EA surprised the games industry by capturing a sizable audience with The Sims Social. Up until recently, Zynga’s dominance of the social game market has at times seemed unassailable, but The Sims Social was able to rocket up the charts since its August release and currently ranks only behind Zynga’s aging juggernaut CityVille in monthly active users. Farming and interior-decorating game versus farming and urban-planning game — a heavyweight battle for our brave new era.
Based on actual playtime data from our 10 million Raptr members, our Raptr Report: The Sims Social dives deep into the data behind EA’s success and strives to answer a few key questions: How did EA attract such a large user base, what did they learn from Zynga’s proven formula, and now that they have a huge hit, can they parlay that into an even bigger share of the social game market?
EA aggressively marketed to their existing Sims 3 player base as well as across their social game portfolio and earned strong conversion rates to The Sims Social as a result.
However, those users did come at a price — Sims 3 and Pet Society play time dropped by 50%. Still, the game’s appeal to Zynga’s much larger audience is undeniable: Out of the top 20 other games played by Sims Social players, 10 are Zynga titles. Average weekly play time for FarmVille and Empires & Allies is down 25% since Sim Social’s launch. CityVille play time dropped as well, but a recent flood of promotions (Enrique Iglesias!) and marketing efforts from Zynga have helped protect CityVille’s numbers somewhat.
In contrast to previous EA social titles such as Dragon Age: Legends and Madden NFL Superstars, The Sims Social’s playtime patterns (average sessions length, average number of sessions per day/week/month) almost exactly match those of Zynga’s top games. In this space more than any other, imitation is the sincerest form of…successful game design.
So now that EA have a breakout hit on their hands, what’s next? A key factor in Zynga’s success is the company’s ability to release games in quick succession, with a high conversion rate from game to game. To replicate that model EA could look to its recent acquisition, PopCap. A large percentage of PopCap’s player base already plays social titles, and that propensity – coupled with The Sims Social’s impressive audience – could point to a sea change in the social game market. (Look, we just want a new Plants vs Zombies title. Tell us what we need to farm to make that happen.)
Download the full Raptr Report: The Sims Social here, and look for more Raptr Reports coming soon! You may also want to check out our previous Raptr Report: Zynga.
A note about methodology:
This report is based on data collected from Raptr’s service, available at www.Raptr.com. Raptr is the leading social network for gamers and automatically tracks gameplay activity for over 10 million users across PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. For browser-based games, Raptr defines an active playtime session as one where the game window is active.
This Raptr Report analyzes actual gameplay data for the following games: Adventure World, Bejeweled 3, Bejeweled Blitz, Bookworm Adventures, CityVille, Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age: Legends, Empires & Allies, FarmVille, FIFA 11, FIFA Superstars, FrontierVille, Madden 11, Madden NFL Superstars, Mafia Wars, Peggle Deluxe, Pet Society, Plants vs Zombies, Restaurant City, Texas Hold’em Poker, The Sims 3, The Sims Social, Treasure Isle, Zuma Blitz, and Zuma Deluxe. Data is compiled from the launch of Raptr to October 7, 2011. This report was not endorsed by any 3rd party.