How do you say Farmville in Portuguese?
In Brazil, at least, the phenomenon seems to translate as Mini Fazenda. The hit online game, from a U.S.-based startup called Vostu, lets players till fields on a virtual fazenda, or farm, and otherwise experience the life of a Brazilian farmer.
Mini Fazenda is Vostu’s answer to Farmville, the virtual farm game by closely-watched game startup Zynga that has nearly 62 million active monthly users on Facebook. Mini Fazenda has 8.7 million active monthly users, according to Vostu.
The audience for Mini Fazenda and other Vostu games is a sign of Brazil’s emergence as a big market for Internet companies with an online audience estimated at more than 64 million, the fifth-largest online population after China, the U.S., Japan and India. Brazil is also a market that can be eccentric in its acceptance of foreign Internet services: witness the success of Orkut, a social network owned by Google that has achieved Facebook-like appeal in Brazil and relative obscurity in most other parts of the world.
Daniel Kafie, the CEO and cofounder of Vostu, says Brazilians have shown a big appetite to pay real money for virtual goods, like agricultural equipment and seeds, to customize their virtual farms. Brazil has an Internet market comparable to the size of India’s, Kafie says, “but it has all the credit cards that India doesn’t have.”
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