Getting to Know the Playing Field: The Genres Likely to Go Big, Do Well, or Stay Small

Facebook’s game market has been highly volatile in the last couple of years, with games and genres that attracted 10s of millions in 2011 now floundering. Here’s a quick overview of the genres doing well in 2012—and those not doing as well.

Strategy Games

In addition to Zynga’s Empires & Allies (which currently boasts a huge audience, thanks to the company’s cross-promotional kung fu), a number of strategy games on Facebook enjoy a passionate following: Battle Pirates and War Commander from KIXEYE (see Chapter 5), Kabam’s Edgeworld and Dragons of Atlantis, and Social Point’s Social Empires. Although most of these games have players in the hundreds of thousands (relatively small for Facebook), they attract players in the “core gamer” demographic of young males, who tend to spend more money on their games than other gamers.

Roleplaying Games

Although it has a niche on Facebook, the traditional (fantasy/sci-fi) RPG game has a smaller but passionate user base. Even though Dungeons & Dragons–style games have a limited audience on Facebook, a number of games that use RPG mechanics in a non-fantasy setting are performing well. This includes a current top game, EA Playfish’s The Sims Social, based on the PC game franchise client of the same name, and Zombie Lane, a comedic survival-horror RPG, except, you know, funny.

Casual Arcade Games

In 2012, expect several casual arcade games, probably led by ...

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