A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

You may not like FarmVille, Facebook, or Twitter, but guess what? They're here to stay.

Read Full Article
 

Windexglow

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Apr 30, 2009
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Oh geeze. I thought this was talking about FarmVille in the book/movie "The Road". Confused the hell out of me..
 

Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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Google was dethroned?!

When did this happen?!

OT: They're here to stay.

But what shocks me is how the iPhone was developed into a great gaming platform.

Social tools like phones, Facebook, Twitter, and gaming CAN mix.
 

drisky

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Mar 16, 2009
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Damn it I'm too tempted to say it."This isn't news. God, I hate Facebook. FarmVille sucks, it isn't even a game. Why are you writing about this?" That just had to be said, any ways what made zaguna popular over other facebook apps seems to be effective marketing and luck. The only thing you can learn from them is that the more people you bring in to play, the better you do, thats what makes it spread like wild fire.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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Kristina Frazier-Henry said:
So social games are here to stay. Um yes, I agree. Is the point of this article just to hear yourself talk?
Are you not familiar with the idea of an editorial arguing a point...?
 

Matt_LRR

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Nov 30, 2009
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John Funk said:
A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

You may not like FarmVille, Facebook, or Twitter, but guess what? They're here to stay.

Read Full Article
Man, Twitter sucks so hard, I can't imagine a single good use for it, and don't understand why someone would want to spend any time on it at all. It's just so... useless.


*wry smile*

-m
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Fine. I'll accept that its here to stay.

But I won't like it, nothing on Earth will make me like it.
Plus, its always fun running into someone who plays Farmville, and looks down on my gaming, saying I should "actually do something."

My retort: "Like how you could be doing something while you plant fake crops?"
 

rembrandtqeinstein

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Sep 4, 2009
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Facebook, like myspace before it, is a fad and will die out just like all other fads. Eventually the current crop of users will grow up a bit and realize nobody cares they took a poo at 9:13 am, and it contained corn.

Saying Farmville is the wave of the future is like someone in 1985 saying breakdancing was the future. Yes it looks that way NOW but give it a couple of years.
 

Lost In The Void

When in doubt, curl up and cry
Aug 27, 2008
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Kristina Frazier-Henry said:
So social games are here to stay. Um yes, I agree. Is the point of this article just to hear yourself talk?
Wow did you make this post just to hear yourself talk?

OT: Finally someone who looks at this from a rational point of view. MM was a pain in the ass, not because Zynga was in it, but rather because people would complain endlessly over it. It got to be rather irritating to be honest. Thank you for a well written argument and an enjoyable read
 

stonethered

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drisky said:
Damn it I'm too tempted to say it."This isn't news. God, I hate Facebook. FarmVille sucks, it isn't even a game. Why are you writing about this?" That just had to be said, any ways what made zaguna popular over other facebook apps seems to be effective marketing and luck. The only thing you can learn from them is that the more people you bring in to play, the better you do, thats what makes it spread like wild fire.
You forgot to crow 'LALALALALAL, I CAN"T HEAR YOU.'


And yes, the reason Farmville is succesful is the same reason people are still sending chain letters/e-mails. If one person gets ten people to play, who get nine people to play, who get nine people to play(not ten because the previous guy is always one of them), then soon enough you've got hundreds of thousands of people playing and trying to get the couple thousand people who resisted to join in.
 

Aurora219

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I really have nothing to do with the social gaming side of the interwebs. And I like that.

Leave them be, and we can carry on.

Nice subtle article about how we should shut up about March Mayhem already, by the way.
 

Galad

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Nov 4, 2009
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Matt_LRR said:
John Funk said:
A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

You may not like FarmVille, Facebook, or Twitter, but guess what? They're here to stay.

Read Full Article
Man, Twitter sucks so hard, I can't imagine a single good use for it, and don't understand why someone would want to spend any time on it at all. It's just so... useless.


*wry smile*

-m
Joking aside, I really don't get the artificial 140 characters limit per post in twitter. It's really like "you have to be shallow about it" as someone remarked on the IRC the first time I noted this.
 

jtesauro

Freelance Detective
Nov 8, 2009
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I actually have the opposite problem. I'm good about Facebook, but I can never remember to log into Twitter. I know there are apps that will allow you to update both, I just need to set aside time to set them up.
 

Matt_LRR

Unequivocal Fan Favorite
Nov 30, 2009
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Galad said:
Matt_LRR said:
John Funk said:
A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

You may not like FarmVille, Facebook, or Twitter, but guess what? They're here to stay.

Read Full Article
Man, Twitter sucks so hard, I can't imagine a single good use for it, and don't understand why someone would want to spend any time on it at all. It's just so... useless.


*wry smile*

-m
Joking aside, I really don't get the artificial 140 characters limit per post in twitter. It's really like "you have to be shallow about it" as someone remarked on the IRC the first time I noted this.
140 characters is the upper limit of a single text message sent from a dumb-phone. Since the service came into being just before wifi and 3g enabled smart-phones really became ubiquitous, the service was built around the ability to use it entirely on the go, from your phone, requiring the 140 character limit.

They've just kept with it. In most cases, anything you want to say can be said in 140 characters (and you can always use a second tweet). Sometimes you just have to get creative with how you word what you want to say. The service has constraints, those constraints don't nnecessitate shallowness.

-m
 

theaceplaya

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Jul 20, 2009
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Huh. Very well said. Especially the last bits with the LA LA LA, it just makes people look ignorant.
 

Camembert

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Kristina Frazier-Henry said:
So social games are here to stay. Um yes, I agree. Is the point of this article just to hear yourself talk?
Oh my God. Why are you here?

If you just created an account to make comments like that, you should probably un-create it, quick.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
 
Nov 5, 2007
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"Yes, we know that Zynga has done some shady things, but this isn't about its ethical practices (or lack thereof) - they don't even enter into the picture here."

Yes but wouldn't it be great if someone would have done what they did for gaming without being shady and openly exploitive of their audience. I'm all for Facebook and social gaming, my issue is solely with Zynga.
 

Xocrates

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rembrandtqeinstein said:
Saying Farmville is the wave of the future is like someone in 1985 saying breakdancing was the future. Yes it looks that way NOW but give it a couple of years.
Or like someone in the 50's saying that Rock and Roll was a fad.

My point being: We don't know. Dismissing it outright makes you sound like an old man telling those damn kids to get offa mah lawn.
Regardless of its future importance, the Farmville/social network phenomenon can teach us a lot NOW.

I don't like facebook anymore than you, but I would be an idiot to pretend it isn't something huge right now, or that it reaches a huge untapped demographic.
 

SilverKyo

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oh, hey Shamus [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/experienced-points/7373-Experienced-Points-Zynga-and-the-Rise-of-the-New-Gamer], you got a new hair cut or something?

Joking aside, I understand your point, but it doesn't change the fact that I despise farmville and the like with a burning passion. After trying it for five minutes, it wasn't hard to realize that solitaire and minesweeper were better designed games, because they... you know... require some sort of thought
 

Matt_LRR

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Nov 30, 2009
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Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
you're completely neglecting buy-in costs. There is a financial barrier to gaming that is very much present, and which disuades people from entering the gaming spehere, particularly those who only have a passing interest in gaming very casually.

In order to play videogames, you need to buy both a system that can play any given game (PC, or console, take your pick). You also need to buy accessories, the game itself and so on. If your'e a person who has only a very base-level interest in games, or who is a little curious, but unfamiliar with the market, you're not going to make that outlay of cash.

Farmville is a free game with a built-in distribution model. You don't have to buy anything, there's no extra tech needed, and if you're on facebook, you already own a system that can play FV. If you have FB, you have access to FV.

However low you might consider the barrier to gaming to be (and I would argue that it's much higher than I've described here, on account of several additional factors) you must see that literally -no- barrier is going to outperform "some" barrier.

-m
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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Matt_LRR said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
you're completely neglecting buy-in costs. There is a financial barrier to gaming that is very much present, and which disuades people from entering the gaming spehere, particularly those who only have a passing interest in gaming very casually.

In order to play videogames, you need to buy both a system that can play any given game (PC, or console, take your pick). You also need to buy accessories, the game itself and so on. If your'e a person who has only a very base-level interest in games, or who is a little curious, but unfamiliar with the market, you're not going to make that outlay of cash.

Farmville is a free game with a built-in distribution model. You don't have to buy anything, there's no extra tech needed, and if you're on facebook, you already own a system that can play FV. If you have FB, you have access to FV.

However low you might consider the barrier to gaming to be (and I would argue that it's much higher than I've described here, on account of several additional factors) you must see that literally -no- barrier is going to outperform "some" barrier.

-m
Yes I am well aware of neglecting the financial barriers. I was simply going with as stated the apparent barrier of effort required to actually play the games which was seemed to be highlighted. This is untrue as gaming is not that hard to actually get into effort wise.

Also if you can play Farmville you can play loads of old PC games so that really negates the cost of platform.
 

Aurgelmir

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Nov 11, 2009
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I don't mind those games, because... well... I don't play them ;)

But I have a great issue with Facebook. And that is the fact that it seems to become more and more "needed" to enjoy "life".

Ok, that might sound weird. But more and more contests and stuff are directed through facebook, even the Escapist has the ask Rebbeca Mayes Muses question thing, which you can only take part in if you are on facebook.

I jsut dislike how ONE internet site is controlling so much of things these days. And its not like I have a choice in "facebook provider" its either facebook or not facebook.

I myself is not on facebook.. yet... but I feel its harder and harder not to be. How can we let one "program" rule so much of our life.

PS: Sure e-mail and phones are very much needed in this day and age, but I have a choice in service provider. And I have never seen a contest been held exclusively through MSN.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
Yes while I am well aware I am ignoring financial barriers I was commenting on the fact that this apparent barrier of effort is stopping people from gaming. Which it isn't. If the financial barrier was given more detail fair enough but it is not. I thought that this barrier of effort was much more stressed in the article which is completely untrue. As gaming is not that hard to get into if you start with something small like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Even CoD can be breezed through on easy. While there is a financial barrier there are many games that can played if you have a PC capable of playing Farmville they just won't be as mainstream as Cod more brower based games some of which are very good.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
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*Shrugs*

I'm one of those that thinks Zynga gets too much attention, and I think those numbers are very deceptive. Right now Zynga has the advantage of being the first ones on scene using this method to sell advertising. I believe (personally) that this is where most of their revenue comes from, I do not think they are making all that much money off of the "cash shops" of games like Farmville or whatever despite what they might present. Still getting millions upon millions of "hits" is an impressive thing to someone who wants to sell advertising space.

The problem though is that as more people get involved in this, that audience is going to be increasingly divided, the hits in each area are going to go down, and it's not going to be all that profitable or special in the long run.

Back during the 1990s you had all those mall survey guys, which started out being fairly popular. You'd have some dude approach you, and offer you free samples of so and so product in exchange for doing a survey. It was cool for a while but then it got to the point where you had these dudes staking out pretty much every high traffic mall, and even multiple groups operating in the biggest ones. Leading to the whole "want to take a survey" joke from Animaniacs because it became hateful and annoying.

The current situation seems a lot like that where Zynga seems cool because they are the first ones doing it. They will consult and sell "Expertise" until the market is saturated
and we'll doubtlessly see companies who invest in this now collapsing as the market becomes divided and the novelty wears out. We're looking at what amounts to a fad, that like all fads seems "massive" and like it will go on forever. I don't object to Zynga and these "social media" games getting some coverage, but I think it's being taken waaay too seriously.

Besides, we've more or less been here before. Back before the internet became what it is now, we had these things called "Bulletin Board Systems" or BBSes. People used to run them out of their houses, and there were these things called "Echos" which were the social networking sites of their day where BBS systems would share message boards by periodically uploading and downloading information to people running "hub" systems.

On BBS systems you had these "Door Games" which were very simple games where while logged in you could do stuff have your progress saved, and then other people logging into the same BBS could do the same thing, and at the end of the day it would process results. Some games would work off of hubs and send packets out so people on multiple boards could play together and such. Less advanced and "purdy", but pretty much the same exact thing that you see here. A few people got the idea that this was the way of the future because of all the people that could be reached, and a few lucky fellows made apparently a small fortune through registration fees with some of the first successful games. Tons of people jumped on the bandwagon for these games used by "casual" BBS users and in the end it simply went nowhere except for the first few guys. Interestingly some of you might remember a game called "Double Daggers" by "Prince Desty", in the credits it has "Additional Ideas and Concepts by Therumancer" (that is me). Never went anywhere, but when I was a kid I was pretty into the whole BBS thing and thought Door Games were da bomb. :p

This is on a larger scale, but fundementally the same thing, and will doubtlessly end the same way. I find it somewhat ironic because it seems that while time goes on, the same basic events re-occur. Right now we have this Zynga thing, and at the same time we've got people trying to bring back Interactive movies of the sort that were tried around the advent of CD RoM tech for PCs.


I'm probably not explaining/articulating myself well, but basically I doubt think this is a big deal. Indeed I think it's only become one because of all the hype surrounding it.

I could be wrong, but in a few years I'll imagine some fortunes will be squandered by people trying to emulate Zyga. You'll have dozens if not hundreds of "social network games" for casual people, many of which will become ghost towns, constantly fighting to get someone to buy advertising space.

Ironically I also suspect that there will be a couple of fairly successful games but they will succeed by using the online social platforms, while not being all that "casual". I look at things like say "Trade Wars" and other similar games for the BBS systems which seemed to be the most enduring of the crop once the mad rush died out, and people finally realized they weren't going to make money by programming ANSI graphics. :p
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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rembrandtqeinstein said:
Facebook, like myspace before it, is a fad and will die out just like all other fads. Eventually the current crop of users will grow up a bit and realize nobody cares they took a poo at 9:13 am, and it contained corn.

Saying Farmville is the wave of the future is like someone in 1985 saying breakdancing was the future. Yes it looks that way NOW but give it a couple of years.
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
 

Cari-des

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I'm sure just like all other popular casual games, Farmville is here to stay. It's not particularly news at all. It's more common sense. When a game gets as popular as Farmville even if Facebook dies out, it will live on somewhere else. That's why there's so many versions of "Bejeweled" and "Tetris" and all of those other casual games that we all just hate to love.
 

randommaster

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I find Farmville funny because a lot of people are like, "ZOMG Harvest Moon was awesome!" and then turn around and say "ROFL noob stop playing Farmville its not a game!!!!11!one."

