As Facebook makes changes to its previously game-friendly system, Zynga and other casual game developers are rapidly losing their loyal players.

Farmville users are dropping quicker than withering crops. In April, 4.4 million players said goodbye to their wilting sunflowers and haven’t been back to plow since. Farmville isn’t the only casual browser game to feel the pain: 18 other games, including Zynga’s other hits Cafe World and Mafia Wars, lost a significant number of players as well.

Inside Social Games blames the removal of third-party notifications, a tool that allowed games to have continuous contact with their players, for the significant churn in the playerbase. Although Zynga CEO, Mark Pincus, claims the trend is only temporary, more players are sure to be lost when casual games are forced to make the shift to in-game gift requests only.

One has to wonder if the dwindling numbers is the reason behind Zynga’s possible migration away from Facebook.

Source: Inside Social Games,via MTV Multiplayer

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