Facebook has named Playdom's Gardens of Time as the most popular game on its social network in 2011.
The Disney-owned firm's hidden-object title beat Zynga's Cityville to the top spot despite statistics suggesting it has fewer active users.
Facebook said it gave priority to games with the highest satisfaction scores.
The TechCrunch blog described the move as a "snub", but other analysts said the site might have wanted to promote its recommendation tools.
Reviews of Gardens of Time have praised its design and addictive gameplay. However, several internet bloggers have expressed surprise it topped Facebook's list.
Zynga's city-building simulation ranked third on the scoreboard behind Electronic Arts' The Sims Social. However, Zynga can still lay claim to being the most successful publisher after appearing four times on the list.Rank reasons
Facebook's top 10 games of 2011
- 1. Gardens of Time (Playdom)
- 2. The Sims Social (EA)
- 3. Cityville (Zynga)
- 4. Doubledown Casino (Doubledown Interactive)
- 5. Indiana Jones Adventure World (Zynga)
- 6. Words With Friends (Zynga)
- 7. Bingo Blitz (Buffalo Studios)
- 8. Empires & Allies (Zynga)
- 9. Slotomania-Slot Machines (Playtika)
- 10. Diamond Dash (Wooga)
After Techcrunch questioned the methodology, Facebook amended its company blog to explain its decision.
"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," it said.
"The result is a list of the games that received the most user recommendations in 2011."
The most up-to-date measurements of monthly active users based on Facebook's statistics and reported by the independent metrics firm Appdata suggested that Zynga's games Cityville, Castleville, Farmville and Texas Holdem were the four most played games on Facebook. Appdata said Gardens of Time was the 14th most played title.
A direct comparison suggested that Cityville had 48.8 million monthly active users compared to 8.5 million for Gardens of Time.
Notably it ranked Farmville as the third most played game with 32.1 million monthly active users. Farmville did not appear in Facebook's top 10 list.