Happy Farm was developed by Chinese social game developer 5 Minutes. Its development was complete in May 2008, testing was complete in July the same year, and the game was released in Autumn 2008. It allows players to grow crops, trade with others, sell produce, and steal from neighbors. The game was influenced by the Japanese farming simulation series, Harvest Moon.
At the height of its popularity, there were 23 million daily active users, logging on to the game at least every 24 hours. The game peaked during the end of the 2000's, and in the following years, experienced a decline in players.
At the height of its popularity, there were 23 million daily active users, logging on to the game at least every 24 hours. Approximately 15 million urban white-collar workers were estimated to have spent more than five hours a day on Happy Farm. Because of its popularity, the game's host, Tencent QQ, capped the number of new players per day at 2 million.
A number of later games have used similar game mechanics, such as Sunshine Farm, Happy Farmer, Happy Fishpond, and Happy Pig Farm. Happy Farm went on to inspire many more farming social network games, including Farm Town, FarmVille, Country Story, Barn Buddy, Sunshine Ranch, and Happy Harvest, as well as parodies such as Jungle Extreme and Farm Villain.
Wired included Happy Farm in its list of "The 15 Most Influential Games of the Decade" at #14, for its major influence on social network gaming, particularly for having "inspired a dozen Facebook clones," the largest being Zynga's FarmVille. In 2009, Harvest Moon developers Marvelous Entertainment eventually released their own farming social network game, Bokujo Monogatari, for the Japanese site Mixi.