WWDC 2010: Farmville confirmed for iPhone, social explosion likely

Integration with Facebook key

WWDC 2010: Farmville confirmed for iPhone, social explosion likely
What happens when one unstoppable object meets an unmoveable one?

The announcement that Zynga is working on an iPhone version of social gaming behemoth Farmville looks set to provide an answer, with the game due to launch at the end of June – one year on from Farmville's original debut, no less.

What's interesting about the link-up is that Farmville on iPhone will be fully functional with the Facebook version.

Farming in the millions

As part of Steve Jobs' WWDC keynote, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said over 70 million active users play the game every month, with 35 million dropping in daily.

As such, by allowing users to carry their accounts across to iPhone, the app will have a massive potential audience on day one.
Farmville on iPhone will also enable players to make in-app purchases and will use push notifications when players' crops are withering, seamlessly adapting its set-up to meet the nuances of iPhone play.

All eyes on Zynga

But Farmville's appearance on iPhone could have major ramifications on the rest of the industry.

Zynga's expanding presence on iPhone – more than one year after Mafia Wars made its App Store debut – will likely be cause for concern for many existing iPhone publishers.

There's huge potential for Zynga's social savvy to explode on this new platform - sucking up user activity - and it's this recipe for a perfect storm that the likes of social iPhone publishers such as ngmoco were hoping wouldn't happen.

"There's definitely a scale issue in terms of dealing with 75 million iPhone OS devices versus 450 million Facebook users," ngmoco CEO Neil Young told us back in March regarding Zynga's then small-scale appearance on iPhone.

"I also think the social fabric on the iPhone isn't as well defined as on Facebook yet, but that's a factor of how new the platform is. As Apple rolls out new OS releases, I imagine you'll see tighter integration between it and other social networks."

It will be fascinating to see how the huge Facebook companies compete with those smaller outfits who have first mover advantage on iPhone.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.