Facebook recently released a list of its most popular games this year. But some cried foul over the results and questioned how the social network collecting data for the list. TechCrunch suggested that Facebook had purposefully used "cloudy methodology" to keep game-maker Zynga from dominating the rankings.
While four of the top 10 games were developed by Zynga, the number-one game (see slideshow) came from Disney-owned Playdom. Zynga's 'CityVille', the Facebook game with far and away the most monthly active users (MAU), came came in third on the list. 'FarmVille,' another Zynga creation,didn't even make the list, despite having 32 million more MAU than the title that Facebook dubbed the most popular of the year. (Monthly active user details come from AppData's most recent Facebook app statistics.)
The social network later clarified its ranking process, writing that popularity was based on a combination of active users and recommendations. "This list was compiled by looking at the top games on Facebook with more than 100,000 monthly active users and giving priority to those games with the highest user satisfaction scores," Facebook wrote. "The result is a list of the games that received the most user recommendations in 2011."
According to the BBC, the use of recommendations to determine the top game likely kept voraciously played but older games off the list. Nick Gibson, an analyst at Games Investor told the BBC that the two-and-a-half-year-old FarmVille probably had difficulty competing with newer games because "the volume of recommendations may have been at its peak in the first three or four months." The BBC goes on to suggest that this form of ranking probably had little to do with trying to "handicap" Zynga, and a lot to do with Facebook trying to promote its recommendation tools.
Facebook, which according to Mashable is the biggest platform for social games on the web, says that the average Facebook gamers play more than three titles per month and participate in game play during more than half of their visits to the social networking site.
Did your favorite game make the cut? Check out our slideshow below to find out. To see what else was hot on the social network this year, check out Facebook's top 7 memes of 2011.