Zynga takes its properties offline and turns them into boardgames.
It’s the ouroboros for the modern age; Zynga, in partnership with Hasbro, will take several of its most popular virtual brands and make them physical. CityVille, FarmVille, Words With Friends and Draw Something will all get the boardgame treatment, and are due out this fall. Just in time for Christmas, in fact.
“For the first time,” said a Hasbro spokesman, “players will be able to play Words With Friends, CityVille and FarmVille online and face-to-face.” Kind of, anyway; the games themselves are being wedded to existing titles, so CityVille becomes Monopoly but with skyscrapers, FarmVille becomes Hungry Hungry Hippo but with pigs and cows; funnily enough, Words With Friends and Draw Something become Scrabble and Pictionary respectively.
Each game comes with some electronic bennies – mainly in-game cash, which can then be used to buy virtual items – but this will only appeal to people already invested in the games the coins relate to, not to anyone who picks up, say, CityVille Monopoly for its novelty value. It’s not a completely trivial benefit; the CityVille Monopoly coin, for instance, would cost about $10 if bought online.
The RRP hovers between $19.99 (Words With Friends) to $24.99 (CityVille), and most of these are due sometime in October or later this fall. Given recent events Zynga may be pleased to see a little extra cash this Christmas, but to me these look suspiciously like the kind of thing a non-gaming relative buys someone who games, because “it’s just like that thing you like.” Then it sits on a shelf gathering dust until it can be safely shuffled off to a garage sale.