What happened to FarmVille?

  • FarmVille is a social network game where players engage in aspects of farm management such as planting, growing, harvesting, and tending to livestock. The game was launched in 2009 by American game developer Zynga.
  • FarmVille was an addictive game that required the constant attention of its users. Many quit the game after the novelty of performing repetitive tasks wore off, but a move by Facebook to decrease social media notifications also impacted the game’s ability to attract new players.
  • FarmVille was shut down at the end of 2020 after it became clear that Adobe was discontinuing support for Flash. A mobile-based version of the game called FarmVille 3 was released in 2021 to relative success.
Launch and Early PopularityFarmVille was launched by Zynga in June 2009 as a social farming simulation game on Facebook. It quickly gained immense popularity due to its easy-to-understand gameplay, social interaction features, and addictive nature. Players could grow and manage their virtual farms, trade with friends, and participate in cooperative gameplay.
Millions of Active UsersAt its peak, FarmVille had over 80 million monthly active users on Facebook, making it one of the most-played and successful social games on the platform. Its popularity was driven by a combination of social interaction, virtual farming, and the “freemium” model, where players could play for free but had the option to make in-game purchases.
Monetization and Virtual GoodsFarmVille’s revenue model relied heavily on microtransactions, where players could buy virtual currency and items with real money. This monetization strategy generated substantial revenue for Zynga. Players could purchase items to enhance their farms, speed up crop growth, and decorate their virtual spaces.
Expansion and SequelsZynga expanded the FarmVille franchise with sequels and spin-off games, including FarmVille 2, FarmVille: Country Escape, and FarmVille 2: Tropic Escape. These games introduced new features, settings, and gameplay mechanics, keeping players engaged and attracting new users. The franchise was available on various platforms, including mobile devices.
Decline and Platform ChangesOver time, FarmVille’s popularity began to decline. Several factors contributed to this decline, including changes in Facebook’s algorithm that reduced the visibility of game notifications, player fatigue, and competition from other mobile games. The shift from desktop to mobile gaming also impacted FarmVille’s user base.
Retirement of FarmVille on FacebookIn December 2020, Zynga announced the retirement of FarmVille on Facebook, citing the end of support for Adobe Flash Player, which was used to run the game. Players were given the opportunity to migrate to FarmVille 2: Tropic Escape on mobile devices. The retirement marked the end of an era for the game on the Facebook platform.
Legacy and InfluenceFarmVille’s impact on the gaming industry and the “freemium” model cannot be overstated. It popularized the concept of virtual goods and in-game purchases, which has become a standard monetization strategy in the gaming industry. FarmVille also demonstrated the power of social interactions in gaming and paved the way for other social games on social media platforms.

History of FarmVille

FarmVille is a social network game where players engage in aspects of farm management such as planting, growing, harvesting, and tending to livestock.

The game was launched in 2009 by American game developer Zynga.

FarmVille was an instant success on Facebook, becoming the network’s most popular game for over two years.

Peak users topped out at around 84 million in March 2010, and from that point, FarmVille experienced a slow (but steady) decline in interest.

On December 31, 2020, FarmVille was officially killed off before somewhat of a renaissance in late 2021.

Let’s chart some of the 13-year histories of the game below.

Usability issues and Facebook relationship

FarmVille was an addictive game that required the constant attention of its users. If one did not frequently check on their crops, they would wither and die.

The level of commitment required that many would set their alarms and wake up in the middle of the night to maintain their farms.

Of course, Farmville was set up so players could ask their friends and family to help them.

This became a major annoyance for some because Facebook bombarded them with notifications and news feed updates.

Many complained to the social network, which believed FarmVille was spammy.

In response, Facebook reduced the degree to which game invites and updates were visible in user feeds. This ultimately meant less interest in the game and a reduction in new users.

Many others quit the platform as their farms became too large to manage, while others simply became bored of it after FarmVille’s high novelty factor wore off.

Negative publicity

Negative publicity about FarmVille persisted as the number of users continued to decrease.

Time Magazine called it one of the “50 Worst Inventions” in recent decades because of its addictive nature and gameplay, which consisted of mindless, repetitive chores.

The gaming industry as a whole was also indifferent to FarmVille despite its obvious popularity.

When it won an award at the Game Developers Conference, a company representative was booed on stage as he accepted it.

Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus would also later note that it was difficult to recruit game developers because they believed their peers would not respect them for taking the position.


Zynga announced in 2020 that it would be shutting the game down by the end of the year.

The news came as no great surprise to users since it was already known that Adobe was discontinuing Flash on December 31. 

Nevertheless, it was a bitter pill for many who had spent over a decade working on their farms.


A new mobile-only version of the game called FarmVille 3 was launched in November 2021. 

With FarmVille 3 a relative success, Zynga was acquired by Take-Two Interactive in January 2022 for $12.7 billion.

It was hoped that the deal would combine Zynga’s mobile and next-generation platform expertise with Take-Two Interactive’s superior capabilities and intellectual property, which includes the popular Grand Theft Auto series.

Key Highlights:

  • FarmVille is a social network game developed by Zynga, where players engage in farm management activities such as planting, growing, harvesting, and tending to livestock.
  • The game was an instant success on Facebook and became the network’s most popular game for over two years, with peak users reaching around 84 million in March 2010.
  • FarmVille’s addictive nature and constant need for attention led to complaints about excessive notifications and spammy behavior on Facebook, causing the social network to decrease game invites and updates in user feeds, resulting in a decline in new users.
  • Negative publicity and criticism persisted about FarmVille’s repetitive gameplay, with Time Magazine even naming it one of the “50 Worst Inventions.”
  • FarmVille was eventually shut down at the end of 2020 due to Adobe discontinuing support for Flash.
  • A mobile-only version of the game called FarmVille 3 was released in November 2021, which experienced relative success.
  • Following the success of FarmVille 3, Zynga was acquired by Take-Two Interactive in January 2022 for $12.7 billion, aiming to combine their expertise and intellectual property.

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