Happy Birthday Cityville – One Year simulating city-building

What is Cityville

Zynga Games (creators of Farmville – the most played gamed on facebook) released Cityville a year ago. The goal is to develop a city by farming, constructing buildings, and collecting rent. The game is a freemium game, meaning there is no cost to play but players have the option of purchasing premium content (only 1% to 3% gamers really buy any premium content). It allows one to be the City Major deciding how to plan and manage the city. It’s a mix of Simcity(a lot) with Farmville. The interactivity with friends (the so called neighbors) gave the game real life it needed to become a little more addicted.


How it started   

It was born December 2nd 2010 and drove 116.000 the first day and after a week 1.2 million people were playing the game. Cityville was already the fastest growing game ever. After a month they broke a record of 84.2 million people playing the game. The previous record was settled by Farmville (another Zynga creation), which reached 83.8 million monthly users in March 2010 but it took 9 months to reach that number. Less than 15 days later Cityville broke barrier of 100 million monthly users. Was also the more international game with 50% of the users outside US.

Zynga was worth around 5.9 billion dollars before the Cityville launch (according to sharepost/IPO) and a year after it’s worth more than 9 billion dollars making it a TOP 3 Most Worth Videogame company.

How to Play

Users have to manage energy points, goods for business, city coins and city cash. There are a lot of premium items that can only be paid with city cash which have to be bought from Zynga with real life dollars. Not totally as people start with 5 city cash. One also gain one citycash everytime a new level is achieved. The game started having 80 levels but was upgraded several times as Zynga continues developing the game.

There are roads, sidewalks, gardens, trees and lots of other decorations. The houses are important as one goal is increase city population. But the city population can only grow if you have enough community buildings to let it happen as they are the ones that increase population that the city bares to have. Then you have shops and other business that give you money. But you need product to support all businesses. So there are crops, boats, a factory and trains to bring goods to the city.

You can also visit your friends city’s to help them out (you have 5 energy units to do so every 12 hours). That also gives you some bonus and reputation points (hearts). A fun and interactive game to play as sometimes you also need to ask for help to your friends as asking them for permits to expand your city limits and continuing building it.


Changes with Cities Growing

When you want to make your city bigger you need more zoning permits to expand your limits. So initially you only need 1 zoning permit and 20,000 coins but on your second expansion you will need 2 permits. The population required to expand your limits is also a question you need to pay attention too. After 25 expansions you will need 40 permits to expand your limits and that’s permanent. So each time you want to expand you need 40 zoning permits and 20,000 coins.

As you level up you get more community buildings, more houses, more crops and more goals to achieve. At level 26 you can start having Hotels in your city. Friends can come to your Hotels, ask for VIP and get prices. Among those prices are Houses, SPA and Shops. You can sell some of the things you gain in order to get more City Coins.

As in real life almost everything has a price that is usually in city cash. That means that as long as you spend some dollars to get your city cash you are allowed to get whatever you want to your city.

Business: Gaga, Enrique, McDonalds and Michael Jackson

Besides selling some premium content Zynga also makes money promoting music artists and brands. Lady Gaga used Cityville (and other Zynga games) to promote her album “Born This Way” when it was released April 2011. Since October 2011 Enrique Iglesias did 45 million concerts from the Euphoria Tour on Cityville (compared to the 78 concerts he did in real life). Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour, a Circle de Soleil production, was also promoted on Cityville.

Capital One, Best Buy, Coca-Cola and McDonalds all had used Cityville as a promotional channel. Honestly, who doesn’t want to have a McDonalds franchise?

Who Plays

As far as we know 53% of the players are female, 41% are male and 6% are unknown, probably aliens that fell in love with the game.

Cityville Hometown

It’s actually a different game. This is mobile version of Cityville to be played on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It can be downloaded for free at the Apple App Store and it’s available since August 2011. It’s based on the original Cityville game but with a smaller town. It has all the main features although it is a complete different game making no connection with the web based game. The last update (with lot’s of bug solved already) it’s from November 15th and

What’s New Lately

Now Cityville shrink to 49.1 million active monthly game players on Facebook (Farmville shrink to 31 million) and have 21 million plus users liking the game page on that social network. The game is also available at Google + since September 2011.

Recent goals and upgraded features include:

– Dam (give 7 extra energy points maximum capacity)

– Windmill Farm (give 7 extra energy points maximum capacity)

– Eiffel Tower (When activated gives bonus of 300% in Hotels, 200% in Restaurants and 25% in other business)

– Statue of Liberty (When activated gives bonus of 200% in Houses, 400% in Community Buildings)

– Neighborhood – where to place lots of houses to save space

– City Center – an anniversary bonus that works like a neighborhood for community buildings (holds up to12)

Now it’s Christmas and so cities are getting ready for it, not forgetting the snow, Santa’s House and the presents. Not to forget the new McDonalds restaurant prepared for winter (yes, McDonalds is back!).

Bugs and Last Minute Problems

The Cityville bug problems and constant changes are not always pacific. Problems visiting friends, problems getting the game to run (which happens a lot when there are a lot of people playing at the same time), problems with energy points, problems with inventory items, and we could go on and on.

Last minute problems seem to be related to population one needs to expand the city. Besides having permits to expand once a city would get to 64,400 population to expand would not have any more population restrictions. The thing is that it seems that today gamers to expand the limits of their cities need to have more population than before and most of the cases will probably need to gain population as it seems the ratio between expansions/population growth has changed!


It still is the most popular web game ever (so far) on social networks.

Happy Birthday Cityville! Have a Merry Christmas!


Official Cityville facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=291549705119&v=app_7146470109

Official Cityville Google + page:


Official Cityville Hometown iTunes page:


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