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Not everyone finds FarmVille or Mafia Wars irresistable. Playnomics has released a report on social media games and found that about 85% of new players in the United States quit after the first day.
The report (via GI.biz) tracked players from July to September. It found that even after that initial day, there was plenty of attrition. 95% of the new players had quit by the end of September.
The low attachment rate is damaging to social game developers because of their business model. Typical social games are free-to-play, with optional premium content. For example, certain crops in FarmVille require you to pay money to plant them. A new player is unlikely to spring for this premium content, though. Someone who picks up the game for a day and then quits will earn the developer zero money.
Playnomics noticed some patterns in players who paid for social game content. Friday and Saturday are the most common times that people spend money on F2P games, but the days that people spend the least amount of time actually playing these games. Monday and Tuesday, by contrast, are the days with the highest play-time but lowest revenue.
The free-to-play business model has expanded to other genres outside of social gaming in the past few years. Games that might've otherwise required a one-time fee and/or a monthly subscription have switched to F2P. This business model been very effective for some games, like Lord of the Rings Online and League of Legends. However, as Playnomics' report suggests, players who haven't spent a dime to start playing a game are quick to abandon it. If your F2P game is going to survive, you need to hook players long enough to convince them to spend money.