FarmVille, the real-time farming simulation game, is coming to the iPad. Think watching grass grow is a bore? Think again. The blockbuster Facebook app has engrossed more than 60 million fans around the globe and has become a popular iPhone app too. The move to the iPad marks a first for developer Zynga, which will earn estimated revenues of more than $500 million this year.
What’s significant isn’t so much the release of FarmVille for iPad owners, but the rapid expansion of Zynga to new platforms. In a space once dominated by mammoth corporations such as Activision and EA, Zynga’s massive success demonstrates that indie houses are becoming the most robust players in the app market. Only last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lauded Zynga for its efforts as an “underdog” fighting established gaming companies.
What’s more, Zynga illustrates the potential of cross-platform development. The company’s apps are simple–basic graphics and gameplay that takes advantage of social media–but the scalability is endless. FarmVille started as a Facebook app before heading to the iPhone and now iPad. We should expect Zynga’s full roster to join it soon–Mafia Wars, anyone?–and eventually make to Android and other platforms.
In the past, games took forever to port, with users having to wait months before popular games headed to the Xbox or PS3 or PC. In the app world, however, scale is not an issue of time.
All right, now I must get back to tending my crops. On the iPad.