They're (almost) the samee game, and I can't see why people are raising a ruckus about it. I don't like, or even play, Farmville but I don't play Harvest Moon either because it's not the kind of game I like.
 

Matt_LRR

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Nov 30, 2009
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Glademaster said:
Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
Yes while I am well aware I am ignoring financial barriers I was commenting on the fact that this apparent barrier of effort is stopping people from gaming. Which it isn't. If the financial barrier was given more detail fair enough but it is not. I thought that this barrier of effort was much more stressed in the article which is completely untrue. As gaming is not that hard to get into if you start with something small like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Even CoD can be breezed through on easy. While there is a financial barrier there are many games that can played if you have a PC capable of playing Farmville they just won't be as mainstream as Cod more brower based games some of which are very good.
And a person who isn't already into gaming wouldn't know that.

-m
 

randommaster

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John Funk said:
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
No, Facebook will turn into zombie website that hides in the tubes and infects other packets as they go by, slowly turning the entire internet into a mass of websites sending you requests to join your friends.

...Anyways, I wonder what will kill Facebook, another site or an internal collapse. I'm going to say the later, but I am curious as to what would replace it.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
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Matt_LRR said:
Glademaster said:
Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
Yes while I am well aware I am ignoring financial barriers I was commenting on the fact that this apparent barrier of effort is stopping people from gaming. Which it isn't. If the financial barrier was given more detail fair enough but it is not. I thought that this barrier of effort was much more stressed in the article which is completely untrue. As gaming is not that hard to get into if you start with something small like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Even CoD can be breezed through on easy. While there is a financial barrier there are many games that can played if you have a PC capable of playing Farmville they just won't be as mainstream as Cod more brower based games some of which are very good.
And a person who isn't already into gaming wouldn't know that.

-m
Bingo.

Look, I know it's easy to think that gaming is as easy to get into as riding a bike, but it's not. We can't even make that sort of judgment because we've been playing games for years - almost as much time as we spend in school. It's literally second nature to us.

It's not second nature to millions and billions of other people.
 

PedroSteckecilo

Mexican Fugitive
Feb 7, 2008
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John Funk said:
rembrandtqeinstein said:
Facebook, like myspace before it, is a fad and will die out just like all other fads. Eventually the current crop of users will grow up a bit and realize nobody cares they took a poo at 9:13 am, and it contained corn.

Saying Farmville is the wave of the future is like someone in 1985 saying breakdancing was the future. Yes it looks that way NOW but give it a couple of years.
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
Facebook MAY die out, who's to say what will and will not last.

My only REAL beef with Facebook gaming is that, at the moment, it's largely shovelware (Zynga included) designed to scam players with endless spam and freemium incentives so that they'll eventually pay for something they've been enjoying for free.
 

rembrandtqeinstein

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Sep 4, 2009
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John Funk said:
rembrandtqeinstein said:
Facebook, like myspace before it, is a fad and will die out just like all other fads. Eventually the current crop of users will grow up a bit and realize nobody cares they took a poo at 9:13 am, and it contained corn.

Saying Farmville is the wave of the future is like someone in 1985 saying breakdancing was the future. Yes it looks that way NOW but give it a couple of years.
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
Already people are being robbed because they posted pics of their new TV and also listed when they would be out of town. Already people have been arrested or lost jobs because of pics on facebook/myspace.

Right now it is only the curmudgeons and paranoids (I'm a little column A, little column B) who avoid "social" internets, eventually the mainstream will realize any information available can and will be used against them.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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Glademaster said:
Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
Yes while I am well aware I am ignoring financial barriers I was commenting on the fact that this apparent barrier of effort is stopping people from gaming. Which it isn't. If the financial barrier was given more detail fair enough but it is not. I thought that this barrier of effort was much more stressed in the article which is completely untrue. As gaming is not that hard to get into if you start with something small like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Even CoD can be breezed through on easy. While there is a financial barrier there are many games that can played if you have a PC capable of playing Farmville they just won't be as mainstream as Cod more brower based games some of which are very good.
I think you have a really skewed concept of just how difficult gaming really is, even at its simplest. You have acquired a vast set of skills over the years, many of which you don't even realize. I'm not talking about more complex stuff like mastering controls or divining strategy, either, I'm talking about basic stuff like moving in a 3d space. Simply forming the mental connection between your hands and eyes takes a surprising amount of practice. Mario is not easy. It takes a great deal of skill, but even beyond that, it takes a great deal of knowledge acquisition. Take Super Mario Galaxy as an example. You already know what enemies look like, how they behave, what powerups do for you, how to get them, that coins are good and Yoshi is your friend. The new gamer knows none of that, and learning all of it can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially when you're trying to master a host of other skills at the same time.

Call of Duty can be breezed through on easy? Yes, perhaps, if you already have a great deal of experience with games under your belt. Saying that jumping into gaming is easy is like saying mastering French cooking is easy. Both take years of patient, persistent effort, but the difference with cooking is that the results are a known quantity. Everyone eats, so the appeal of trying to get good at cooking makes sense. But the appeal of games is unknown to non-gamers. Sure, it'll be "fun", but they already do a lot of things that they consider fun, and already know how to do...why should they knock themselves out and feel stupid and clumsy for a while?
 

Gaias

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Apr 2, 2009
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I always thought that their was a natural wariness to the success of social media games and developer/producers following suit to make those kind of game. An irrational concern that top companies will drop the current modus operandi and only make those games created by Zygna. The kind of unreasonable assumption that this is the end of the game they have become used to. That the triple A title will disappear and we will be left with video games that they don't like, because the developers/producers went easy path of low production/high return route.
 

Delock

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Mar 4, 2009
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I actually think that Farmville and the like are actually a good thing for gaming, and before I get flamed for that I'd like to explain.
I'd like to use my experience with Runescape as an example. Sure, I was a gamer before that, but I really had no experience with online games and MMOs due to the whole start up fee (buying the game and getting a month or so of subscription time), so Runescape was a new experience for me. It was interesting to interact with other players and some what opened my eyes to the possiblity of online play. That being said, I slowly came to recognize it as less and less of what I'd consider a game, and consequentially, had less and less fun with it. It also had the whole thing that still goes on today about having to pay to get the true experience and to be at an advantage in the game. However, before I actually sunk low enough to be a premium member, I decided to pick up City of Heroes and try it out, since it looked like it had the whole social aspect that I liked about Runescape, as well as actually gameplay. In a nutshell, the free game opened me up to another branch of gaming.
Similarly, I also disregarded Point-and-click adventure games until I played a few on Newgrounds and found I loved the genre.
Putting these free games up on a popular social networking site actually could turn out to be benefitial to potential gamers as it helps them feel confident about investing in a console or gaming PC, as well as gets them to look for what games they know they're interested in and help decide on which console is right for them based on that rather than just randomly choosing and hating their decision. I think that gaming needs to take another look at these free games as not only does it allow for a fanbase that would ordinarily not be included, but it also helps ease in people that just need the extra help.

That being said, I know there are people who still pay to become premium members in Runescape, or buy extra content from Zynga that never move up from there, but I have no problems with those people. I myself hate most RTS games and yet I don't get up in arms over Starcraft 2's huge amoung of publicity right now, so I don't see why so many people are so upset that news is being given out about facebook games on this site. It's in its own category of games that some people enjoy and want to know about, so let them hear about it in peace. So long as it only fills a niche of gaming rather than takes over completely, there's no real issue here.

Also, like some people have said, Zynga just happens to have figured out how to tap into this market the best (ie, facebook). I don't know if this will supply them the loyal fanbase they need or if they'll be uprooted since most of the general public doesn't really care who made the game or not (I'd like to remind you all of your own past where I'm betting most of you had favorite games/movies where you didn't know the names of the actors/directors/producers/etc. but rather only really cared about the whole product). Only time will tell.

As for social networking, if anything, I'd say it will grow stronger as time goes on. Hell, just looking at human history could probably give you that general idea as you notice that as time goes on, technology evolves so that we become more connected to each other (letters -> telegraph -> telephone -> email -> social sites). It will be interesting to see where things go from here.
 

Madkipz

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Apr 25, 2009
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John Funk said:
A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

You may not like FarmVille, Facebook, or Twitter, but guess what? They're here to stay.

Read Full Article
so is swordplay, as long as people exist their creations will exist.
 

ramox

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Mar 11, 2010
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Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
Yes while I am well aware I am ignoring financial barriers I was commenting on the fact that this apparent barrier of effort is stopping people from gaming. Which it isn't. If the financial barrier was given more detail fair enough but it is not. I thought that this barrier of effort was much more stressed in the article which is completely untrue. As gaming is not that hard to get into if you start with something small like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Even CoD can be breezed through on easy. While there is a financial barrier there are many games that can played if you have a PC capable of playing Farmville they just won't be as mainstream as Cod more brower based games some of which are very good.
I think you have a really skewed concept of just how difficult gaming really is, even at its simplest. You have acquired a vast set of skills over the years, many of which you don't even realize. I'm not talking about more complex stuff like mastering controls or divining strategy, either, I'm talking about basic stuff like moving in a 3d space. Simply forming the mental connection between your hands and eyes takes a surprising amount of practice. Mario is not easy. It takes a great deal of skill, but even beyond that, it takes a great deal of knowledge acquisition. Take Super Mario Galaxy as an example. You already know what enemies look like, how they behave, what powerups do for you, how to get them, that coins are good and Yoshi is your friend. The new gamer knows none of that, and learning all of it can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially when you're trying to master a host of other skills at the same time.

Call of Duty can be breezed through on easy? Yes, perhaps, if you already have a great deal of experience with games under your belt. Saying that jumping into gaming is easy is like saying mastering French cooking is easy. Both take years of patient, persistent effort, but the difference with cooking is that the results are a known quantity. Everyone eats, so the appeal of trying to get good at cooking makes sense. But the appeal of games is unknown to non-gamers. Sure, it'll be "fun", but they already do a lot of things that they consider fun, and already know how to do...why should they knock themselves out and feel stupid and clumsy for a while?
Most of the people we talk about here would not be able to race through CoD...
For the simple reason that they wouldn't even be able to install the game on their computers. I am pretty sure a good part of facebook/farmville "pros" cannot tell the difference between their virus scanner and a game installer.
Don't get me wrong, that's fine, but it adds to this "barrier" we talk about here, a lot.
 

TheRocketeer

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Dec 24, 2009
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You know, everytime I see 'FarmVille' typed on this webpage, resting in my peripheral vision, all I notice is 'F...V.ll.,' which makes me think there's a reference to Final Fantasy VII somewhere in the article I keep overlooking.
 

Jared

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Jul 14, 2009
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It does seem to be all that some people know abouyt gaming.

I really dont see whty its so popular, but, that is prolly because I am not part of the markert, I can see how people can get into it though...Through the social networks it seems anythin is possible.

best we can do is try and ingore it, hoping it goes away!
 

LassLisa

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Sep 4, 2008
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Glademaster said:
Even CoD can be breezed through on easy.
You made me laugh out loud! At work! Probably because I tried to do something like that a few years back and I can tell you exactly why it's not a "breeze":

1. Controller complexity/unfamiliarity. Hitting the right bumper and wondering why your gun isn't firing. Or spamming A instead of X trying to reload.

2. Separate move and look controls.

3. Time pressure. You are being shot! Get out of getting shot! You are going to dieeee! Aaaaaaaaaaaah! You are not in your best level-headed thoughtful state.

4. A visually nondescript scene. Experienced gamers are familiar with the general layout of a combat zone in games, what cover looks like, how to quickly scan a scene or where enemies are likely to be hidden. New gamers, not so much.

I have many memories of playing Halo and trying to figure out how I got stuck in a nondescript box because I couldn't see anything no matter how I tried to move or spin the camera. When it turns out I was just looking at the floor. Usually I figured this out just in time to look up before dying.
 

ImprovizoR

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I don't want to see FarmVille go away. As long as that piece of crap exists, and as long as people play it, they can't criticize me for being a gamer when they spend up to 8 hours playing that crap.
 

matrix3509

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Sep 24, 2008
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The world we live in today, and the world we'll be living in tomorrow, is a world where Facebook can dethrone even mighty Google as the most-visited site on the web. Naturally, games are following that audience.
Facebook won't dethrone Google until the mouth-breathing computer-illiterates can actually FIND Facebook without using Google ala the ReadWriteWeb fiasco of a couple months back. Remember that? If there was ever a single event in human history that made me lose all my remaining faith in humanity, that was it.
 

Mantonio

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Wait, so controllers are now 'horrendously complicated'?

What kind of people have you giving controllers to? Village idiots?

theaceplaya said:
Huh. Very well said. Especially the last bits with the LA LA LA, it just makes people look ignorant.
It also makes him look childishly provocative.

So yeah.
 

Gildan Bladeborn

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That's as may be Funk, but lots of things are significant and yet go unremarked upon by specialist gaming websites, and a world significantly shaped by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga is one I dread with every fiber of my being egad, and judging by the fact you felt this article was needed, I'm not really in the minority here.

Why do we prefer to cover our ears and shout "La la la I can't hear you la la la"? Zynga doesn't make games, that's why. Somebody is going to take umbrage with that (possibly you), but allow me to elaborate - what they make are games in the sense that a slot machine is a game. Clearly, its not - it's a system designed to make you pull a lever over and over in the hopes of randomly receiving a reward, engineered as such precisely to make you hopelessly addicted until you give it all your money. Likewise, when you 'play' the lottery you are not actually playing a game (unless you want to qualify "give the government all your money because you suck at math" as a game).

A lot of people don't like MMOs because they all resort to those sorts of tactics to keep their players paying forever and ever, but generally there's still some gameplay layered over top the Machiavellian addiction-triggering underpinnings - the good MMOs can actually muster up some fun that isn't just your brain being rewired to associate your shiny new addiction with happiness. The titles Zynga releases are what you get when you strip all those 'extraneous' trappings of gameplay away, leaving only the slot machine that punishes you when you try to stop pulling its handle.

They aren't even slightly fun, but they are very addictive, so it doesn't matter that they're criminally boring and lack any real entertainment value - pulling a damn lever over and over is every bit as unfun and yet there's Vegas. The ridiculous success of these thinly disguised digital slot machines is a sign we should be deeply afraid for the future of games development.

