Zynga and the Rise of the New Gamer

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Zynga and the Rise of the New Gamer

If Farmville isn't that fun, why are so many people playing it?

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Couldn't put it up in a better time. Zynga does make games like that but some people, (most people on the Escapist) don't find that fun, it's just "a mindless boring chore". That remindes me, if Yahtzee ever reviews anything by Zynga, I'll start playing it (because he never will).

(I think you forgot to mention, if you want really good stuff in FarmVille, you have to pay in FarmVille cash, which is worth as ordinary cash after it has been accidentally dropped in a volcano)

That article was nothing but the truth.

The lesson has already been learned by other industries. Make something cheap and they'll spend a fortune on it, defend it to the hilt and scoff at those who pay extra.

MMOs have been doing it for decades. Tesco/Walmart do it.

Of course, no-one looks into the dodgy business practices behind it because "LOL ITS GRATE LOL".

Also see English Tabloids, Italian Football, Supermarket Alcohol, James Patterson novels, Reality TV. Selling things to people who don't like things.

Sell it cheap and pile it high. The LCD will always bring you profit.

Of course, it does mean that everyone has to put up with the domination of the industry by cheap and cheerful; but that doesn't matter as it was only a small % that we lost from our profit margins.

And you can always sell them games as art.

The strange thing is, the games industry started on it. Look at how Space Invaders and Pacman dominated. Simple controls, simple action, flashing lights, cheap games.

And it nearly bust Japan.

A great and wholly true article.
I still don't like Zynga, though.

I once tried to play Farmville, I played for 2 minutes, went off to do something else and 2 weeks later came back thinking I would have a lush eden only to find it all fucking dead!

I have never played another Facebook game since. I just don't find that kind of thing fun

That will not stop it being popular though

Insightful, as always.

This is why I'm glad I started gaming at a very young age... I mean, when I was in kindergarten I was playing Sesame Street and Pajama Sam point and click adventure games, then I got a GameCube and Pikmin, then I got Call of Duty, then I got Resident Evil 4. I basically worked my way up from the very bottom, so advancing at a slow pace like that came naturally to me. Now I can pick up nearly any game and play it without even glancing at the manual.

TimeLord:
I once tried to play Farmville, I played for 2 minutes, went off to do something else and 2 weeks later came back thinking I would have a lush eden only to find it all fucking dead!

I have never played another Facebook game since. I just don't find that kind of thing fun

That will not stop it being popular though

Similar to Animal Crossing, I see. It makes you play every single day, and that's what gets you. Then it becomes routine.

My god, I'm suprised people play Farmville when they can play Simcity which is the same fucking game but not hacked to be on HYPERBILIOTRONICAL EASY MODE and doesn't demand constant attention.

In fact, Zynga's a little late to the party. They just got the bigger non-gamer demographic, non-gamers with computers, decent internet and can play flash games on them. Nintendo was already targeting this audience, however the barrier of console gaming for all non-gamers and gamers alike (you can't upgrade a PS2 into a PS3 by buying the more advanced processors, graphics cards and higher RAM) makes it a lot more limited.

"So Zynga took a simple game dynamic we're all familiar with and made it available to everyone..."

Actually they took someone else's simple game dynamic (see FarmTown) and advertised it better. What I'm afraid of is that this "off-the-shelf" synonym for passing off someone else's game as your own becomes seen as acceptable.

Even though there isn't anything specifically untrue in this article, it doesn't really mention that the reason the gameplay isn't innovative isn't because they were trying to make an accessible sim adaptation, but because forcing someone to come back (even in the middle of the night) every few hours to accomplish simple tasks keeps the eyeballs coming back to see all the ads, without scaring them away with difficulty.

The entire purpose of farmville is to keep people coming back at a regular clip to stare at all the ads. It isn't meant to be innovative (of course), but it also isnt meant to be accessible. Accessibility (and lack of difficulty) is merely a side effect of making sure that no one stops looking at the ads because the "game" part is too hard.

That's why Zynga is less not revolution in "gaming," per se, but is a revolution in targeted marketing.

the man speaks the truth
maybe Sony n M$ could supply a demo disc with all games, that has a little bit of 1st person, 3rd person, driving, flying, platform and talks the player through it all with detailed none condescending instructions

Listen, a causal flash game that resides in a social network in a browser is not the same a a game that companies like Valve and BioWare make. Not only that but Zynga does a shoddy job of maintaining that thing that they call a game. I started playing and not even two minutes in it glitched up, force refreshed my page, and I lost all progress.
Zynga isn't a game developer and a poor developer of facebook apps.

Very interesting article, and it makes you think. I still don't like Zynga or Farmville, but I guess I can see the need to have it now. I've said for a while that casual gaming is really a gateway wherein we get new gamers, but I guess I never really made the connection with Zynga before.

You do realise that Farm Ville is totally ripped off from Farm Town, right?

