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  Zombies Infect Facebook  
Posted 2007-07-13 by Tony Walsh
Zombies Infect Facebook
Armies of bloodthirsty zombies are infecting Facebook. The Zombies Facebook game, made possible because the platform was recently opened to outside developers, has become Facebook's most popular, with over 1.3M users infected at the time of this writing. I've been following the Zombies invasion for just over a week, finding that its user-base has grown at a steady rate of around 65,000 users daily, or about 45 users per minute. I'm a bit surprised the population hasn't increased exponentially, but then I'm a lousy number-cruncher and statistician.

Zombies is, by design, a viral game. One's first introduction to it is usually through a "Zombies Invitation" sent from a friend, so there is social pressure to participate right from the outset. Invitations may be ignored, or one can "Start Biting Chumps!" with a few mouse-clicks. The objective is to build up zombie points and zombie status by biting friends, but I personally won't try it out, so don't bother biting me. From what I gather, it's possible to establish an entire zombie army. Zombies has been so successful that its creators have added a Vampires game along similar lines. About 300,000 users have been vampirized.

Based on how Zombies is doing, Facebook is clearly a platform best suited to social games, particularly chain-letter-style games. I'm wondering how difficult it is to develop games for Facebook (designing them seems easier), and how Facebook games could be monetized effectively. I know it's possible to embed AdSense into Facebook apps, and although Sherwood Forest ain't on Facebook, it is a browser-based game with 1M monthly uniques and an estimated $700k - $800k in annual AdSense revenue. Even if a game like Zombies did a tenth of that in revenue, its developers might be able to quit their day-jobs.
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