Because those aren't games, and treating Zynga as if they were a legitimate purveyor of entertainment software is an insult to developers of casual games everywhere.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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Mantonio said:
Wait, so controllers are now 'horrendously complicated'?

What kind of people have you giving controllers to? Village idiots?

theaceplaya said:
Huh. Very well said. Especially the last bits with the LA LA LA, it just makes people look ignorant.
It also makes him look childishly provocative.

So yeah.
I think you need to spend some time around non-gamers for a change.
 

CloggedDonkey

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Nov 4, 2009
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more stuff about Zynga, huh? I am starting to agree with the "you where paid off by Zynga" crowd. first they won all but the round against VALVe, and even then you where banning VALve voters for things that Zynga people did and got away with, then there where about six articles about facebook and farmviile, your ganging up on people for saying things you don't like(seriously, three mods vs one guy?), and now your yelling at us in the first part of your articles. you guys really aren't making yourselves look good with this, just getting the people that actually stayed through the madness and the people that have been around a while mad at you.
 

MasterSplinter

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Jul 8, 2009
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Ok, we get it already...
Now what's that big gaming news about farmville you wanted us to pay attention? Is it some secret scoop on farmville 2?, zinga is creating a new division (bazzinga!) that will be managing a new bold spinoff of the franchise?

Or is it farmville because farmville?

I don't know man, I've seen hundreds of articles talking about how relevant are facebook, tweeter, farmville or are or how many users do they move each day and shit like that, but I think I can count with my right all of the actually interesting articles (and that's to give it the benefit of the doubt) about them.

Plus wasn't something VERY similar to this coverd in the last "experienced points"? (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/experienced-points/7373-Experienced-Points-Zynga-and-the-Rise-of-the-New-Gamer)
 

jtesauro

Freelance Detective
Nov 8, 2009
139
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John Funk said:
Mantonio said:
Wait, so controllers are now 'horrendously complicated'?

What kind of people have you giving controllers to? Village idiots?

theaceplaya said:
Huh. Very well said. Especially the last bits with the LA LA LA, it just makes people look ignorant.
It also makes him look childishly provocative.

So yeah.
I think you need to spend some time around non-gamers for a change.
What he said. The fact of the matter is that, as gamers, we simply take for granted the skills we've acquired over the years and we forget what these would look like to someone not familiar with system's we've come to accept as fundamental.

I mean I don't know about you guys, but I've been playing games in some capacity or another since I was six years old. You teach a kid multiple languages at that age and they'll pick them all up more often then not, but you try to teach me Japanese now and I just can't retain it. Does that make me an idiot? No, it's fucking hard!

This point became very clear to me back when I played WoW alot, and was still living with my parents. Now my Dad and I have an interesting relationship. On some levels, we see eye to eye. On others...I don't think he has ANY idea what to make of me, but he does try. Gaming is one example.

So I was playing WoW a bit, and spending alot of time with it. So one night my Dad comes in and asks me to tell him what it's all about. To his credit, he sat there and absorbed everything I threw at him,and perhaps owing to my job at the time of explaining complicated computer programs to consumer users, it took on a very tutorial mindset.

And he actually started to think it looked really cool. I showed him a few things, talked about the different classes and how they balanced each other out. In particular the look on his face as we rode the tram underground from Stormwind to Ironforge, and then went back via Gryphon was priceless. He got into it.

THEN...I explained that to play, everyone had to sign up for an account which you paid monthly for.

Yeah, and that's when I lost him.

See at that point, it's a basic understanding of games that you pay monthly fees for MMO's. It's a persistent online gaming experience so unlike a single player game, this is the model it works off of. To him, that was absolutely ridiculous, (and there are days where I don't necessarily disagree with him I gottta tell ya)

The fact of the matter, gaming is not a bike. To insist that anyone who can't just pick up a controller day one and beat Call of Duty is an idiot, is at best unrealistic, and at worst, insulting.
 

Mantonio

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Apr 15, 2009
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John Funk said:
Mantonio said:
Wait, so controllers are now 'horrendously complicated'?

What kind of people have you giving controllers to? Village idiots?

theaceplaya said:
Huh. Very well said. Especially the last bits with the LA LA LA, it just makes people look ignorant.
It also makes him look childishly provocative.

So yeah.
I think you need to spend some time around non-gamers for a change.
I have / had an entire family of non gamers. And they can work out how a controller works just fine.

Despite what you may preach, it isn't rocket science.

jtesauro said:
To insist that anyone who can't just pick up a controller day one and beat Call of Duty is an idiot, is at best unrealistic, and at worst, insulting.
Well it's a good thing that I didn't suggest that then, isn't it.
 

The Random One

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May 29, 2008
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I agree that gaming is quite complex to get into nowadays. If you doubt it, give a PS3 or 360 controller to a non-gamer and ask them to hold it. If they manage to correctly put their fingers over the shoulder buttons, I shall eat my hat. And I love my hat. Shamus made a good point about no one who wasn't into gaming knowing where the hell the R3 and L3 buttons were, and since I, a gamer since the N64, took some time to figure out what they were, I know what he's talking about. This matches into some other article I read some time before that essentially said, 'people want to game, but no one helps them get into it'. And since modern game design pretty is pretty much addicted to that complexity, there's no easy way out of this dilemma.

The problem here is a 'no true scotsman' problem. Someone mentioned up there that FarmVille is not a game in the same way that slot machines and lotteries are not games. But if you define a game as 'an activity in which you perform an action that, depending on skill, luck or a combination of both, may or may not yield a personally positive result' then you've created a definition that covers both of those. Likewise, a fan of books might say that the Twilight series aren't real books, but they are words on paper meant to convey a story. Plenty of music fans will say heavy metal isn't music, but it's a series of sounds that follows an internal harmony. So on, so on, so forth, so forth. But the most important part here is that, to the person enjoying the medium, it is whatever it claims to be - a Twilight reader considers it a book, a death metal fan considers it music, and a FarmVille player considers it a game. The discussion ought to stop there.

I doubt Zynga would draw this much ire if they had made a simple RTS game for Facebook. So for me the problem gamers have with Zynga is not so much that it's not a real game but that it's a bad game, i.e. it's poorly designed, and it's aimed at non-gamers so they can't know it. But if someone created a better, more engaging version of FarmVille, using the lessons three decades of game design taught us, it would be better than it and it would eventually surpass it. Like it or not, Zynga is a trailblazer, and is taking advantadge of it, but trailblazers are eventually surpassed by imitators.

It doesn't mean that we have to like it. I abhor reality shows, but that doesn't mean I'm going to pretend they are not real TV shows. I happen to prefer a well-crafted lie to a boring truth, but if the majority of people happen to disagree with me, that's their problem.

Lastly, if you like heavy metal and is angry that I compared it to Twilight, think of how angry Twilight fans are that I compared it to heavy metal.
 

Roboto

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Nov 18, 2009
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comparing the 60 million Wiis and the 60 million farmville players doesn't really work out. Each and every one of those Wiis raked in 200$ each, the farmville players? Not as much.

Same with 10 million MW2 sales.

Once FV starts charging 50$ a farm, we'll see who's talking. Call it Farmville 2 and 3 and all numbers subsequent when you open a new farm.
 

aemroth

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Mar 17, 2010
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Aurora219 said:
Nice subtle article about how we should shut up about March Mayhem already, by the way.
Indeed, lol.

SilverKyo said:
oh, hey Shamus [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/experienced-points/7373-Experienced-Points-Zynga-and-the-Rise-of-the-New-Gamer], you got a new hair cut or something?

Joking aside, I understand your point, but it doesn't change the fact that I despise farmville and the like with a burning passion. After trying it for five minutes, it wasn't hard to realize that solitaire and minesweeper were better designed games, because they... you know... require some sort of thought
Wow, i missed that article entirely. And... quite frankly... it's a bit misinformed. The strength of Zynga's and other social developers games isn't the casual aspect, no, social gaming is a whole beast altogether. Casual gaming, as the Wii's first titles, can actually expand their gamers into upper tiers of gaming. Nintendo decided to go back to basics to fetch the lower entry point gamers that had been neglected by the current gen wave of gaming, and ascend them upwards from there (again, i must link to this article [http://malstrom.50webs.com/birdman.html] that someone posted during MM). Social gaming, however, is a dead end in this aspect, it will not evolve in the direction of complexity (or at least, not for a large number of years), because the entry-point is even lower than the Wii's, and they have no intention of disrupting the industry, they got themselves a whole different market altogether, and a whole new and more profitable platform.

Therumancer said:
*Shrugs*

I'm one of those that thinks Zynga gets too much attention, and I think those numbers are very deceptive. Right now Zynga has the advantage of being the first ones on scene using this method to sell advertising. I believe (personally) that this is where most of their revenue comes from, I do not think they are making all that much money off of the "cash shops" of games like Farmville or whatever despite what they might present. Still getting millions upon millions of "hits" is an impressive thing to someone who wants to sell advertising space.

The problem though is that as more people get involved in this, that audience is going to be increasingly divided, the hits in each area are going to go down, and it's not going to be all that profitable or special in the long run.

Back during the 1990s you had all those mall survey guys, which started out being fairly popular. You'd have some dude approach you, and offer you free samples of so and so product in exchange for doing a survey. It was cool for a while but then it got to the point where you had these dudes staking out pretty much every high traffic mall, and even multiple groups operating in the biggest ones. Leading to the whole "want to take a survey" joke from Animaniacs because it became hateful and annoying.

The current situation seems a lot like that where Zynga seems cool because they are the first ones doing it. They will consult and sell "Expertise" until the market is saturated
and we'll doubtlessly see companies who invest in this now collapsing as the market becomes divided and the novelty wears out. We're looking at what amounts to a fad, that like all fads seems "massive" and like it will go on forever. I don't object to Zynga and these "social media" games getting some coverage, but I think it's being taken waaay too seriously.

Besides, we've more or less been here before. Back before the internet became what it is now, we had these things called "Bulletin Board Systems" or BBSes. People used to run them out of their houses, and there were these things called "Echos" which were the social networking sites of their day where BBS systems would share message boards by periodically uploading and downloading information to people running "hub" systems.

On BBS systems you had these "Door Games" which were very simple games where while logged in you could do stuff have your progress saved, and then other people logging into the same BBS could do the same thing, and at the end of the day it would process results. Some games would work off of hubs and send packets out so people on multiple boards could play together and such. Less advanced and "purdy", but pretty much the same exact thing that you see here. A few people got the idea that this was the way of the future because of all the people that could be reached, and a few lucky fellows made apparently a small fortune through registration fees with some of the first successful games. Tons of people jumped on the bandwagon for these games used by "casual" BBS users and in the end it simply went nowhere except for the first few guys. Interestingly some of you might remember a game called "Double Daggers" by "Prince Desty", in the credits it has "Additional Ideas and Concepts by Therumancer" (that is me). Never went anywhere, but when I was a kid I was pretty into the whole BBS thing and thought Door Games were da bomb. :p

This is on a larger scale, but fundementally the same thing, and will doubtlessly end the same way. I find it somewhat ironic because it seems that while time goes on, the same basic events re-occur. Right now we have this Zynga thing, and at the same time we've got people trying to bring back Interactive movies of the sort that were tried around the advent of CD RoM tech for PCs.


I'm probably not explaining/articulating myself well, but basically I doubt think this is a big deal. Indeed I think it's only become one because of all the hype surrounding it.

I could be wrong, but in a few years I'll imagine some fortunes will be squandered by people trying to emulate Zyga. You'll have dozens if not hundreds of "social network games" for casual people, many of which will become ghost towns, constantly fighting to get someone to buy advertising space.

Ironically I also suspect that there will be a couple of fairly successful games but they will succeed by using the online social platforms, while not being all that "casual". I look at things like say "Trade Wars" and other similar games for the BBS systems which seemed to be the most enduring of the crop once the mad rush died out, and people finally realized they weren't going to make money by programming ANSI graphics. :p
It was a bit tricky to follow, yes, but i understood your point. History is very cyclical, and some aspects are repeated in different dressings time and time again. In fact, yes, i believe the biggest limitation for the phenomenon is it's potential to swallow itself whole. Given the particular platform, and the aspect of appealing to the lowest common denominator for broader appeal, the more hype is generate and developers step into the fray, the more likely it is for a single game, that has the metrics-driven formula more perfected to polarize the bulk of the market, leaving other games and developers without decent profit. But i won't pull a Nostradamus and predict it, we'll just have to wait and see how it evolves.

Gaias said:
I always thought that their was a natural wariness to the success of social media games and developer/producers following suit to make those kind of game. An irrational concern that top companies will drop the current modus operandi and only make those games created by Zygna. The kind of unreasonable assumption that this is the end of the game they have become used to. That the triple A title will disappear and we will be left with video games that they don't like, because the developers/producers went easy path of low production/high return route.
It is a bit irrational, but not fully, i believe. Of course, it wouldn't happen suddenly, but it could happen naturally and progressively, over the course of a few years. First a small team is assigned to transfer a AAA ip to the platform (that's already happening, actually, Civ and The Witcher are stepping in). If this works out, more resources and manpower can be diverted as a following step. The result would be AAA titles dropping in quality and frequency, as more developers also step in. Of course, this is speculation, and a myriad of scenarios can limit this: the one i mentioned above (saturation), indie developers evolving to fill in the gaps left in the traditional market, some developers failing step 1 and shifting back to the status quo, etc. But i believe it's only natural (and a bit justifiable) for some traditional gamers to fear the following years as a turbulent, paradigm-shifting period. PC fps's for instance, never recovered from the Halo blow. And while if that's a good or a bad thing is a matter of opinion, it is true that some gamers (myself included) have a hard time finding a likable fps nowadays. "So?", some could ask? Well, it's true, there's no denying certain facts, but one has the right to oppose change one does not like, does one not?

Delock said:
I actually think that Farmville and the like are actually a good thing for gaming, and before I get flamed for that I'd like to explain.
I'd like to use my experience with Runescape as an example. Sure, I was a gamer before that, but I really had no experience with online games and MMOs due to the whole start up fee (buying the game and getting a month or so of subscription time), so Runescape was a new experience for me. It was interesting to interact with other players and some what opened my eyes to the possiblity of online play. That being said, I slowly came to recognize it as less and less of what I'd consider a game, and consequentially, had less and less fun with it. It also had the whole thing that still goes on today about having to pay to get the true experience and to be at an advantage in the game. However, before I actually sunk low enough to be a premium member, I decided to pick up City of Heroes and try it out, since it looked like it had the whole social aspect that I liked about Runescape, as well as actually gameplay. In a nutshell, the free game opened me up to another branch of gaming.
Similarly, I also disregarded Point-and-click adventure games until I played a few on Newgrounds and found I loved the genre.
Putting these free games up on a popular social networking site actually could turn out to be benefitial to potential gamers as it helps them feel confident about investing in a console or gaming PC, as well as gets them to look for what games they know they're interested in and help decide on which console is right for them based on that rather than just randomly choosing and hating their decision. I think that gaming needs to take another look at these free games as not only does it allow for a fanbase that would ordinarily not be included, but it also helps ease in people that just need the extra help.

That being said, I know there are people who still pay to become premium members in Runescape, or buy extra content from Zynga that never move up from there, but I have no problems with those people. I myself hate most RTS games and yet I don't get up in arms over Starcraft 2's huge amoung of publicity right now, so I don't see why so many people are so upset that news is being given out about facebook games on this site. It's in its own category of games that some people enjoy and want to know about, so let them hear about it in peace. So long as it only fills a niche of gaming rather than takes over completely, there's no real issue here.

Also, like some people have said, Zynga just happens to have figured out how to tap into this market the best (ie, facebook). I don't know if this will supply them the loyal fanbase they need or if they'll be uprooted since most of the general public doesn't really care who made the game or not (I'd like to remind you all of your own past where I'm betting most of you had favorite games/movies where you didn't know the names of the actors/directors/producers/etc. but rather only really cared about the whole product). Only time will tell.

As for social networking, if anything, I'd say it will grow stronger as time goes on. Hell, just looking at human history could probably give you that general idea as you notice that as time goes on, technology evolves so that we become more connected to each other (letters -> telegraph -> telephone -> email -> social sites). It will be interesting to see where things go from here.
This theory could work out, if it wasn't for a few pesky but relevant little details: first, the gap is too big. Social games are extremely simple for accessibility, even when compared to Runescape, Dofus, browers MMO's, the Wii, etc. The gap is still a bit large to bridge easily. During the course of MM, i even tried to politely tell a few Zynga fans to try kongregate, armor games, etc, and they simply didn't want to. Second, they won't do anything to bridge that gap, or at least not much in a foreseeable future. Why? Because metrics take precedence in game design decisions, and every bit of complexity they put in has to be carefully weighed not to become an entrance barrier. Plus, they have a much more effective mechanism to generate user numbers than actually making the games interesting: your friends list, their respective friends lists, and so forth, ad infinitum. Well, actually not infinitum, six steps at an ideal setting, if you consider the Six degrees of separation [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation] theory. So you see, this aspect provides a much much bigger potential for growth than the actual quality of the game and advertisement.

As for your final paragraph, (although this is a tad off-topic), it stops once people see their privacy threatened. It's already happening with people suing Google and stuff of the sort. And it will only get worse: Google is a behemoth with a lot of information on a lot of people, Facebook is following closely, and spreading rapidly with fconnect, and the trend of stateless and cloud computing (like Chrome OS and OnLive). It's not hard to imagine a Big Brother-esque future where large groups control a lot of valuable info, and the average joe has little control over his own data, having only terminals with web access. It's not like this is being imposed, but it's pretty much mandatory for the sake of competitiveness (a lot of professional have to be on facebook, twitter, blogger and linkedin to remain competitive). Again, speculation, and a lot of factors can limit this, but it's not out of the equation.

Gildan Bladeborn said:
That's as may be Funk, but lots of things are significant and yet go unremarked upon by specialist gaming websites, and a world significantly shaped by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga is one I dread with every fiber of my being egad, and judging by the fact you felt this article was needed, I'm not really in the minority here.

Why do we prefer to cover our ears and shout "La la la I can't hear you la la la"? Zynga doesn't make games, that's why. Somebody is going to take umbrage with that (possibly you), but allow me to elaborate - what they make are games in the sense that a slot machine is a game. Clearly, its not - it's a system designed to make you pull a lever over and over in the hopes of randomly receiving a reward, engineered as such precisely to make you hopelessly addicted until you give it all your money. Likewise, when you 'play' the lottery you are not actually playing a game (unless you want to qualify "give the government all your money because you suck at math" as a game).

A lot of people don't like MMOs because they all resort to those sorts of tactics to keep their players paying forever and ever, but generally there's still some gameplay layered over top the Machiavellian addiction-triggering underpinnings - the good MMOs can actually muster up some fun that isn't just your brain being rewired to associate your shiny new addiction with happiness. The titles Zynga releases are what you get when you strip all those 'extraneous' trappings of gameplay away, leaving only the slot machine that punishes you when you try to stop pulling it's handle.

They aren't even slightly fun, but they are very addictive, so it doesn't matter that they're criminally boring and lack any real entertainment value - pulling a damn lever over and over is every bit as unfun and yet there's Vegas. The ridiculous success of these thinly disguised digital slot machines is a sign we should be deeply afraid for the future of games development.

Because those aren't games, and treating Zynga as if they were a legitimate purveyor of entertainment software is an insult to developers of casual games everywhere.
This, i commend you for this post, really. Behavioral conditioning, coupled with a viral progression of users that functions like a pyramid scheme or multi-level marketing. It's behavioral Psychology at it's most profitably refined formula.

________________________________________________

Original post: we know they are relevant to the industry, and we know they're here to stay. We know social networking is progressing rapidly, and social gaming trailing along with it. We know the complexity and monetary entry barrier is lower (that's the point, isn't it?). We know Nintendo is making a huge success with some similar points, but like i explained alreay, it's a different beast altogether. Yes, the numbers Zynga pull are staggering, but they're not surprising and are explained by all the points made previously by yourself. And yes, we know that traditional developers are watching this phenomenon closely, that's precisely one of the aspects we don't like. And yes, we know that facebook and farmville are replaceable by something similar. And finally yes, there are relevant things happening in the social media space, and we don't think they're irrelevant, we simply think they're not positive and would prefer them not to be relevant.

tldr version: We know. We just don't like it. And we have the right not to like, and the right to be vocal about it, for we are trying to preserve not only our gaming status quo, but the enlightenment of humanity as a whole!

Gaaaah... *gasps for air*

There, it's done :p
 

Citrus

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Haven't I read this article before? Seriously, it seems every time I glance down at the articles section, it's something about Zynga and/or the rise of casual gaming. Maybe it's just me.

Yes, I know FarmVille isn't going away, and I don't mind because I never had a problem with its existence to begin with. I don't know anybody who still cares about that sort of thing.
 

Mr. Mike

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Well, like I've said before, things like Farmville are great. They get the non-gaming crowd interested, then hopefully they'll want something more from their games and eventually make the move from casual to hardcore gaming.
 

Kermi

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Millions of people masturbate every day, because it's free, convenient and you get an odd sense of satisfaction from it even if you do feel kind of guilty afterwards.

Doesn't make it newsworthy.
 

BobisOnlyBob

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Nov 29, 2007
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I still think Zynga's numbers are grossly inflated - and that the hours invested in it are minimal compared to the time invested in "core" and "casual" games that have some element of skill or challenge to them (Bejewelled counts). It's a rapid series of clicks and then closed for the majority of users, and once-off idle dabbling for others. The numbers add up for Zynga's ad revenue, but who is actually then acting on those ads? How far does the long tail of a few blinking animations reach?

Facebook and other social media platforms for games do have a purpose and will last, but ungames like Farmville (where there is no challenge, no skill, no objective and nowhere to go but up) will gradually lose popularity over time and be superseded by new, generations of shiny toys with minimal time and monetary investment, just as Farmville shoved aside its many, many predecessors.

TL;DR: A lot of people play FarmVille, but Farmville itself doesn't matter. The trend does, but its direct value is questionable and its indirect value is even MORE questionable.
 

Silva

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John's right, folks. Gaming IS a hard hobby to get into.

Doesn't anyone here recall when they played their first game? How they had to first learn all the buttons, then what the buttons did, then the way in which these interacted with the movements on screen? Then finally, learn to know the buttons by touch, so that they could play without looking down at the controller and finally getting to work?

And that was back when controllers had as few as 6 buttons. Now they can have 15, or in the case of PC gaming, a Hell of a lot more. Now that might sound like an easy task because many of you have had ten years or more to get into gaming (like I have) and started on the NES or SNES or Genesis when there was only 10 or less buttons to learn, with many games using just one button plus the D pad. People starting out today don't have that luxury. Many are thrown straight into 3D landscapes and control without first learning how to not die immediately in Mario Bros.

Non-gamers aren't stupid, they simply haven't had it as easy as most of us core gamers. It's like any situation where you have knowledge and another person does not - they aren't stupid just because they don't know. They have different skills to you and deserve your respect and patience. Zynga provided a single button interface that can be played without even using a keyboard, and potentially for free. Looking down on what they have achieved by doing so is folly.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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It doesn't matter if facebook and shitty facebook apps like farmville continue to exist for the rest of time, you are never going to attract the people that love them here for longer than a few pageviews. They are not your audience. They never will be.

But if you somehow did get them here, "gaming" news to them is "NEW RAINBOW CHICKEN IN FARMVILLE SHOP FOR FARMCASH!!" Then even if you wrote articles about that, you wouldn't be reaching anyone who didn't already know this, as shit like that is broadcast directly to the completely insulated target demographics of facebook apps.

Every time you validate farmville, zygna, facebook apps, etc with any sort of attention, you don't look like journalists. You look like whores... and that would mean zygna is your pimp.
 

John Funk

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Hopeless Bastard said:
It doesn't matter if facebook and shitty facebook apps like farmville continue to exist for the rest of time, you are never going to attract the people that love them here for longer than a few pageviews. They are not your audience. They never will be.

But if you somehow did get them here, "gaming" news to them is "NEW RAINBOW CHICKEN IN FARMVILLE SHOP FOR FARMCASH!!" Then even if you wrote articles about that, you wouldn't be reaching anyone who didn't already know this, as shit like that is broadcast directly to the completely insulated target demographics of facebook apps.

Every time you validate farmville, zygna, facebook apps, etc with any sort of attention, you don't look like journalists. You look like whores... and that would mean zygna is your pimp.
And yet, the VP of Zynga is speaking as the keynote speaker at GDC Canada. Whoops, guess the people in the industry disagree with you.

CloggedDonkey said:
more stuff about Zynga, huh? I am starting to agree with the "you where paid off by Zynga" crowd. first they won all but the round against VALVe, and even then you where banning VALve voters for things that Zynga people did and got away with, then there where about six articles about facebook and farmviile, your ganging up on people for saying things you don't like(seriously, three mods vs one guy?), and now your yelling at us in the first part of your articles. you guys really aren't making yourselves look good with this, just getting the people that actually stayed through the madness and the people that have been around a while mad at you.
Oh please. This column was spurred largely by reaction to coverage of Triangle Game Conference, because quite a few of the panels and discussions there revolved around - gasp~! - social media.

As much as some gamers want to deny that they're possibly relevant, that doesn't change the fact that they are. And, by the way, it's perfectly feasible to disagree without "yelling at" people. Which is what we're doing.

Mantonio said:
I have / had an entire family of non gamers. And they can work out how a controller works just fine.

Despite what you may preach, it isn't rocket science.
Understanding what the controller does is one thing. I remember trying to get my dad to play Smash Brothers with us back in the day, and we could always explain to him the buttons and how to do everything. But actually USING it is something entirely different. How many times have you seen a non-gamer play a shooter and just walk around looking at the floor? Maybe the odd non-gamer will be able to figure it out, but for a lot of people it's a huge barrier.

You can try to argue otherwise, but it's part of the reason the Wii has been so successful, and why Sony and Microsoft are going their own alternative-controller routes. My dad might not know how to hit B-down-push the stick to the side to control angle or whatever, but he sure as hell knows to act like he's swinging a golf club.
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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John Funk said:
And yet, the VP of Zynga is speaking as the keynote speaker at GDC Canada. Whoops, guess the people in the industry disagree with you.
And whats he going to be able to say, exactly? What valuable insight is he going to be able to grant to actual video game developers?

"Make your game as shitty, but rewarding as possible, and people will flock to you in droves."
"If someone else has a good idea, just rip it off completely and release it as your own."
"If you're strapped for cash, offer a "full version" which is really just a 3kb html file, containing a link to a copy of the .swf file."
"Turn your players into free advertising, by offering extensive rewards for spamming links to the game all over their social networks."

Yea, zygna has made some money through extremely shoddy business practice. Does it translate to actual gaming? No. Should it? No. Will it? We all better pray not.

"Oops, you're out of bullets, get 3 more people to play to reload."

Edit: Forgot that outwar beat zygna to the whole "turn your players into free advertising" bit by about a decade. Pretty sure they weren't the first either.
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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Hopeless Bastard said:
John Funk said:
And yet, the VP of Zynga is speaking as the keynote speaker at GDC Canada. Whoops, guess the people in the industry disagree with you.
And whats he going to be able to say, exactly? What valuable insight is he going to be able to grant to actual video game developers?

"Make your game as shitty, but rewarding as possible, and people will flock to you in droves."
"If someone else has a good idea, just rip it off completely and release it as your own."
"If you're strapped for cash, offer a "full version" which is really just a 3kb html file, containing a link to a copy of the .swf file."
"Turn your players into free advertising, by offering extensive rewards for spamming links to the game all over their social networks."

Yea, zygna has made some money through extremely shoddy business practice. Does it translate to actual gaming? No. Should it? No. Will it? We all better pray not.

"Oops, you're out of bullets, get 3 more people to play to reload."

Edit: Forgot that outwar beat zygna to the whole "turn your players into free advertising" bit by about a decade. Pretty sure they weren't the first either.
I don't know. He hasn't given the keynote yet - I have no idea what he'll say. But the fact that you're automatically dismissing it outright shows what I think is a profoundly willful ignorance on your part.

The fact of the matter is, people who call the shots in the industry think that there are things that can be learned from what Zynga does. And to pretend that it isn't the case because their products don't appeal to you personally is, I feel, narrowminded.
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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John Funk said:
Hopeless Bastard said:
John Funk said:
And yet, the VP of Zynga is speaking as the keynote speaker at GDC Canada. Whoops, guess the people in the industry disagree with you.
And whats he going to be able to say, exactly? What valuable insight is he going to be able to grant to actual video game developers?

