Facebook just re-calibrated the way it counts the number of people playing games on the site.
Zynga, the industry leader that plans to IPO soon, took a huge hit.
According to AppData, the social gaming giant has just 195 million total monthly active users for its games on Facebook – about 40 million fewer than AppData previously reported.
Most social app companies fell by more than 20%. That includes Zynga’s top competitor, Electronic Arts.
195 million is also far fewer than the 232 million Zynga reported in its S-1.
There is a reason for that, however.
Our DAU and MAU information is based on our own internal analytics systems and may differ from the corresponding information published by AppData. Reasons for the differences include:
- AppData’s information includes only users who access our games through Facebook, while our information includes users across all platforms on which our games are played.
- AppData counts a user as an “active user” of an application as soon as the user navigates to a web page requesting permission to install the application, irrespective of whether an application is actually installed, while we count a user as an “active user” of an application only after the user has navigated to the application’s web page and the application has been installed or loaded on the user’s computer or other connected device.
Zynga’s CityVille is still the top social game on Facebook with 55.4 million monthly active users. Its next most popular game is now Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, one the company’s earliest games, with 29 million monthly active users. AppData has also revealed that Adventure World, one of its newest games that was previously thought to be a top-5 game in terms of monthly active users, only has around 17 million players.
Facebook explained the adjustment this way:
“Given that most apps work this way, we’re changing our active user figures for Apps on Facebook to publicly report the number of users that authenticate with the app. We believe this shift from “visitors” to “authenticated users” more accurately reflects the usage of an application, and it brings our measurement methodology for apps into alignment with how we measure engagement on Facebook.
This change will have no impact on third party measurement tools like comScore and Omniture. Developers will be able to access both numbers (canvas visitors and authenticated active users) in Insights. While this change will result in a perceived decline in active users for some apps, the number of users actually engaging with an app or playing a game is unaffected by this change.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Zynga reported higher user numbers than it actually has. This was an over-reach, and we apologise.