Farm Town: an Under-the-Radar Facebook Social Gaming Success Story in the Making

Posted on May 6, 2009 by jparadis

If you think the latest Facebook changes or the proliferation of Facebook applications and games make Facebook less potent as a social gaming platform, think again!

Let’s take Farm Town, a recent social game on Facebook by SlashKey.

Jerome's farm in Farm Town

As of today, the game has 4,778,781 monthly active users.

Farm Town About screen taken on May 6, 2009

From information gleaned from the developer and the moderators in the forums, Farm Town’s user growth is simply astounding. The game is still in beta and cannot yet be found when searching the Facebook Application Directory.

A developer (known as Bert) said that they initially only sent 12 invitations on February 1 to friends to test the game with a few users. They went from 12 users to 3 million users in 2 months with zero marketing. Today, a bit more than 4 months later, they are nearing 5 million users.

A single MAU can be expected to generate between $ 1 and $2 per month for a successful online game. Make a quick calculation. With more than 4.5 million MAU, you can see that if Farm Town is intelligently monetized, it has the potential to generate major monthly revenues. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an acquisition of Slashkey in the near future.

The game has experienced some growing pains in managing this unexpected growth. At one point, they were adding between 1 and 2 servers a week. I tried to contact the developers to get more insights but understandably, I did not get any answer. They must still be very busy adding new servers or features!

For a quick glance at what the game is about, I suggest your read Kim’s post about Farm Town.

Excerpts

As background information, here are some excerpts of information I found in their forums at different points in time.

March 31, 2009

Just to give you some idea of what we are dealing with here is some information about the game development:

Some basic stats:

  • Farm Town launched on February 1st. (we did some testing in 1/31).
  • Over two million monthly active users.
  • We have 550K visitors per day, and we are growing about 10-20% daily.
  • The game is running on 11 servers, and we are adding 1-2 per week.

It is easy to see that some growing pains should be expected!!

April 8, 2009

From 0 to 2,453,182 monthly active users in just over two months, do you have any idea how much hardware and bandwidth growth is needed to keep up?

Originally Posted by sfppfo
when i do a search on facebook for farm town it says no application found. so i tried just farm and still Farm Town didn’t come up on the list then i tired town and still Farm Town didn’t come up on list and i was wondering why not?
•    Interesting that you should ask that question. I just learned some interesting information in the last few days and hadn’t had a chance to convey it yet…
•    Quote:
Originally Posted by Bert
Farm Town is not “public” per se. If you search for it on Facebook, you won’t find it. We haven’t published it to the application directory. You cannot install it.

The only way to install Farm Town is by following an invitation from a friend.

We needed to test how the application would perform in real life. To do this we sent it to a dozen people to test. The idea was to test with a handful of users, iron out all bugs, and then publish the application. What happened is that in 2 months, we went from 12 users to 3 million users, with 1 million users playing in a day. And we’ve been trying to slow growth since day one.

Currently our servers are processing 4,000 requests per second, and transmitting 200 MBytes per sec. To put things in perspective you would need 1300+ DSL lines to serve this much bandwidth…

April 20, 2009

3,466,004 monthly active users.

April 26, 2009

3,925,219 monthly active users.

POST UPDATE – 2009-06-09

As of today, June 9, 2009, Farm Town has 8,482,129 monthly active users. Farm Town, which is now officially in the Facebook directory, makes an appearance in the rankings as the fourth most popular game on Facebook.

POST UPDATE – 2009-10-24

Please note that we are not the makers of Farm Town. We are not related in any way to Slashkey, the creators of Farm Town and we do not know how to contact them. We just wrote about their game.

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18 Responses to “Farm Town: an Under-the-Radar Facebook Social Gaming Success Story in the Making”

  1. Gloria Moses
    Jun 08, 2009

    Hi,
    I – and lots of friends have been enjoying (actually have become addicted to) Farm Town. What happened to it. All of a sudden it says page not found. I know yesterday a lot of new things were added to the game. We hope this is only temporary. It has been a lot of fun and a great way to relieve stress as we can connect at work and play in between calls. We are mostly dispatchers for police.
    Thanks for listening.
    Gloria


  2. Rory Elliott
    Jun 08, 2009

    Well, it’s just disappeared off Facebook. Help!


  3. Donna Boyd
    Jun 09, 2009

    I am one of those who are addicted, lol, or so I thought.
    After reading the forum, OMG, some people really NEED HELP!!!
    I have been copy/pasting some of the comments just to share with others.
    when they think they are addicted, I’ll show them REAL addicted, lolol


  4. Nabeel Hyatt
    Jun 14, 2009

    One note on the article, you quote the LSVP numbers on the amount of $ per MAU, but those were numbers for casual MMOs and not Facebook apps.

    I’ve seen very different numbers from FB apps, where the growth is much higher, the ARPPU is higher (average revenue per paying user), but the ARPU (or average revenue per monthly user in FB parlance) is very low.

    Unfortunately, as usual, little no no-one stepping forward to provide public data on it.


  5. Jamie Favreau
    Jun 17, 2009

    I know a few of my friends who are addicted to the game. Since I started using Facebook for networking and less for pleasure I guess I decided to not use apps or cut them down. So I basically have the save the rain forest one but that is about it.


  6. Nadine
    Jun 20, 2009

    I love farm town and so does everyone in my household but the only problem is that as I have made my farm bigger I find it harder and boring to plow and plant so is it possible to change it so you can select “plow all” or something so that I still want to play because I am addicted to farm town but dont want to go on because I hate plowing


    • Jerome Paradis
      Jul 25, 2009

      Nadine: you can now hire friends or people in the market to do your plowing. Also, if your farm is too slow, go in the options and play with the “smoother graphics” and “freeze animals” settings. It should help.


  7. Nadine
    Jun 20, 2009

    does anyone else agree with me by the way from my other post?


  8. morced
    Jul 06, 2009

    where can I see the farm town w/o login in facebook? please send to me the website at maq_ced@yahoo.com.ph


  9. annette bailey
    Jul 23, 2009

    For the last 2 days I have been having terrible problems with farmtown. When I go to the marketplace, i see no one but myself. Therefore I cannot hire any one to work. If I go to a neighbors farm, I get no prompts to do anything there(like water or clean up). I am getting very frustrated. I have tried everything I can think of. Like “refresh” and totally shutting down and re-starting, etc. Can you help me??


  10. Joseph
    Jul 27, 2009

    Jerome is right, they really upgraded the plowing and seeding aspects of this game. You can now plow four plots at a time, and you can also setup an unlimited que of plots to plow/seed on your farm.


  11. Tricia
    Jul 28, 2009

    Yup…I have the same problem. Haven’t been able to get in at all this evening and I have crops that are probably ready to harvest. Very frustrating!


  12. Sherrie
    Sep 29, 2009

    I’ve bought the biggest parcel of land that I can. Is there a way to link to plots of land together? Also, how do you set up a que to plow and plant?


  13. Sherrie
    Sep 29, 2009

    sorry that’s two plots….lol


  14. pauline nees
    Oct 14, 2009

    i am not able to retrive any of the gifts or make any kind og message on face book. need help from face book.