"Make your game as shitty, but rewarding as possible, and people will flock to you in droves."
"If someone else has a good idea, just rip it off completely and release it as your own."
"If you're strapped for cash, offer a "full version" which is really just a 3kb html file, containing a link to a copy of the .swf file."
"Turn your players into free advertising, by offering extensive rewards for spamming links to the game all over their social networks."

Yea, zygna has made some money through extremely shoddy business practice. Does it translate to actual gaming? No. Should it? No. Will it? We all better pray not.

"Oops, you're out of bullets, get 3 more people to play to reload."

Edit: Forgot that outwar beat zygna to the whole "turn your players into free advertising" bit by about a decade. Pretty sure they weren't the first either.
I don't know. He hasn't given the keynote yet - I have no idea what he'll say. But the fact that you're automatically dismissing it outright shows what I think is a profoundly willful ignorance on your part.

The fact of the matter is, people who call the shots in the industry think that there are things that can be learned from what Zynga does. And to pretend that it isn't the case because their products don't appeal to you personally is, I feel, narrowminded.
My point is zygna products shouldn't appeal to anyone. The fact they do is some sort of twisted perversion of reality in my mind. Its as confusing as how popular that "feed the flash fish" thing was a few years ago.

Zygna's products are essentially non-satirical versions of progress quest (yet another confusing popularity explosion). Except with in-game rewards for spamming links for progress quest.

Zygna took what other people were doing and made money off it. The amount of money got them noticed by people who actually develop games. The attention they're getting is a terrifying precedent. If every real developer started copying zygna's business model, then... sites like this would cease to exist. You would all be out of a job. There wouldn't be any need for any sort of centralized "gaming press" as each gamer would become little more than a spam-bot for whatever "game" they played.
 

aemroth

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Hopeless Bastard said:
John Funk said:
And yet, the VP of Zynga is speaking as the keynote speaker at GDC Canada. Whoops, guess the people in the industry disagree with you.
And whats he going to be able to say, exactly? What valuable insight is he going to be able to grant to actual video game developers?

"Make your game as shitty, but rewarding as possible, and people will flock to you in droves."
"If someone else has a good idea, just rip it off completely and release it as your own."
"If you're strapped for cash, offer a "full version" which is really just a 3kb html file, containing a link to a copy of the .swf file."
"Turn your players into free advertising, by offering extensive rewards for spamming links to the game all over their social networks."

Yea, zygna has made some money through extremely shoddy business practice. Does it translate to actual gaming? No. Should it? No. Will it? We all better pray not.

"Oops, you're out of bullets, get 3 more people to play to reload."

Edit: Forgot that outwar beat zygna to the whole "turn your players into free advertising" bit by about a decade. Pretty sure they weren't the first either.
Metrics. How to analyze user data, and use the feedback of such analysis for making game design decisions to get the larger audience possible, and easily swap in and out elements based on what the majority of people like or dislike. They are good at this, there's no denying that. If that's a more valid approach to game design or not, is a matter of opinion. But of course, this is objectively thinking of the industry as what they're about: making money. Metrics provide this very well. The ones of us that see something more in games, would prefer creativity to be ahead of metrics in game design decisions, but hey, tough luck for us, it seems, we're a minority. It seems our only chance is to be loud, quite frankly, when you think about it.
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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aemroth said:
Metrics. How to analyze user data, and use the feedback of such analysis for making game design decisions to get the larger audience possible, and easily swap in and out elements based on what the majority of people like or dislike. They are good at this, there's no denying that. If that's a more valid approach to game design or not, is a matter of opinion. But of course, this is objectively thinking of the industry as what they're about: making money. Metrics provide this very well. The ones of us that see something more in games, would prefer creativity to be ahead of metrics in game design decisions, but hey, tough luck for us, it seems, we're a minority. It seems our only chance is to be loud, quite frankly, when you think about it.
Maybe the escapist should give you a job, as that actually makes sense. All this "Zygna cheerleading" almost made me forget there actually were intelligent people on this site.

It makes me want to jump out a window while slashing my wrists (down the road, not across the street), but sense it makes.

The idea that QA or test marketing or whatever its called would transfer into real time, to actively alter game elements to appease whiners is disgusting. Its like someone took a shit in my brain. Game design philosophy would have to be redesigned from the ground up, which is a pretty black cloud (cliffyB living in a cardboard box being the silver lining). But its still not very much to say. "If people don't like something, change it!" is captain obvious level material.

I just... don't get it. Zygna made some money by getting people to play ad vehicles thinly disguised as "games" for days on end. That just doesn't translate to game development. I'm as curious as the next guy to see if they actually have anything else to say, I'm just pretty damned sure they won't.
 

aemroth

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Hopeless Bastard said:
aemroth said:
Metrics. How to analyze user data, and use the feedback of such analysis for making game design decisions to get the larger audience possible, and easily swap in and out elements based on what the majority of people like or dislike. They are good at this, there's no denying that. If that's a more valid approach to game design or not, is a matter of opinion. But of course, this is objectively thinking of the industry as what they're about: making money. Metrics provide this very well. The ones of us that see something more in games, would prefer creativity to be ahead of metrics in game design decisions, but hey, tough luck for us, it seems, we're a minority. It seems our only chance is to be loud, quite frankly, when you think about it.
Maybe the escapist should give you a job, as that actually makes sense. All this "Zygna cheerleading" almost made me forget there actually were intelligent people on this site.

It makes me want to jump out a window while slashing my wrists (down the road, not across the street), but sense it makes.

The idea that QA or test marketing or whatever its called would transfer into real time, to actively alter game elements to appease whiners is disgusting. Its like someone took a shit in my brain. Game design philosophy would have to be redesigned from the ground up, which is a pretty black cloud (cliffyB living in a cardboard box being the silver lining). But its still not very much to say. "If people don't like something, change it!" is captain obvious level material.

I just... don't get it. Zygna made some money by getting people to play ad vehicles thinly disguised as "games" for days on end. That just doesn't translate to game development. I'm as curious as the next guy to see if they actually have anything else to say, I'm just pretty damned sure they won't.
LOL

Thanks, i guess i should be flattered *aham* :)

But anyway, make no mistakes, i don't like it anymore than you do. I just try to objectively see the point. Do they have something to teach the industry? Yes. Is it a good thing? It probably is for their pockets, but not for our enjoyment, or such is my guess.

As they appeal to the largest audience possible, they converge and simplify characteristics from various genres and themes of games. And they mix and match and adapt elements based on user statistics. Usual game development doesn't work like this, it evolves by diverging mostly, and only sometimes by converging (ME2 for instance) but even then, trying to maintain the complexity of both genres. And that variety and diversity is a large part of what makes gaming great. Social games don't do well with variety, the large difference between Farmville and all other games proves this.

I see it like this: Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso, Gustav Klimt and Wassily Kandinsky, for instance, are all painters, but have very different styles. And the variety of styles and paintings, and individual creative visions such as theirs are what makes art evolve. If you strip away that variety, combine and simplify characteristics of all of them, and take a paint-by-numbers approach, where's the evolution? Of course, gaming is a much more money-centric form of entertainment (though some would call a few games art), but i believe the analogy still stands. A bit sad, really.
 

Frank_Sinatra_

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Dec 30, 2008
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John Funk said:
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
I actually can't see Facebook dying out. Out of all of the social networks out there Facebook is (arguably) one of the best, and with the aid of FarmVille and Zynga its life has been expanded by a ridiculous portion.

If you take a gander around the internet a lot of upcoming social networking sites borrow from Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo but Facebook seems to get ripped off the most. With a social networking site that has it down to a bloomin science I don't see its death coming.

If Facebook were to die, my guess would be the fault of games like FarmVille taking over the user base, but with the sheer amount of people on the internet, and (in my experience) the amount of people getting pissed at game apps Facebook there should be a balance between social networking users and game users.
 

Eloyas

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This whole barrier of entry thing confuses me. True the need to learn to use a controller or to buy hardware is a major hurdle for getting new people into the hobby. What I don't get is how Zynga's games are different in that aspect from other flash games except for the part where they are hosted on facebook and spam to everyone? Kongregate, newgrounds, armor games, etc. are full of games with no barrier of entry. If someone tells me that robot unicorn attack is too complicated for most human being, I think I will lose faith in humanity... I bet that if that game did the same things that farmville does (facebook and spam), it would be played by millions more people.
 

Gildan Bladeborn

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aemroth said:
Gildan Bladeborn said:
That's as may be Funk, but lots of things are significant and yet go unremarked upon by specialist gaming websites, and a world significantly shaped by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga is one I dread with every fiber of my being egad, and judging by the fact you felt this article was needed, I'm not really in the minority here.

Why do we prefer to cover our ears and shout "La la la I can't hear you la la la"? Zynga doesn't make games, that's why. Somebody is going to take umbrage with that (possibly you), but allow me to elaborate - what they make are games in the sense that a slot machine is a game. Clearly, its not - it's a system designed to make you pull a lever over and over in the hopes of randomly receiving a reward, engineered as such precisely to make you hopelessly addicted until you give it all your money. Likewise, when you 'play' the lottery you are not actually playing a game (unless you want to qualify "give the government all your money because you suck at math" as a game).

A lot of people don't like MMOs because they all resort to those sorts of tactics to keep their players paying forever and ever, but generally there's still some gameplay layered over top the Machiavellian addiction-triggering underpinnings - the good MMOs can actually muster up some fun that isn't just your brain being rewired to associate your shiny new addiction with happiness. The titles Zynga releases are what you get when you strip all those 'extraneous' trappings of gameplay away, leaving only the slot machine that punishes you when you try to stop pulling it's handle.

They aren't even slightly fun, but they are very addictive, so it doesn't matter that they're criminally boring and lack any real entertainment value - pulling a damn lever over and over is every bit as unfun and yet there's Vegas. The ridiculous success of these thinly disguised digital slot machines is a sign we should be deeply afraid for the future of games development.

Because those aren't games, and treating Zynga as if they were a legitimate purveyor of entertainment software is an insult to developers of casual games everywhere.
This, i commend you for this post, really. Behavioral conditioning, coupled with a viral progression of users that functions like a pyramid scheme or multi-level marketing. It's behavioral Psychology at it's most profitably refined formula.
Well that made my night, commendation happily accepted.

Up till recently I was content to ignore the likes of Zynga forever, as I don't use the Facebook or muck about with half-assed browser games... and then it came to light that several members of my D&D group are Mafia Wars addicts, guys who are certainly not the stereotypical target audience. Really made me wonder why avid gamers (console, PC, tabletop, you name it) would be wasting their time with crappy looking games that appear to offer no gameplay of any substance to my jaded eyes.

A closer examination confirmed my gut reaction that the 'games' were worthless as games, but that didn't actually matter as they objectively knew Mafia Wars was a terrible game and yet played it anyways - the success of Zynga goes to show that fun isn't a necessary component so long as you design your title to rewire the player's brains to feel pleasure when what they're doing is really pointless drudgery.

Like yourself, I feel I'm pretty much obligated to be as firmly opposed to that trend as I possibly can be.
John Funk said:
The fact of the matter is, people who call the shots in the industry think that there are things that can be learned from what Zynga does.
What I can't fathom is why you don't seem to find that statement as horrifying as I do - what could those industry bigwigs possibly learn from Zynga that would be to our sub-culture's benefit? The very thought of Zynga influencing the future of games design in any way other than to serve as an example of what you should never ever strive to be like, to me, is as loathsome a concept as an announcement tomorrow that Ubisoft's new DRM is slated to become the new industry standard.

There are some companies you really shouldn't emulate.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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Matt_LRR said:
Glademaster said:
Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
Yes while I am well aware I am ignoring financial barriers I was commenting on the fact that this apparent barrier of effort is stopping people from gaming. Which it isn't. If the financial barrier was given more detail fair enough but it is not. I thought that this barrier of effort was much more stressed in the article which is completely untrue. As gaming is not that hard to get into if you start with something small like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Even CoD can be breezed through on easy. While there is a financial barrier there are many games that can played if you have a PC capable of playing Farmville they just won't be as mainstream as Cod more brower based games some of which are very good.
And a person who isn't already into gaming wouldn't know that.

-m
Wouldn't already know what? Browser based games? There are plenty of them to play on Facebook and everyone in my school and I mean everyone knows about these brower based Flash websites like kongregate. So going by that I think it is fair to say everyone knows where to find them,
 
Jun 11, 2008
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LassLisa said:
Glademaster said:
Even CoD can be breezed through on easy.
You made me laugh out loud! At work! Probably because I tried to do something like that a few years back and I can tell you exactly why it's not a "breeze":

1. Controller complexity/unfamiliarity. Hitting the right bumper and wondering why your gun isn't firing. Or spamming A instead of X trying to reload.

2. Separate move and look controls.

3. Time pressure. You are being shot! Get out of getting shot! You are going to dieeee! Aaaaaaaaaaaah! You are not in your best level-headed thoughtful state.

4. A visually nondescript scene. Experienced gamers are familiar with the general layout of a combat zone in games, what cover looks like, how to quickly scan a scene or where enemies are likely to be hidden. New gamers, not so much.

I have many memories of playing Halo and trying to figure out how I got stuck in a nondescript box because I couldn't see anything no matter how I tried to move or spin the camera. When it turns out I was just looking at the floor. Usually I figured this out just in time to look up before dying.
1. They have this new thing in games called a tutorial where they explain the controls and how the game works and the controls.

2. Yes this will take a small getting used to but doing two things at the one time isn't that hard after a bit of practise in say the tutorial.

3. On Easy while there will be a bit of pressure enemies drop like flies and you have a mountain of health while this would still stress out a new gamer I don't see this as an overall problem. They are supposed to be under a bit of strain or pressure as it is the first time.

4. I call bollox here. I have gotten lost at least once in every single game I have played for the first time. I don't just mean a little lost. I have spent an hour trying to find which way to go in some levels because I got so lost. In fact in Halo I thought I was going the wrong because of arrows on the floow the second time on the level the snow one and went back to the start but I was going the right way.