Same with Mafia Wars and Mob Wars?

Jeez, wish the Escapist would hire some writers who actually knew the background of whatever they were talking about.

JordanMillward_1:
You do realise that Farm Ville is totally ripped off from Farm Town, right?

Same with Mafia Wars and Mob Wars?

Jeez, wish the Escapist would hire some writers who actually knew the background of whatever they were talking about.

Ouch careful, granted Zynga nicked those ideas but even so Shamus made some good points.

I don't like Zynga much, but I don't wanna fire up FarmVille in case I get addicted. It has to be said, Zynga is good at what it does.

If only Zynga weren't a shovelware producing, technology cloning, ripoff producing pile of scammers then maybe I'd be a little more willing to hear them out.

Yea, I can see the point here. Still don't enjoy these games myself.

My Mum loves FarmVille. Apparently crops can be planted that take only a few minutes or several days to grow. If you don't come back and harvest within a predefined time frame, they die. That is the point. She has never spent a penny on the game and has played it regularly for months.

I do have friends (in their 30s-40s who could in no way be called gamers) who play FV in competition with each other. Some of them have spent oodles of real cash to buy farmcash. These guys spend hours playing daily.

Innovative? No, but they don't know or care. I wouldn't care either if Zynga hadn't been able to beat Square and look to be beating Valve. Lot's of people spend excessive time and money on games that I think suck.

SnipErlite:

JordanMillward_1:
You do realise that Farm Ville is totally ripped off from Farm Town, right?

Same with Mafia Wars and Mob Wars?

Jeez, wish the Escapist would hire some writers who actually knew the background of whatever they were talking about.

Ouch careful, granted Zynga nicked those ideas but even so Shamus made some good points.

I don't like Zynga much, but I don't wanna fire up FarmVille in case I get addicted. It has to be said, Zynga is good at what it does.

Still, PopCap and Armor Games are better at what zynga does, and they actually makes innovative games that aren't there just to feed you ads. They just don't have the benefit of a built in audience of millions (facebook).

and not just the PC industry... there is some fault on the PC gaming side where each new game demands a little more horsepower than the next. would be nice if they could extend the compatibility/playability cycle a little like most console games do - you can't go designing for a new console everytime you write a game, because there's really only a new one ever 4-5 years - unlike on a PC, where last year's average gaming rig just can't cut it anymore.

jmoore4ska:

Still, PopCap and Armor Games are better at what zynga does, and they actually makes innovative games that aren't there just to feed you ads. They just don't have the benefit of a built in audience of millions (facebook).

Oh totally, I love PopCap purely for making Plants vs Zombies. I don't like Zynga but I have a grudging respect for their success.

JordanMillward_1:
You do realise that Farm Ville is totally ripped off from Farm Town, right?

Same with Mafia Wars and Mob Wars?

Jeez, wish the Escapist would hire some writers who actually knew the background of whatever they were talking about.

I didn't mention it because it wasn't important to the point I was making.

Petchyy:
This isn't a rally of passionate people defending their game.

I have never before seen such a massive concentration of stupid. I think my I.Q. plummeted just from reading that.

Also, to reiterate: Zynga isn't popular because it is accessible. There are plenty of flash game developers who design good, simple, and entertaining free games. Zynga is just well known because it is on facebook and shamelessly spams the notifications and newsfeed of anyone who is friends with a player. If PopCap made a Facebook game, then made sure that it showed up in your feed 25 times a day or more, i'm sure they would get a lot of attention, at the expense of their integrity.

SnipErlite:

jmoore4ska:

Still, PopCap and Armor Games are better at what zynga does, and they actually makes innovative games that aren't there just to feed you ads. They just don't have the benefit of a built in audience of millions (facebook).

Oh totally, I love PopCap purely for making Plants vs Zombies. I don't like Zynga but I have a grudging respect for their success.

Hm, i'd say i respect their success the same way i respected the success of Bernie Madoff. He may not have earned his billions, but he certainly scammed his way to having billions.

I don't think merely having money means you deserve respect. It's how you make your money that gets respect from me, and Zynga made theirs by partnering up with ads that installed spyware and programs that scammed their users for money through "fine print." Just because they stopped, allegedly, when they got caught doesn't mean their legacy of shady practices gets a free pass.

jmoore4ska:
Also, to reiterate: Zynga isn't popular because it is accessible. There are plenty of flash game developers who design good, simple, and entertaining free games. Zynga is just well known because it is on facebook and shamelessly spams the notifications and newsfeed of anyone who is friends with a player. If PopCap made a Facebook game, then made sure that it showed up in your feed 25 times a day or more, i'm sure they would get a lot of attention, at the expense of their integrity.

It is time for people to learn the basics of FB. You can hide all of the annoying newsfeeds for all of the stupid flash games on FB without hiding your friends' real posts. If it wasn't for this ability I would have given up FB shortly after creating my account.

jmoore4ska:

SnipErlite:

jmoore4ska:

Still, PopCap and Armor Games are better at what zynga does, and they actually makes innovative games that aren't there just to feed you ads. They just don't have the benefit of a built in audience of millions (facebook).

Oh totally, I love PopCap purely for making Plants vs Zombies. I don't like Zynga but I have a grudging respect for their success.

Hm, i'd say i respect their success the same way i respected the success of Bernie Madoff. He may not have earned his billions, but he certainly scammed his way to having billions.

I don't think merely having money means you deserve respect. It's how you make your money that gets respect from me, and Zynga made theirs by partnering up with ads that installed spyware and programs that scammed their users for money through "fine print." Just because they stopped, allegedly, when they got caught doesn't mean their legacy of shady practices gets a free pass.

Oh I know, but one has to respect one's enemies somewhat right?
I just mean I appreciate they're damn successful and that garners a little respect, although I strongly dislike them for all the scamming and shady deals and spyware things. For that, they are bastards.

And I quote: "If Farmville isn't that fun, why are so many people playing it?".

Because it requires zilch IQ, no skill, and time, something which these brainless idiots have lots of.

Imposing Snail:
"So Zynga took a simple game dynamic we're all familiar with and made it available to everyone..."

Actually they took someone else's simple game dynamic (see FarmTown) and advertised it better. What I'm afraid of is that this "off-the-shelf" synonym for passing off someone else's game as your own becomes seen as acceptable.

This^^^ for god's sake, this for fucking TRUTH.

Personally, I think Farmville isn't that fun either...but that's not really the point. It caters to something many people inhernetly have deep within our psyche's.

By nature we are collectors and hoarders, and games like Farmville are all about collecting ribbons, building materials, unique gifts, etc. and putting them on display. It really isn't too much unlike collecting Xbox achievent points or PS trophies...it's all about bragging (even if it only to yourself) that you have the biggest farm, or maybe the coolest layout.

My wife can spend literally hours on this thing daily...very addictive to her...and she normally hates video games. I think she enjoys this because in it's basic form the game is very 'passive' in its most basic premise....You click and wait and collect.

I think many women like these types of games because they aren't violent, you don't have to memorize ludicrous buttone mashing combinations, there's no 'crap' talk...it's like shopping at the mall to them....She can walk around and 'decorate' to her hearts content as a timesink.

DMac the Knife:

jmoore4ska:
Also, to reiterate: Zynga isn't popular because it is accessible. There are plenty of flash game developers who design good, simple, and entertaining free games. Zynga is just well known because it is on facebook and shamelessly spams the notifications and newsfeed of anyone who is friends with a player. If PopCap made a Facebook game, then made sure that it showed up in your feed 25 times a day or more, i'm sure they would get a lot of attention, at the expense of their integrity.

It is time for people to learn the basics of FB. You can hide all of the annoying newsfeeds for all of the stupid flash games on FB without hiding your friends' real posts. If it wasn't for this ability I would have given up FB shortly after creating my account.

I know several people who have given up on it. The problem isn't people needing to learn the basics of FB.. it's FB itself not setting those basics up to be reasonable to begin with, and letting app developers like Zynga spread themselves worse than H1N1

I'm sorry, but the only reason Zynga is even a known name is Facebook. Without Facebook we wouldn't be talking about them right now. Without Facebook they would have 0 votes in March Mayhem. This isn't a case of passionate gamers rising up to vote for their game. This is the case of Zynga spamming all of Facebook for votes. This is NOT "the rise of a new gamer". This is a the rise of people who already spend hours looking at pictures on Facebook who decide to spend some time clicking stuff on a Facebook application. Zynga games are games the same way Reality TV is real.

I'm all for the Wii and companies like PopCap bringing the rise of GOOD casual gaming and introducing games to non gamers, but the last thing we need is to hold up a company to praise who steals peoples ideas, scams their own customers, and their only claim to success is being lucky and riding on the backs of the latest "it" social networking site.

DMac the Knife:

jmoore4ska:
Also, to reiterate: Zynga isn't popular because it is accessible. There are plenty of flash game developers who design good, simple, and entertaining free games. Zynga is just well known because it is on facebook and shamelessly spams the notifications and newsfeed of anyone who is friends with a player. If PopCap made a Facebook game, then made sure that it showed up in your feed 25 times a day or more, i'm sure they would get a lot of attention, at the expense of their integrity.

It is time for people to learn the basics of FB. You can hide all of the annoying newsfeeds for all of the stupid flash games on FB without hiding your friends' real posts. If it wasn't for this ability I would have given up FB shortly after creating my account.

I know the whole deal, but that isn't the point. You shouldn't HAVE to learn anything about FB to stop from being spammed. Nobody likes it. FB has the power to stop it, but does not. It isn't about being ABLE to stop it; it's the fact that there's something you need to stop in the first place.

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