With Valentine's day looming, many social games have been getting in the spirit.

So, not only can you now forget the date completely and get flowers from a petrol station for your loved one, you can send also them a belated virtual 'love ewe' in the hope that they don't give you the silent treatment for forgetting the day.

News wise, it's been fairly quiet on the social news front, except a few interesting snippets that arrived via the Pocket Gamer carrier pigeon, which I have covered below. Hopefully this will quench your social gaming appetite until next week's, game-heavy installment.

Until then, have a great weekend and a Happy Valentines day.

Zombie Farm (iPhone)

Sick of planting crops? Well fear not, you can now plant corpses instead in another farm simulator (of sorts), Zombie Farm. You can still grow the usual plants, but to mix things up, planted corpses become zombies you can use to create an army of undead.

Get a big enough army and you can then raid an enemy farm, causing much damage and general annoyance. However, pacifists rejoice - zombies will help fertilise your farm if you don't want to go to war.

There are 15 types of zombie, and these can be combined for hybrid variants which should be interesting. Players can also upgrade the size of their farm, and customise the farmer himself for that e-personal touch.

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Zombie Farm is free to download from the App Store, but for certain upgrades you need brains, which must be bought. Defeating the farmer can yield a small return on brain matter, but apparently it isn't much.

Still, Zombie Farm could be dead good (sorry), particularly for those who like farming to be a more macabre, dark experience.


OfferpalIf you didn't know, Offerpal deals with virtual currency payment alternatives. This means you can purchase items using a game's cash, but without opening your wallet. How?

Offerpal's new service will allow you to select thousands of 'Human Intelligence Tasks' to work on whenever you like.

Currently, you can fill out online surveys and complete other advertising tasks, and a new service in conjunction with Amazon Mechanical Tasks will allow users to take on tasks such as proof-reading, data entry, tagging photos, editing content, and more.

“We’re pleased that Offerpal has chosen to leverage Amazon Mechanical Turk for their ‘Tasks’ service,” said Steve Rabuchin, General Manager for Amazon Web Services.

Whether or not you would like to do this sort of task for virtual currency will obviously depend on how much you like a game. I'm sure many will, and it's certainly a clever way of getting work done. Is virtual currency a good enough replacement for good old fashioned money, though?

“The beauty of earning virtual currency through Amazon Mechanical Turk is that it’s very simple work that can be done anywhere at any time, and the payments can add up quickly,” said George Garrick, CEO of Offerpal Media.

“We’re proud to leverage Amazon Mechanical Turk to bring social gamers yet another alternative payment method to go along with offers, surveys, shopping, videos and all our other options, while providing developers with another way to monetize larger portions of their audience.”

The virtual goods industry is expected to hit $1.6 billion this year in the U.S. and $8 billion worldwide. Impressive when you consider the goods only exist as an electrical signal.

Zynga (Facebook)

ZyngaZynga was one developer who most certainly got on the Valentine's Day wagon. FarmVille has two limited edition animals, as well as a diamond ring costing a fair bit of real life money.

Perhaps the virtual ring could precipitate the first social game marriage?

It wasn't just farming that has received the love treatment. CafeWorld includes Valentine themed items to decorate your cafe, as well as themed mystery gifts starting on the 9th of this month.

FishVille rewards a full chocolate box with a Chocolate Surgeon fish, PetVille had a love-o-meter, and Mafia Wars boasts three new jobs and a special Valentine's Day collection to gather.

How many you receive affects your placing among friends, which is quite entertaining and perhaps probably some of the reason why FarmVille in particular enjoyed such a surge of daily active users.

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However, it may also remind you why you disliked the event in the first place, if you haven't received any (sniff). On a more business-like note, the social giant recently acquired another social gaming company, Serious Business. If you didn't know, the latter is responsible for Rock Legends and Friends for Sale.

Whilst I can't say I am personally familiar with either title, they must be doing something right. Sadly, the financial terms haven't been disclosed.

"We’re very excited to gain an experienced team that is committed to building social games," said Vish Makhijani, chief operating officer at Zynga. “We are impressed with Serious Business’ entrepreneurial attitude, speed, and innovation in developing social games and welcome them to our team."

In other news
  • Gangster City fans might be pleased to know of a few key changes. For one, robbing no longer costs energy, jobs seem to give more experience (though this may change) and you can redo a mission without the animation. Huzzah for speedy levelling.
  • Madden NFL could be coming to Facebook. EA Sports President, Peter Moore said to Bloomberg Television, "we have to make ‘Madden’ more accessible. You’ll see us on Facebook going forward."
Data Club

Here are the numbers for today when it comes to daily active users (DAU), thanks the people at App Data.

1. FarmVille 32,479,576
2. Café World 9,312,304
3. Mafia Wars 6,436,364
4. FishVIlle FishVille 6,275,357
5. Texas Hold'Em Texas Hold Em Poker 5,963,846
6. Happy Aquarium Happy Aquarium 5,851,691
7. PetVille Petville 5,121,812
8. Pet Society Pet Society 4,230,167
9. Restaurant City Restaurant City 3,412,597
10. Bejeweled Blitz Bejeweled Blitz 3,186,672

In case you're interested, these are the top ten social developers, based on the number of users. The plus or minus indicates an increase or decrease in the number from last week's data.

1. Zynga - 238,730,312 (+)
2. RockYou! - 90,682,485 (+)
3. Facebook - 62,369,109 (+)
4. CrowdStar - 51,077,668 (+)
5. Electronic Arts (Playfish) - 50,938,451 (+)
6. 6 waves - 33,087,206 (+)
7. Mmkay - 27,075,181 (+)
8. Playdom - 25,279,308 (+)
9. Causes - 23,503,074 (-)
10. FamilyLink.com - 19,944,858 (-)