Jimquisition: EA versus Zynga - The Lesser of Two Evils

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I never made the mistake of seeing EA as a "friend" I'm as critical of the industry as I always was before this happened, though I am cheering for them in this conflict simply because I feel that within the limited context of this issue they happen to be right, and I do think their victory will benefit gaming... or at least has a chance to.

I will say that I think you underplay Zynga's effect on gaming though, if Zynga was just a producer of casual games for the lowest human denominator, there wouldn't have ever been an issue, after all serious gamers have lived alongside shovelware for a very long time, your "real" games were right accross the aisle from titles like "Alien Disco Safari" or "Cute Knight" for a very long time.

The issue with Zynga is that it's success and the way it's presented itself has contributed to the trend of major developers turning to low-grade shovelware. Rather than taking the risks in making a serious game, they realize they can make 200 small, derivitive games for the same price, and cover the losses for 199 of them if one manages to succeed. Angry Birds (Rovio) and other successful apps also contributed to this, but Zynga was responsible for getting the ball rolling and has pretty much been the guys to watch. Indeed the sheer amount of money to be made from garbage is why EA cares about Zynga's knockoffs. On a lot of respects Zynga corrupted EA even further, and EA is now trying to infect the "casual game" space and remove it's competition.

Basically, without Zynga getting the ball rolling, you wouldn't see so many developers talking about how gaming as we've grown to know it is dead, and "re organizing" to produce shovelware (though they rarely call it that). I also think Zynga can be blamed for the cash shops in the western market, Korean games and such had been doing this for a while, but it never really caught on in the western market, the "Ville" games demonstrated how addictive behavior in gamers can be exploited, if people were willing to pay a fortune to click cows more efficiently, the logic was to re-package it to exploit the same thing in other games, including the inclusion of barriers in a free game that render it more or less unenjoyable unless you invest increasingly larger amounts of money.

A good example of the problems would be the recent situation with Funcom. Funcom not only launched "The Secret World" with the overpriced cash shop, which I don't think would have been there if Zynga hadn't really gotten the trend rolling for this market, but when the game didn't perform to their expectations (unsurprising given how they duplicated pretty much every design mistake MMOs have made in recent memory), they immediatly decided to lay off staff and reform with the intent of producing "smaller" games, the one being mentioned is an ultra-casual affair based on Lego minifigures... and if that sounds like a cutesy casual game with the added demon of a product tie in, your absolutly correct. This in direct opposition to Funcom taking it's mild success (by all accounts the game made money, it just didn't make as much as they expected by retaining players), learning from it's mistakes, dusting themselves off, and going ahead with their next big product... which is what would have happened if there wasn't a gold rush on the casual market.

Give it time, in a few years let's see how many real games there are left. They probably won't ever totally disappear, but you'll notice just about everyone is re-structuring for that (it takes time to actually have an influance) being the primary focus.

Now granted, I consider Zynga a big evil, as big as EA, but from a differant direction, but EA taking them down isn't going to accomplish much as their damage is done. At the most they can be deprived of success and prevented from potentially doing anything else.

To sort of invoke Godwin's Law, in this relationship EA is like a group of Neo-Nazis, they are imitating the evil of others and arguably bringing it to new extremes. Zynga is like Hitler and the actual Nazis, they were the ones that started the evil philsophy and trends that other, arguably more obnoxious, groups are running with. Not a perfect analogy, but the point is that EA has never been great at the creative process, even when it comes to business (as you pointed out), Zynga on the other hand is one of the groups that helped create the morass of suck that the gaming industry is sinking into.

To keep up the Batman metaphor, I would say that this fight is more like if The Joker (EA) found out that Zsaz (Zynga) was about to Murder Batman (In this case, the Gamer community and developers), and the Joker decided that that was HIS honor, and he would take Zsaz out first so HE could be the one to ruin everyone's day. You can still root for the Joker, because it helps out Batman, but any damage they do to each other is just a bonus, AND amusing to boot.

Maybe I'm not paying close attention, but it seems to me like EA is doing the whole PR thing, thanking gamers for support, while the attitude of gamers seems to be more, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day". Yeah, EA sueing Zynga is good, and congrats to them for it, but that's a drop of goodwill in an ocean of well deserved hate. I don't think EA is pulling of some big swindle, I think that maybe they have rightfully earned back a fraction of of a percent of the respect they have pissed away.

Neither are good but the investment of EA has allowed some pretty and epic games to exist that otherwise would not have. Zynga has produced NOTHING of value. They parasites and scammers in the worst way. They use psychological tricks to suck up people's time and and money and give nothing back.

Unfortunately the zynga execs are going to come out of it with piles of money on which to sleep with many beautiful women. Just because the concept of justice is a myth much like the tooth fairy.

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy, no more, no less.

Zachary Amaranth:
The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.

"EA is a hero for the little people"
That's why they fired George Fan after announcing Plants vs. Zombies 2

Case in point.

I believe the saying is actually supposed to be 'The enemy of my enemy is my ally'. However, if the enemy of your enemy also happens to be your enemy as well the saying is kind of redundant.

This one was great,I fully support you Jim.

Thank God for you!

Personally, I know neither of them is good and Zynga's gonna collapse, but I'm hoping it gets a last-minute comeback and takes EA down with it.

On a side note Jim, love your use of the Trance Kuja music during the little Bane bit.

Agreed this is a case of Hitler vs a common street thug. And you really can't blame the street thug Zynga he's just doing what he needs to do to survive whats EAs excuse?

I know this is going to sound pathetic in the long run but I have to disagree with your analogy of Zynga being Zsasz. I think the only thing those two have in common is the Z in their name. Zsasz is a scary villain in his own right I mean he's certainly the closest thing you can get to a realistic serial killer. I think Zynga is more like Killer Moth silly and not really taken seriously by most people.

Personally I don't understand how people can have such strong attachments to companies; especially one such as EA that just wants to bleed us dry. But if they're willing to try and stab each other to death I'm more than happy to sit and watch.

I'd compare EA to Lex Luther rather then Joker.

What is the footage at 2:09 to 2:30 from? Apologies for the bump.

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