As EA prepares to release Sims Social, Zynga should be worried: More than 140 million copies of the Sims have sold since 2000
Zynga has found enormous success with its Facebook-based social games. The company, valued at somewhere between $7 and $10 billion on the secondary market, is now preparing to file for an IPO and allow the public to invest in its unique blend of networking and gaming. But it better get that paperwork filed quickly because, until now, Zynga has operated in a solitary space. A competitor is coming -- and it could knock Mark Pincus and his team off of their pedestal. Sure, there are plenty of social games on Facebook developed by third parties, but none have come close to amassing the user base that Zynga enjoys. And, once you've got enough brand evangelists, users continue to pour in -- an adage that holds especially true in the social space.
But that doesn't mean they're going to stay.
Zynga is perhaps best known for FarmVille, a game in which almost nothing happens yet everyone seems to play anyway. Your virtual farmer-like avatar moves around the screen watering crops, picking crops, planting crops and, every once in a while, milking a cow or two. But you almost have to play it -- I've played, I'll admit it -- because everyone else is. One out of every ten people on Facebook have played the game, but it's unclear how many have played for extended periods of time. Last year, Zynga made headlines when it was revealed that millions of FarmVille's users were growing tired of the game and had stopped playing.