Is Zynga’s lead slipping on Facebook?
Electronic Arts, the second-largest video game company in the U.S., is stealing market share away from Zynga, the top dog in social games on Facebook, according to a new report on gaming behavior.
The report, released on Wednesday, is based on data that tracks the game play of more than 10 million users of Raptr, a website that automatically tracks its users’ video game activity on Facebook, consoles and PCs.
“EA has stolen 10 to 25 percent playtime from Zynga’s top games,” the report said.
Since the launch of Sims Social, EA’s Facebook game that has more than 66 million monthly active users, Zynga games such as FarmVille, CityVille and Empires & Allies have all lost players, the report shows.
To be sure, Zynga still dwarfs EA’s users on Facebook by more than 2-1 according to the website AppData.
The report comes a day after Zynga unleashed a barrage of games upon its rivals and gave a sneak peek of a mysterious new platform called “Project Z” that could reduce its reliance on Facebook.
One of the key finding is that EA succeeded in bringing players of the Sims franchise to its Facebook game “but more impressively they were able to capture market share from Zynga.” EA can also tap games from PopCap, the company it bought over the summer, such as Plant vs. Zombies and Bejeweled 3 to start releasing more games on Facebook, it said.
“A key factor of Zynga’s success is the company’s ability to release games in quick succession with high conversion rates from game to game, EA now has that opportunity.”
These findings could be troubling for Zynga, which filed for an IPO in July, because it shows it needs to work harder to keep its No.1 spot on Facebook and fend off copy cats.
The Sims Social’s playtime patterns closely mirror those of Zynga’s most successful games. The average session length for the Sims is 4.95 minutes, the same as Zynga’s top games average playing time.
The 15-page report was put out by Raptr, a company that was founded by Dennis Fong, the professional video game player turned entrepreneur. Raptr has raised $27 million in VC funding from a group including Accel Partners.
Reuters photo of Zynga CEO Mark Pincus at Zynga Unleashed event on Oct 11