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Zynga's new breed of hardcore gamer

Report from Raptr shows online game time rivalling Halo and Gears Of War

A new report by gaming social network Raptr suggests that its users have spent more hours playing Zynga games like Farmville than Gears of War, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, and the Grand Theft Auto franchises combined.

In fact, when time spent playing online, tracked since 2008, was divided up by franchise, Zynga's YoVille, FarmVille, PetVille, FrontierVille and CityVille took a 13 per cent share, just behind Halo with 14 per cent, and World Of Warcraft with 17 per cent.

Call Of Duty was way out in front with 43 per cent, while other core franchises like GTA and Mass Effect shared just 12 per cent.

The massive study looked at the time Raptr's 10 million users spent playing both hardcore games like Halo and Call Of Duty, and Zynga's games, like Farmville and Cityville, across consoles and PC.

CityVille currently sits at the top of the app MAU leaderboard with a grand total of 72,000,000 users. Zynga has a total of 266,758,976 MAU across its entire portfolio.

The study also showed that the "Ville" series of games might be played for shorter durations than core games like World Of Warcraft and Call Of Duty, they are played four times as often.

Impressive figures, but this trend reflects the style of gameplay as much as the habits of gamers. World Of Warcraft and Call Of Duty offer a prolonged action experience with complicated tasks, missions and stories that cannot be delivered in short bursts. In social games like Famrville users are often given a limited time of energy with which to play, and are rewarded for frequent visits.

One place where Zynga's dominance is certain is in the social gaming sphere. According to statistics dating back to 2008, Zynga player's total online playtime for games like Texas Hold'em Poker and Cafe World was three times more than rest of the social gaming top ten, including Bejeweled Blitz and Monster World, combined.

There were also some interesting statistics regarding the crossovers in hardcore and social gaming. Nearly 20 per cent of Raptr's World Of Warcraft players had also played Cityville, and there was a rise in the number of Xbox 360 gamers who had tried a Zynga title, an increase of 50 per cent since last year.

This may be good news for Zynga executives, the social gaming giant recently made amendments to its IPO filing that suggested profits were actually falling. When it comes to free-to-play what matters isn't how many people are playing the game or how often, but what percentage of those are spending real money on microtransactions.

Raptr was founded in 2007 and is a social networking service for gamers, where they can send instant messages, track achievements and log game activity.

To see the report in full visit the Raptr website.

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.