Zynga’s CityVille is a little more than a month old, but it’s already the most popular application on Facebook and is nearing in on 100 million monthly active users. It makes the success of FarmVille, Zynga’s second most popular game, look shameful in comparison.
Like other Facebook games, there’s a lot of pointing and clicking and just enough excitement to get a certain type of player to pull out their wallet and spend a few dollars.
But there’s something different about CityVille. It’s got just enough SimCity in it to make it slightly more interesting than just pointing and clicking. And a lot of people in Silicon Valley who are busy doing productive things for society are doing more than giving the game a passing glance. They’re sticking around, at least for now.
He’s also maxed out CityVille. A level 60 player. There are no more levels after that. That’s a picture of his city above. if you look hard enough you’ll see a seafood restaurant that I added to his city as a franchise. It’s called “Michael’s Seafood Restaurant.”
Even throwing cash at the game, that takes a lot of time. For “research purposes” I’ve played CityVille and have reached level 26. My guess is level 60 is something like 75 hours of gameplay, and he probably spent at least a few hundred dollars as well. Maybe more.
Gordon is a Zynga board member and clearly has an interest in the company. But I don’t think that explains this kind of passion for a game. There are other senior execs throughout Silicon Valley who are also serious CityVille players as well. None as crazy as Bing though. A Google exec is at level 16. Another venture capitalist I know is at level 54. A former Facebook exec, now entrepreneur, was recently asking for help with building a school in the game. The list goes on.
Like I said, there’s something more to this game than just the clicking and pointing in the ones before. It’s more social, more complicated and more interesting. Zynga and others are evolving quickly. It’ll be interesting, and time consuming, to see what comes next.
Bing Gordon joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2008. At KPCB, he leads on the sFund, the investment initiative to fund and build applications and services that deliver on the promise of the social web. The sFund, launched in late 2010 with strategic partners Amazon, Facebook, Zynga, Comcast, Liberty Media and Allen & Co, has made 14 investments to date, including 4 seeds. Bing serves on the board of directors of sFund companies Lockerz, Cafebots and Klout; sFund...