Zynga goes for the urban life with launch of CityVille

Posted by Kate Taylor

Let's face it, raising chickens isn't everybody's cup of tea, which is why Zynga has decided to try and appeal to more urban Facebook users with the launch of a new game, CityVille.

Available in beta any day now, CityVille allows players to build their ideal city from the ground up, run businesses, interact with friends' cities, and build franchises with their friends.

CityVille also features the company's first 3D-rendered buildings and characters.

"CityVille is where Monopoly meets Main Street," said Sean Kelly, GM of CityVille. "Instead of harvesting crops you're harvesting your neighborhood, instead of clearing your friend's frontier you're working on a friend's franchise."

As city leader, players must start off by clearing the land - using skills gained in FrontierVille, no doubt - and then guide their city to become a thriving metropolis, getting play-by-play tips from their own city advisor.

It's very similar to Sim City: players have to consider their citizens' needs, from roads and housing to post offices and restaurants. Players don't escape agriculture entirely, needing to plant and harvest crops as well as import goods from overseas.

However, players can build friendly trade relationships with their friends' cities and even - with their permission - add and own buildings in them.

The game is free, but players can use Facebook credits to purchase additional features. It will be available at CityVille.com in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish - the first international game launch for Zynga.

FarmVille holds the top spot for Facebook applications, with over 50 million users. Altogether, the company claims over 225 million users for its games.

Until CityVille launches, it's impossible to say how it will stand up to the competition from similar games such as Social City and MyTown. But the odds are that a good chunk of the company's existing users will at least want to try it out - and we all know what that leads to...