Yes and things like that are fine that is why the game is on Easy so you can get used to the game and avoid things like this.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
Yes while I am well aware I am ignoring financial barriers I was commenting on the fact that this apparent barrier of effort is stopping people from gaming. Which it isn't. If the financial barrier was given more detail fair enough but it is not. I thought that this barrier of effort was much more stressed in the article which is completely untrue. As gaming is not that hard to get into if you start with something small like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Even CoD can be breezed through on easy. While there is a financial barrier there are many games that can played if you have a PC capable of playing Farmville they just won't be as mainstream as Cod more brower based games some of which are very good.
I think you have a really skewed concept of just how difficult gaming really is, even at its simplest. You have acquired a vast set of skills over the years, many of which you don't even realize. I'm not talking about more complex stuff like mastering controls or divining strategy, either, I'm talking about basic stuff like moving in a 3d space. Simply forming the mental connection between your hands and eyes takes a surprising amount of practice. Mario is not easy. It takes a great deal of skill, but even beyond that, it takes a great deal of knowledge acquisition. Take Super Mario Galaxy as an example. You already know what enemies look like, how they behave, what powerups do for you, how to get them, that coins are good and Yoshi is your friend. The new gamer knows none of that, and learning all of it can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially when you're trying to master a host of other skills at the same time.

Call of Duty can be breezed through on easy? Yes, perhaps, if you already have a great deal of experience with games under your belt. Saying that jumping into gaming is easy is like saying mastering French cooking is easy. Both take years of patient, persistent effort, but the difference with cooking is that the results are a known quantity. Everyone eats, so the appeal of trying to get good at cooking makes sense. But the appeal of games is unknown to non-gamers. Sure, it'll be "fun", but they already do a lot of things that they consider fun, and already know how to do...why should they knock themselves out and feel stupid and clumsy for a while?
I never it was easy in itself I said it was easy to get the hang of than a game like Call of Duty well atleast I meant to say that. You can easily find the 2d games for DS or something quite easily if 3d is too hard in fact the last one was in 2.5d or whatever that is supposed to be. If you can find me someone who absolutely cannot grasp something like this [http://www.kongregate.com/games/PsychoGoldfish/generic-defense-game] or this [http://armorgames.com/play/505/sonny] or even games like those 2. I will take time out of my Sunday this Sunday to explain to them how to play the game. Something like a tower defense game yes requires a bit of pratice and knowledge but getting started and playing a few levels is not too hard. Something like Sonny is actually quite easy and there are plenty of guides if you google Sonny walkthrough that tell you how to play the game. Sure character building might be a bit hard at first but for everyone it is as you don't know what works together.

There are plenty of other flash games like this people could play to get used to gaming. I never meant to say they were going to be perfect in the first few hours but something like Mario does provide a challenge while still keeping it easy enough and accessible enough to new people. Yes you have to learn to move in 3d and how enemies react, etc. It is still a lot easier to get into and start you off than others things which is what I was pointing out. I say this because I actually started off playing platformers so I think they are a good way to break people into gaming as they give you a good knowledge of movement.
 

JEBWrench

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Apr 23, 2009
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Nice article, Herr Funkenstein. Just out of curiosity, where did you get your numbers for social gaming? The link you have about Zynga's valuation also 404'd.

I usually get my information from Inside Social Games, and their metrics are generally lower than the ones you posted. Thus why I ask.
 

theklng

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May 1, 2008
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John Funk said:
Kristina Frazier-Henry said:
So social games are here to stay. Um yes, I agree. Is the point of this article just to hear yourself talk?
Are you not familiar with the idea of an editorial arguing a point...?
seems redundant arguing a point that has already proven itself. but i guess a paycheck has to be earned somehow.
 

BDBracket

New member
Mar 18, 2010
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Just because something is popular and significant doesn't mean that your relatively niche audience is interested in it.

This piece strikes me as "scolding the readers for not enjoying (some of) your articles," and that is a little bizarre.

Personally, I don't mind reading about Zynga, but I think the lessons to be learned from it are not that interesting.

Free things will outperform things that cost money by an order of magnitude, even when the free things have much much lower quality. You can learn this lesson from the iPhone App Store as well. This is also the reason publishers end up saying things like "90% of the people who have our game pirated it." Of course that's true. People who are getting games for free might download 15 or 20 games in a month, while those of us who pay are saving our pennies to buy just 1.
 

Lim3

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Feb 15, 2010
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I must have been imagining things when you said they were here to stay.

"LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAAAAAR YOU"

I only hope after the internet apocalypse online gaming will survive, and the escapist of course.
 

Mechsoap

New member
Apr 4, 2010
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i hate farmville, lesser gamers take it as a real thing when its nothing more then a life consuming flash game that has gone far to populer, i dont support the idea with zynga
 

ThreeKneeNick

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Aug 4, 2009
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The article sounds very defensive to me.

As much as you think you heard every anti-Zynga argument out there, everyone with such an opinion has already heard your point of view, too. You see, its a popular subject... You have the advantage of being in a position of authority, being privileged with the opportunity to write for a Totally Awesome Gaming Site, whereas most of us have to be content with writing a short comment somewhere deep within the bowels of the same site...

And you have to write about it, else this gaming site is not keeping up with the trends, and game developers have to hold conferences about social media else they will be marginalized by their peers, largely for the same reason. But the whole lot of you overlook the fact that any internet enabled PC is a potential casual gaming platform, facebook or not, instead you only choose to obsess about the numbers, as if it were the only important thing.

Well, maybe they are for corporate executives. They shouldn't be for a gaming website or gaming journalists. You guys know better than numbers, you guys know that whats really important about gaming, as a medium and an art form, or at least you are supposed to. That's why we are here, and that's why you get the comments every time you mention facebook or farmville. Farmville is not the first, nor the last, but you treat it like it is unmindful of your audience, and to me at least, its getting very tiring.
 

rossatdi

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John Funk said:
rembrandtqeinstein said:
Facebook, like myspace before it, is a fad and will die out just like all other fads. Eventually the current crop of users will grow up a bit and realize nobody cares they took a poo at 9:13 am, and it contained corn.

Saying Farmville is the wave of the future is like someone in 1985 saying breakdancing was the future. Yes it looks that way NOW but give it a couple of years.
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
At the very least it will act as a gateway to better games. After all, bring on Civ-Book! http://www.facebook.com/civnetwork

My only contention is the concept of a controller as some new age rubix cube. A few years ago at Xmas my father and his friend sat down and had a go at Soul Calibre (I forget which one, I'm guessing 3). Once my brother and I had explained that the analogue stick moved the character, this button blocked and these three attacked, they had a whale of a time. Obviously the finer points were lost at them but normal adults, in my experience, don't struggle too much with the concept of games. After half an hour the old block/attack decision making process evolved out of straight button mashing.

I think the only one that really gets people is FPSs because of perspective challenge and the dual stick use. Even some experience RTS players I know get a bit confused with a virtual gun in their hands.

Farmville and its ilk reminds me of British soap-operas or reality TV. Everyone watches them, denying it would be ridiculous, but to claim any level of artistry is never seriously considered. Half Life 2 is an oscar film that not many people see but that most who have would defend passionately. Farmville is like East Enders - something that is easy to digest and gives people something to communicate about.
 

headphonegirl

The Troll under the bridge
Oct 19, 2009
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randommaster said:
John Funk said:
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
No, Facebook will turn into zombie website that hides in the tubes and infects other packets as they go by, slowly turning the entire internet into a mass of websites sending you requests to join your friends.
A Horrifying thought 0.o
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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As a community member on several Totally Awesome Gaming Sites, I begin to notice certain patterns in how writers will react to given news stories, reviews and similar. They're a lot closer to the "videogame industry" after a certain time the site has run and often tend to take their side or write out of the viewpoint of said industry, willfully ignoring the interests and wants of the actual audience they are writing for. (hint: based on most comments it is not your hardcore Farmville player)

For example articles like this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_8/50-Death-to-the-Games-Industry-Part-I become rarer and rarer and get replaced by articles like:

"DLC is Awesome, you should pay and Live with it."

"God, I love Blizzard and I won't say anything bad about them, EVER"

"DRM sucks, but... it's not soo bad"

See, I can do it too?


As for Facebook, Twitter and Farmville, I'm pretty sure they're just a passing fad and in 4-5 years noone will remember them anymore, because everyone will be all over the next "big thing" while Google keeps growing and growing and adding awesome free to use services.
 

junkmanuk

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Apr 7, 2009
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Farmville is a game - yes I agree.

However, I get mad when people put Zynga on a pedestal because they are some revolution in "gaming for non-gamers".

If Farmville wasn't on facebook - would it be as successful? If the game didn't have neighbour reliance, provoking a sense of duty to continue playing would people still continue with it? Zynga are pumping a cheap gaming drug in a high availability channel that is all.

These games work on habit, reliance and objectives that are always slightly out of reach. They create animated instances of behavioural control.

Is this an avenue of gaming that you want to be associated with? Are you happy to propogate the myth that games are 'too hard for normal people'? Is it ok for 'non-gamers' to have sub-standard, addictive and, more concerning, *unfair* products because they are only 'non-gamers'?

I feel sad if that is genuinely the point of view of the escapist editors. In your position you should be pushing the industry to embrace non-gamers, not to stand by and watch them being exploited.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
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John Funk said:
How can any rational person look at those numbers and somehow think that they are irrelevant? Is there nothing to learn from Facebook?
You know how many millions of people use MS Word EVERY DAY?!!!!!!1121213123. Why don't I get articles about Armour Games? Why isn't Google in your Developers' Popularity Contest - is googlewhacking not a game? Why not? DEFINE YOUR TERMS.

Other than that, you've got a solid-ish argument. It basically runs: games industry is all about making money, not about making games -> there's a lot more money to be made in reaching a much wider market -> lots of developers will be selling out real gamers (like Nintendo did) so that they can access more wallets with the MyFirstGamer machines and games. It's true enough, it just shouldn't be something that a 'proper' gaming magazine like this is making more acceptable. No-one is suffering from the delusion that if you don't talk about Zynga it will go away, it's merely that THEY DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT because they aren't games.

As an aside, when did the 'video' in 'videogames' get dropped? And since it seems a conscious decision on this site, why are there no reviews of what Hasbro is doing, or the ludicrous rule change that the makers of Scrabble have just introduced? Or is that not 'gaming'?
 

Sparrow

New member
Feb 22, 2009
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Make Zynga based article + Post it on the Escapist + ???? = PROFIT!!!

In all seriousness though, it's sort of obvious it's going to stay. Unless you want to kill everyone that uses Facebook, that is.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
7,222
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Glademaster said:
I never it was easy in itself I said it was easy to get the hang of than a game like Call of Duty well atleast I meant to say that. You can easily find the 2d games for DS or something quite easily if 3d is too hard in fact the last one was in 2.5d or whatever that is supposed to be. If you can find me someone who absolutely cannot grasp something like this [http://www.kongregate.com/games/PsychoGoldfish/generic-defense-game] or this [http://armorgames.com/play/505/sonny] or even games like those 2. I will take time out of my Sunday this Sunday to explain to them how to play the game. Something like a tower defense game yes requires a bit of pratice and knowledge but getting started and playing a few levels is not too hard. Something like Sonny is actually quite easy and there are plenty of guides if you google Sonny walkthrough that tell you how to play the game. Sure character building might be a bit hard at first but for everyone it is as you don't know what works together.

There are plenty of other flash games like this people could play to get used to gaming. I never meant to say they were going to be perfect in the first few hours but something like Mario does provide a challenge while still keeping it easy enough and accessible enough to new people. Yes you have to learn to move in 3d and how enemies react, etc. It is still a lot easier to get into and start you off than others things which is what I was pointing out. I say this because I actually started off playing platformers so I think they are a good way to break people into gaming as they give you a good knowledge of movement.
How old were you when you "started off playing"? The simple truth is that it's much, much easier to learn something when you're young, as several folks have already pointed out. This isn't due to lack of will, it's due to simple biology. Something that would be a breeze as a 9 year old is monumentally more difficult when you're, say, 39.

Again, this isn't just about literally being able to learn something. Given enough time, just about anyone can learn just about anything. It's about desire to learn. I'm sure I could learn how to take apart my car's engine if I really wanted to, but I just don't see the value in that. (Or, more specifically, the effort required far outweighs the perceived value, so I don't bother.) Am I lazy? Most certainly not, I've just made a decision based on the priorities in my life. Same is true of learning any complex system and I assure you, gaming of any sort, even 2d platformers, is a complex system.

So, when you say it's "easier to get into than other things" -- which is not what you said, by the way, you said people who didn't do it were lazy -- that's a matter of perspective. Easier for you and people like you, certainly. But just because something is easy for you, that does not mean it is easy.

Glademaster said:
Matt_LRR said:
Glademaster said:
Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
Yes while I am well aware I am ignoring financial barriers I was commenting on the fact that this apparent barrier of effort is stopping people from gaming. Which it isn't. If the financial barrier was given more detail fair enough but it is not. I thought that this barrier of effort was much more stressed in the article which is completely untrue. As gaming is not that hard to get into if you start with something small like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. Even CoD can be breezed through on easy. While there is a financial barrier there are many games that can played if you have a PC capable of playing Farmville they just won't be as mainstream as Cod more brower based games some of which are very good.
And a person who isn't already into gaming wouldn't know that.

-m
Wouldn't already know what? Browser based games? There are plenty of them to play on Facebook and everyone in my school and I mean everyone knows about these brower based Flash websites like kongregate. So going by that I think it is fair to say everyone knows where to find them,
Do you really think "everyone" is like you and the people at your school? How about their parents, or grandparents? There are people in the world over the age of 30, you know.
 

Regiment

New member
Nov 9, 2009
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This is absurd, honestly. Zynga makes games (and no matter how you argue it, what they make are certainly games of some kind or another) that people like, people who generally don't play games. And apparently this is some sort of travesty. What do people playing casual browser games do that's so abhorrent? You don't have to like these games, but we can certainly stop complaining about them and demonizing anyone who plays them. Are these serious hardcore macho difficult games? No, of course not, but do the people playing it care? Of course not! They're having fun. Why is this a bad thing?

Complaining about people playing browser games because "they're not real games" or "they're not real gamers" is disturbingly exclusionary and superior of us. We play video games too. We aren't better than... people who play video games.
 

beemoh

New member
Dec 8, 2007
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Citrus Insanity said:
Haven't I read this article before? Seriously, it seems every time I glance down at the articles section, it's something about Zynga and/or the rise of casual gaming. Maybe it's just me.
^this. I'll admit that I'm only on here from time to time, but it seems there's always some article on the front page (Usually in the regular columns, rather than the magazine issues) about how amazing casual games/gamers are, and how rubbish core games/gamers are and that casual games are exempt from all kinds of criticism forever.

