Surprise — The Most Popular Facebook Game of 2011 Wasn’t Made by Zynga

Facebook has released its list of the 10 most popular social games for 2011, and while the chart was dominated by Zynga titles, other companies received the top two slots.

The list revealed some other surprises, too.

For instance, at the top of the list was Gardens of Time by Disney’s Playdom division, which developed a social spin to the “hidden objects” game genre. The second-most popular game was Electronic Arts’ The Sims Social, which had done fairly well but never was able to leapfrog other Zynga titles, such as CityVille.

In general, the list looks different than the daily and monthly active user charts released by AppData, which nearly always show Zynga dominating the top four or five slots. Facebook explained that it based the chart on games that not only attracted the most active users but also received the highest user recommendations.

So perhaps it was the popular vote that elevated others to the top of the list.

Zynga garnered four spots on the list, but other independent companies made the rankings, including DoubleDown Entertainment, Buffalo Studios and Wooga. The chart also revealed players’ love of casino games, which we previously reported were ringing up big revenues on Facebook.

Here’s the full list:

  1. Gardens of Time (Playdom-Disney)
  2. The Sims Social (Electronic Arts)
  3. CityVille (Zynga)
  4. DoubleDown Casino (DoubleDown Entertainment)
  5. Adventure World (Zynga)
  6. Words With Friends (Zynga)
  7. Bingo Blitz (Buffalo Studios)
  8. Empires & Allies (Zynga)
  9. Slotomania-Slot Machines (Playtika-Caesars Entertainment Corp.)
  10. Diamond Dash (Wooga)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik