The title above may surprise many people, but it is actually a information taken from a news dated of march 2010. It was then that the number of active monthly accounts of Farmville surpassed the number of accounts of twitter (83 million against 75 million respectively)1, and, it still has more active accounts today. But, if we stop and think about this information, what does it really means? Are people more interested in online games than in a powerful communication tool such as twitter?
Well the answer is no. Twitter and Farmville are two very distinct products, and a simple comparison can result in a erroneous conclusion. Twitter has a more personal connection to its user, it is a tool of communication that allows a spread of ideas, feeling and thoughts. It is much harder for a twitter user to change to another form of communication, (also due to its network effect) than it is for a Farmville user to play another game. Farmville has a excellent capacity of attracting users, but it has no strong appeal to maintain its user for a long period of time.
The real conclusion we can make from this is that online games such as Farmville have the incredible capacity of attracting millions of users and of transforming a common activity such as watering plants and planting crops into an exciting and challenging game. This actually shows that if applied efficiently, gamification can transform any kind of activity into something captivating and entertaining. That's one of the greatest value that gamification has brought. It seems that Facebook (where Farmville is played) has really grasped this idea and has increased tremendously its games portfolio, attracting more users and keeping them actively checking in everyday, which for Facebook simply means making more revenue.
1. Webtrends, March 8, 2010