Does the music press do this same level of hand-wringing when some alternative music site pans the latest American Idol winner? Or when a film magazine gives a summer blockbuster anything less than eleven out of ten?

No, no they don't- and while I'm usually the first person to jump on people for hating on popular stuff purely because it's popular, the games press- The Escapist especially- need to get over people occasionally saying something negative about casual games.
 

Xanthious

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Dec 25, 2008
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Zynga is to gaming what the fucking Macarena was to music. Sure it's absolutely huge now but in five years everyone will be scratching their heads going "What in the blue Hell were we thinking?"
 

Overlord59

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Jun 17, 2009
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Gildan Bladeborn said:
aemroth said:
Gildan Bladeborn said:
That's as may be Funk, but lots of things are significant and yet go unremarked upon by specialist gaming websites, and a world significantly shaped by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga is one I dread with every fiber of my being egad, and judging by the fact you felt this article was needed, I'm not really in the minority here.

Why do we prefer to cover our ears and shout "La la la I can't hear you la la la"? Zynga doesn't make games, that's why. Somebody is going to take umbrage with that (possibly you), but allow me to elaborate - what they make are games in the sense that a slot machine is a game. Clearly, its not - it's a system designed to make you pull a lever over and over in the hopes of randomly receiving a reward, engineered as such precisely to make you hopelessly addicted until you give it all your money. Likewise, when you 'play' the lottery you are not actually playing a game (unless you want to qualify "give the government all your money because you suck at math" as a game).

A lot of people don't like MMOs because they all resort to those sorts of tactics to keep their players paying forever and ever, but generally there's still some gameplay layered over top the Machiavellian addiction-triggering underpinnings - the good MMOs can actually muster up some fun that isn't just your brain being rewired to associate your shiny new addiction with happiness. The titles Zynga releases are what you get when you strip all those 'extraneous' trappings of gameplay away, leaving only the slot machine that punishes you when you try to stop pulling it's handle.

They aren't even slightly fun, but they are very addictive, so it doesn't matter that they're criminally boring and lack any real entertainment value - pulling a damn lever over and over is every bit as unfun and yet there's Vegas. The ridiculous success of these thinly disguised digital slot machines is a sign we should be deeply afraid for the future of games development.

Because those aren't games, and treating Zynga as if they were a legitimate purveyor of entertainment software is an insult to developers of casual games everywhere.
This, i commend you for this post, really. Behavioral conditioning, coupled with a viral progression of users that functions like a pyramid scheme or multi-level marketing. It's behavioral Psychology at it's most profitably refined formula.
Well that made my night, commendation happily accepted.

Up till recently I was content to ignore the likes of Zynga forever, as I don't use the Facebook or muck about with half-assed browser games... and then it came to light that several members of my D&D group are Mafia Wars addicts, guys who are certainly not the stereotypical target audience. Really made me wonder why avid gamers (console, PC, tabletop, you name it) would be wasting their time with crappy looking games that appear to offer no gameplay of any substance to my jaded eyes.

A closer examination confirmed my gut reaction that the 'games' were worthless as games, but that didn't actually matter as they objectively knew Mafia Wars was a terrible game and yet played it anyways - the success of Zynga goes to show that fun isn't a necessary component so long as you design your title to rewire the player's brains to feel pleasure when what they're doing is really pointless drudgery.

Like yourself, I feel I'm pretty much obligated to be as firmly opposed to that trend as I possibly can be.
John Funk said:
The fact of the matter is, people who call the shots in the industry think that there are things that can be learned from what Zynga does.
What I can't fathom is why you don't seem to find that statement as horrifying as I do - what could those industry bigwigs possibly learn from Zynga that would be to our sub-culture's benefit? The very thought of Zynga influencing the future of games design in any way other than to serve as an example of what you should never ever strive to be like, to me, is as loathsome a concept as an announcement tomorrow that Ubisoft's new DRM is slated to become the new industry standard.

There are some companies you really shouldn't emulate.
Wow. Apparently you are significantly better at putting forward my opinions than I am. All I can say is that I completely agree with all you have written in this thread and I too am terrified at the prospect of leading gaming industries taking 'advice' from Zynga. To be fair I have played all of Zynga's games and I was addicted for a while but after leaving the games for a bit I realised it was habit making me go back, not enjoyment.

While it is unreasonable to not call their products games (as the term game encompasses a huge range of activities) the fact remains that all Zynga shows is that the bigger game developers are wasting their time with all their nice-looking, challenging games with actual storyline (although not all achieve this) because you can get a larger userbase with the comparatively pathetic flash applications that Zynga throws out. This fact scares the hell outta me.
 

John Funk

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Regiment said:
This is absurd, honestly. Zynga makes games (and no matter how you argue it, what they make are certainly games of some kind or another) that people like, people who generally don't play games. And apparently this is some sort of travesty. What do people playing casual browser games do that's so abhorrent? You don't have to like these games, but we can certainly stop complaining about them and demonizing anyone who plays them. Are these serious hardcore macho difficult games? No, of course not, but do the people playing it care? Of course not! They're having fun. Why is this a bad thing?

Complaining about people playing browser games because "they're not real games" or "they're not real gamers" is disturbingly exclusionary and superior of us. We play video games too. We aren't better than... people who play video games.
Where's the 'video' part of zynga games? Anyway, people complaining aren't really saying 'stop Zynga making games, don't let facebook players have their fun', they're saying 'don't write about it in the Escapist because this is a magazine about proper videogames'. Obviously some of that is exacerbated by hard feelings from the Popularity Contest Versus Thread Extravaganza that happened recently.
 

junkmanuk

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Susan Arendt said:
...I'm sure I could learn how to take apart my car's engine if I really wanted to, but I just don't see the value in that. (Or, more specifically, the effort required far outweighs the perceived value, so I don't bother.) Am I lazy? Most certainly not, I've just made a decision based on the priorities in my life.
Do you feel the effort required to play Zynga games is reflected in the entertainment value received in return? What about when the effort required increases as you progress into the game? Is the constant monitoring of your crops on farmville, or scheduling of your meals on cafe world around your real life worth the slim rewards the game provides in return? Especially when the addiction of the game can (and has in the case of several of my wife's friends) consumed their daily life to a degree often synonymous with hardcore gamers.

It seems to me Zynga are providing a lot of the negative aspects of 'game' to non-gamers with very few of the benefits...
 

Musclepunch

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I have found nothing as ironic as inviting my friends, most of which are polish, to fertilise my crops :\
 

Xanthious

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SikOseph said:
Where's the 'video' part of zynga games? Anyway, people complaining aren't really saying 'stop Zynga making games, don't let facebook players have their fun', they're saying 'don't write about it in the Escapist because this is a magazine about proper videogames'. Obviously some of that is exacerbated by hard feelings from the Popularity Contest Versus Thread Extravaganza that happened recently.
I agree. I would really like to see the Escapist put up a poll for actual members (Read: Non Facebook Members) and see how many actually give two pieces of flying monkey dung about Social Media and it's relevance in gaming. I can understand that The Escapist as a business has a lot to gain by bringing in the Facebook crowd but let's not forget that it was the hardcore gamers that largely made The Escapist what it is today and they as a whole couldn't be paid to care about games on Facebook. The question is simply what is important to The Escapist. Is it pandering to the masses to make the little numbers big or is it being true to what made you successful in the first place.

The bottom line is Zynga is B.A.D. bad for gaming as a whole. If the rest of the gaming industry wants to be more like Zynga that is their loss. Zynga as a company is deceitful, unethical and presents a product that is massively inferior to it's so called kin on consoles and PC. Zynga is growing I admit. But you know what else grows and grows? Cancer, and that is what Zynga is. It is a cancer to the gaming industry. Just because they put up big numbers doesn't change the fact their games are garbage. Nor does it change the fact they would rather steal from their customers and scam them as opposed to putting forth a quality product people can feel good about buying. The day the gaming industry becomes more like Zynga is the day the gaming industry stops being about making quality games and just about fleecing the masses to increase that bottom line.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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junkmanuk said:
Susan Arendt said:
...I'm sure I could learn how to take apart my car's engine if I really wanted to, but I just don't see the value in that. (Or, more specifically, the effort required far outweighs the perceived value, so I don't bother.) Am I lazy? Most certainly not, I've just made a decision based on the priorities in my life.
Do you feel the effort required to play Zynga games is reflected in the entertainment value received in return? What about when the effort required increases as you progress into the game? Is the constant monitoring of your crops on farmville, or scheduling of your meals on cafe world around your real life worth the slim rewards the game provides in return? Especially when the addiction of the game can (and has in the case of several of my wife's friends) consumed their daily life to a degree often synonymous with hardcore gamers.

It seems to me Zynga are providing a lot of the negative aspects of 'game' to non-gamers with very few of the benefits...
Me personally? No, not really, but that's why I don't play Farmville. But other people enjoy the grind of it, so clearly they're getting enough value out of the effort.
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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Xanthious said:
SikOseph said:
Where's the 'video' part of zynga games? Anyway, people complaining aren't really saying 'stop Zynga making games, don't let facebook players have their fun', they're saying 'don't write about it in the Escapist because this is a magazine about proper videogames'. Obviously some of that is exacerbated by hard feelings from the Popularity Contest Versus Thread Extravaganza that happened recently.
I agree. I would really like to see the Escapist put up a poll for actual members (Read: Non Facebook Members) and see how many actually give two pieces of flying monkey dung about Social Media and it's relevance in gaming. I can understand that The Escapist as a business has a lot to gain by bringing in the Facebook crowd but let's not forget that it was the hardcore gamers that largely made The Escapist what it is today and they as a whole couldn't be paid to care about games on Facebook. The question is simply what is important to The Escapist. Is it pandering to the masses to make the little numbers big or is it being true to what made you successful in the first place.
That's a great idea. Perhaps they could put it in the vox populi section. But they won't. :(
 

Tharticus

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While I dislike the may of Facebook (for having anyone looking at your status anytime, anywhere) and Zynga's games (shallow, repetitive and perhaps boring) what Mr. Funk said is right.

To those who still hasn't got the point, today's video games especially PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 controllers are complex and has massive buttons that can confuse even the first time players. Players will not read the manual because they don't have the little time to read it. And when a first time video gamer plays the game and the television says "Haha, you suck", that pretty much drives the casual gamer away.

If you look at the old school days, you have a joystick and a button. Then more buttons. Then more and more and more and more!

Besides, video gaming is a expensive hobby, not everyone can throw up 60 USD front trying to buy a game that lasts for 8 hours. Not to include console costs and other peripherals that's required to play that game *cough guitar hero

No wonder why our gaming audience seems to shrink.
 

John Funk

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Dexter111 said:
As a community member on several Totally Awesome Gaming Sites, I begin to notice certain patterns in how writers will react to given news stories, reviews and similar. They're a lot closer to the "videogame industry" after a certain time the site has run and often tend to take their side or write out of the viewpoint of said industry, willfully ignoring the interests and wants of the actual audience they are writing for. (hint: based on most comments it is not your hardcore Farmville player)

For example articles like this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_8/50-Death-to-the-Games-Industry-Part-I become rarer and rarer and get replaced by articles like:

"DLC is Awesome, you should pay and Live with it."

"God, I love Blizzard and I won't say anything bad about them, EVER"

"DRM sucks, but... it's not soo bad"

See, I can do it too?


As for Facebook, Twitter and Farmville, I'm pretty sure they're just a passing fad and in 4-5 years noone will remember them anymore, because everyone will be all over the next "big thing" while Google keeps growing and growing and adding awesome free to use services.
Of course we see the developer side of things, because we're intermediaries and it's actually POSSIBLE for us to offer their point of view. We support people who make the games that we love to play.

DLC *can* be awesome, and it's a fact of life going forward - if you don't want to pay for it, don't pay for it. It's that simple, dude. And my personal adoration for Blizzard (you know, the reason these are "opinion editorials") has nothing to do with anything :p

As for your opinion on Facebook, Twitter and Farmville, I can assure you that even if the services and games themselves die, the idea of social media is here and not going away. Even if you pulled the plug on every form of social media in the world today, new ones would just spring up to take their place.

beemoh said:
Citrus Insanity said:
Haven't I read this article before? Seriously, it seems every time I glance down at the articles section, it's something about Zynga and/or the rise of casual gaming. Maybe it's just me.
^this. I'll admit that I'm only on here from time to time, but it seems there's always some article on the front page (Usually in the regular columns, rather than the magazine issues) about how amazing casual games/gamers are, and how rubbish core games/gamers are and that casual games are exempt from all kinds of criticism forever.

Does the music press do this same level of hand-wringing when some alternative music site pans the latest American Idol winner? Or when a film magazine gives a summer blockbuster anything less than eleven out of ten?

No, no they don't- and while I'm usually the first person to jump on people for hating on popular stuff purely because it's popular, the games press- The Escapist especially- need to get over people occasionally saying something negative about casual games.
"How amazing casual games/gamers are"? Hardly. How important they are to the future of the industry, and we core gamers (yes, I am a core gamer as well) need to understand that, and need to understand that for our industry as a whole to survive it needs to branch out? The currently state of the games industry, where maybe 20 big-budget games a year are hits and turn a profit, is completely untenable. Which is why smaller-budget games that are cheaper to produce and maintain - like casual games - are important to the industry's health and survival.

SikOseph said:
John Funk said:
How can any rational person look at those numbers and somehow think that they are irrelevant? Is there nothing to learn from Facebook?
You know how many millions of people use MS Word EVERY DAY?!!!!!!1121213123. Why don't I get articles about Armour Games? Why isn't Google in your Developers' Popularity Contest - is googlewhacking not a game? Why not? DEFINE YOUR TERMS.

Other than that, you've got a solid-ish argument. It basically runs: games industry is all about making money, not about making games -> there's a lot more money to be made in reaching a much wider market -> lots of developers will be selling out real gamers (like Nintendo did) so that they can access more wallets with the MyFirstGamer machines and games. It's true enough, it just shouldn't be something that a 'proper' gaming magazine like this is making more acceptable. No-one is suffering from the delusion that if you don't talk about Zynga it will go away, it's merely that THEY DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT because they aren't games.

