Zynga just announced that it’s launching the sequel to its hit CityVille today in a closed beta test.
The company blog post doesn’t offer too many details about the game itself, beyond saying “It has all the features in CityVille that players love – from neighbor visits and crews to buildables – blended with some of the innovations we introduced in CastleVille and FarmVille 2 like crafting and 3D graphics.” (You can get a preview of the aforementioned graphics in the image at the top of this post.)
I’m also hearing that the initial test will be limited to the Philippines. That seems to mirror Zynga’s strategy for FarmVille 2, which was spotted earlier this year under the name “Big Harvest” in, yes, the Philippines, before getting its full launch in September. The difference is that Zynga is publicizing the test this time, rather than hiding it under a fake name.
The announcement comes after a rough week for Zynga, when the company cut its revenue outlook for 2012, leading to a big drop in share price and at least one big think piece about where the company went wrong. To counteract the weakness of its “invest and express” games, CEO Mark Pincus said Zynga will be “further investing in other genres like casino where we already lead with Zynga Poker and blue PVP, a category we pioneered with Mafia Wars.”
It looks like that shift doesn’t mean Zynga is abandoning the franchises that it’s known for. CityVille famously surpassed FarmVille as Zynga’s most popular game back in 2010, and it was one of the top Facebook games last year (on a pure numbers basis, it seemed like it should have been ranked No. 1). According to AppData, it currently has 2.2 million daily active users and 16.8 monthly active users.