As an aside, when did the 'video' in 'videogames' get dropped? And since it seems a conscious decision on this site, why are there no reviews of what Hasbro is doing, or the ludicrous rule change that the makers of Scrabble have just introduced? Or is that not 'gaming'?
Nothing about Armor Games? What, do you not pay any attention to Alt-Escape? We have an entire column every week devoted to browser games and timewasters. And if Armor Games was purchased for a few million dollars, we would totally write about it.

And I'm sorry, man, you're being absolutely ridiculous. Are you suggesting it's a bad thing for people to want to be able their employees and keep the lights on? Are you suggesting it's a bad thing for said employees from the lowest of QA to the highest of Lead Designers, to want to be able to put food on the table for their family?

Developers need to make money. Many of them make games for the love and the craft - and that's great - but they need to be able to do it and make a living. This is not a bad thing, and the sooner you understand this the wiser you will be. But, then again, the fact that you refer to Nintendo broadening its horizons as "selling out" says quite a bit about your stance on things.

Big-budget games are very hard to make money on [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/99514-Ninja-Theory-Made-No-Money-on-Heavenly-Sword], even when by all accounts the game isn't bad at all - it's just not great. The "tentpole" paradigm of the industry today, where a handful of games actually make lots of money a year but they are few and between? It can't support itself. It's *going* to change. Now, core games aren't going away; you'll still see the big blockbusters, but the other games are going to change.

And I don't see how they're not games. They're by their very definition games that are portrayed on a screen (you know, "video" games). They're not games that appeal to YOU (or me, frankly), but they're still games, and some people who aren't us derive enjoyment from them.
 

Sylocat

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Nov 13, 2007
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John Funk said:
Kristina Frazier-Henry said:
So social games are here to stay. Um yes, I agree. Is the point of this article just to hear yourself talk?
Are you not familiar with the idea of an editorial arguing a point...?
What point was being argued? That Zynga's games are popular? We know that. They still suck, they're still all ripoffs of much better games that are only so popular due to Zynga's constant spamming of Facebook users, and nothing mentioned in this article changes that or even touches on it. The entire point seems to be, "Zynga is more popular than good games, so there."

ImprovizoR said:
I don't want to see FarmVille go away. As long as that piece of crap exists, and as long as people play it, they can't criticize me for being a gamer when they spend up to 8 hours playing that crap.
Good point, I hadn't thought of it like that. Go Zynga!

matrix3509 said:
Facebook won't dethrone Google until the mouth-breathing computer-illiterates can actually FIND Facebook without using Google ala the ReadWriteWeb fiasco of a couple months back. Remember that? If there was ever a single event in human history that made me lose all my remaining faith in humanity, that was it.
Oh-ho-ho yeah [http://blog.nerdstargamer.com/2010/thoughts-and-links-about-the-facebook-login-fiasco/]. In a "having already accepted that society is doomed" kind of way, that was funny to watch.
And I've always thought those numbers were skewed anyway. Facebook may get more hits (by some convoluted system of measuring), but how much time does each Facebook user spend on Facebook versus how much each Google user spends on Google?
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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John Funk said:
SikOseph said:
John Funk said:
How can any rational person look at those numbers and somehow think that they are irrelevant? Is there nothing to learn from Facebook?
You know how many millions of people use MS Word EVERY DAY?!!!!!!1121213123. Why don't I get articles about Armour Games? Why isn't Google in your Developers' Popularity Contest - is googlewhacking not a game? Why not? DEFINE YOUR TERMS.

Other than that, you've got a solid-ish argument. It basically runs: games industry is all about making money, not about making games -> there's a lot more money to be made in reaching a much wider market -> lots of developers will be selling out real gamers (like Nintendo did) so that they can access more wallets with the MyFirstGamer machines and games. It's true enough, it just shouldn't be something that a 'proper' gaming magazine like this is making more acceptable. No-one is suffering from the delusion that if you don't talk about Zynga it will go away, it's merely that THEY DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT because they aren't games.

As an aside, when did the 'video' in 'videogames' get dropped? And since it seems a conscious decision on this site, why are there no reviews of what Hasbro is doing, or the ludicrous rule change that the makers of Scrabble have just introduced? Or is that not 'gaming'?
Nothing about Armor Games? What, do you not pay any attention to Alt-Escape? We have an entire column every week devoted to browser games and timewasters. And if Armor Games was purchased for a few million dollars, we would totally write about it.

And I'm sorry, man, you're being absolutely ridiculous. Are you suggesting it's a bad thing for people to want to be able their employees and keep the lights on? Are you suggesting it's a bad thing for said employees from the lowest of QA to the highest of Lead Designers, to want to be able to put food on the table for their family?

Developers need to make money. Many of them make games for the love and the craft - and that's great - but they need to be able to do it and make a living. This is not a bad thing, and the sooner you understand this the wiser you will be. But, then again, the fact that you refer to Nintendo broadening its horizons as "selling out" says quite a bit about your stance on things.

Big-budget games are very hard to make money on [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/99514-Ninja-Theory-Made-No-Money-on-Heavenly-Sword], even when by all accounts the game isn't bad at all - it's just not great. The "tentpole" paradigm of the industry today, where a handful of games actually make lots of money a year but they are few and between? It can't support itself. It's *going* to change. Now, core games aren't going away; you'll still see the big blockbusters, but the other games are going to change.

And I don't see how they're not games. They're by their very definition games that are portrayed on a screen (you know, "video" games). They're not games that appeal to YOU (or me, frankly), but they're still games, and some people who aren't us derive enjoyment from them.
I actually don't pay attention to Alt+Escape, and therefore I concede the point.

As for 'developers need to put food on the table', take that hyperbole and overstatement elsewhere, it makes you look like a 16 year old debater. At no point did I suggest that developers shouldn't be making money or watching the bottom line, what I did suggest, is that the bottom line isn't everything. From my perspective, and the perspective of the vast majority of your readers, the amount of profit games companies make is much further down on the list of interesting factors than quality of game. I don't know what pedestal you've put yourself on that you think you can dole out nuggets of wisdom, but down here where the ordinary people reside everyone recognises that games companies not making enough money to survive is undesirable for gamers, and I certainly wasn't arguing a different position.
Perhaps if you can stop your knee from jerking and understand my point, you'll see that I don't consider there to be a problem with casual gaming, if there's a market for it, people are welcome to fill it. My issue with it is that it takes developers of solid games and systems like Nintendo and dilutes their focus on making the products I as a 'proper' gamer want.

And none of that is to say 'Nintendo shouldn't be allowed to do the Wii, or Zynga shouldn't be allowed to make their shitty 'give me cash!' browser games', but rather, it is to say that when your audience is a magazine of middle-hardcore gamers, who play 'proper' videogames on consoles and PCs, perhaps they are right not to be best pleased about good developers making less (and I don't mean 'fewer') good games to appeal to more people, even if it means an extra Jag per Nintendo executive.

I also don't agree with the implied dichotomy of 'big-budget games' and 'casual games' as being the only two options. There are plenty of ways not to invest millions of pounds and still create a non-browser game that is actually some good. In fact, could I ask for more articles in that direction please? Perhaps you could find someone in the office to work to the title 'Small budget games to please core gamers - how it can be done'.
 

Regiment

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SikOseph said:
Regiment said:
This is absurd, honestly. Zynga makes games (and no matter how you argue it, what they make are certainly games of some kind or another) that people like, people who generally don't play games. And apparently this is some sort of travesty. What do people playing casual browser games do that's so abhorrent? You don't have to like these games, but we can certainly stop complaining about them and demonizing anyone who plays them. Are these serious hardcore macho difficult games? No, of course not, but do the people playing it care? Of course not! They're having fun. Why is this a bad thing?

Complaining about people playing browser games because "they're not real games" or "they're not real gamers" is disturbingly exclusionary and superior of us. We play video games too. We aren't better than... people who play video games.
Where's the 'video' part of zynga games? Anyway, people complaining aren't really saying 'stop Zynga making games, don't let facebook players have their fun', they're saying 'don't write about it in the Escapist because this is a magazine about proper videogames'. Obviously some of that is exacerbated by hard feelings from the Popularity Contest Versus Thread Extravaganza that happened recently.
Let's not split hairs. Zynga makes computer games. These are a subset of video games. (If you want to be really picky, the "'video' part of Zynga games" is the part where you use a computer video monitor to view the games.)

While I agree that a lot of people are saying that the Escapist shouldn't write about browser games, there's this strong undercurrent about how these games are bad for someone or another, which is frankly absurd (bringing more people into a medium is never a bad thing). And how are browser games not "proper" video games? Where is that line drawn and who gets to draw it?

Certainly this is all because of the March Madness mishegas. People are angry that their favorite developers lost (or were severely challenged by) someone else's favorite developer, a developer they don't personally like.

It's all part of the curious trend against "casual" gamers. It's a silly line to draw, and it happens in all fandoms. People who memorize the Red Sox rosters and know every player's statistics, age, birthplace, favorite food, and underwear preference aren't "better" fans than those who just watch the World Series because it's fun and their friends like it. People who can recite the lyrics to every single Metallica song ever recorded aren't "better" fans than people who just like that one song they heard on the radio, and people who can get 1000 kills on Modern Warfare 2 without dying once aren't "better" fans than people whose idea of a day gaming involves a grand total of twenty minutes in FarmVille.
 

Xanthious

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I think what is being ignored here is that the people who come to The Escapist day in and day out couldn't be paid to care about Zynga unless it's to hear that Mark Pincus (or whatever his name is) was mauled by a bear and suffered horribly waiting to die in some ditch. Seriously, you may as well report on the closing price of pork bellies you might get in some of the commodity crowd too and just as many Escapist regulars would care about that as they do about Zynga "news". The fans of The Escapist aren't denying that Zynga makes popular Facebook apps we are just saying we don't want to hear about it. We are saying that we want The Escapist to stay true to what made it successful in the first place and unless I missed something that wasn't whoring it's self out to the lowest common denominator.

Lately The Escapist has been trying to get us to accept Zynga as if Zynga was their socially awkward and stinky child who has no friends on the playground. Most of us are core gamers and loathe what Zynga stands for. Thinking that we will ever care is simply fooling yourself and trying to make us care or accept your precious Zynga is simply wasting your time. I urge you to put up a poll, close it off to Facebook accounts and get an honest answer from your core audience to the question of "Do you want to see Zynga news on The Escapist?". I'm sure the 10 people that will answer yes already know where to go to find that sort of thing.
 
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Susan Arendt said:
Well I actually have two uncles who have only very recently got into gaming or even thought about it and they are both well into their 40s I suppose that is only 2 examples. Yes the point could be argued that the older you are the harder it is to get into and yes I accept that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. As the older you are the harder it is to retain new skills. If we are talking about people getting into gaming I'd assume they would be younger as older people wouldn't bother not for lack of effort or laziness but lack of time and that is fair enough. Very few people even bother to learn new things so yes I wasn't taking that into account. Also two of my friends' Dads are avid PC gamers granted I don't know when they started. It is possible granted harder for older people to get into games. Isn't that why people are making main stream games easier?

Also I have a story of a friend from my primary school but I will keep it brief. Basically he left his Gameboy and pokemon game at his Grandad's house. When he came back about 6 months later to get the game his Grandad had finished it and cleared the Elite Four. Also this friend is not likely to tell tales that is why I am using this as an example. When I see examples like this I don't see why it is too hard to get into gaming with games like Pokemon which are easy to pick up but difficult to master. Also I would assume everyone who is on Farmville can work a search engine and type in something like Flash games or Browser games if they wanted to play them so I don't think finding these websites is a problem.

In fairness yes I was 3 when I started playing so I have a bit of an experience advantage over most people. Although I was also introduced by an uncle who was then in his 30s. So yes the earlier you start the easier it is. Yes while any game can be complicated I cannot see a problem with someone playing something like Pokemon or Mario to start off. Obviously you have a desire to do it as you said I am not disputing that. If someone actually goes to look for something like this or look for a decent flash game website I think it is safe to say not matter what age they are they have the desire to actually want to play what they are after.

I will agree to the point that it is harder for older people who have no experience to get into gaming. Also that it is a challenge for anyone to get into. I don't think it is the Herculean task it is being made out to be in the article. Obviously people like the super easy, "cheap", accessible games like Farmville but it is by no means impossible to get into. Yes it does require effort and desire. If the person does have the desire they are going to put in the effort and if someone spends money buying something like that. They must have some desire to learn how to game and they are damn sure going to put in a bit of effort so the money isn't wasted.

I shouldn't of said it was easy but I really don't think it is as hard as it is and has been made out to be but that is just my opinion. You have a different opinion and a different point of view completely but I will never see it as something that is inaccessible or too hard to pick up. With a bit of time and effort it is easy. Once that first hurdle of getting the hang of it is done it is mostly downhill from there. Admittedly the older you are the harder that hurdle is but it is really downhill from there with a few more hurdles game and genre depending.
 

Mantonio

New member
Apr 15, 2009
585
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0
Xanthious said:
I think what is being ignored here is that the people who come to The Escapist day in and day out couldn't be paid to care about Zynga unless it's to hear that Mark Pincus (or whatever his name is) was mauled by a bear and suffered horribly waiting to die in some ditch. Seriously, you may as well report on the closing price of pork bellies you might get in some of the commodity crowd too and just as many Escapist regulars would care about that as they do about Zynga "news". The fans of The Escapist aren't denying that Zynga makes popular Facebook apps we are just saying we don't want to hear about it. We are saying that we want The Escapist to stay true to what made it successful in the first place and unless I missed something that wasn't whoring it's self out to the lowest common denominator.

Lately The Escapist has been trying to get us to accept Zynga as if Zynga was their socially awkward and stinky child who has no friends on the playground. Most of us are core gamers and loathe what Zynga stands for. Thinking that we will ever care is simply fooling yourself and trying to make us care or accept your precious Zynga is simply wasting your time. I urge you to put up a poll, close it off to Facebook accounts and get an honest answer from your core audience to the question of "Do you want to see Zynga news on The Escapist?". I'm sure the 10 people that will answer yes already know where to go to find that sort of thing.
I second this motion.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
0
0
To be honest the game would probably be only a tenth (at most) popular if it wasn't on the most trafficked website on the planet. Not to mention non-gamers will not pay for a console-not even a Wii- when FaceBook games are free and easy-to-understand.

So simpleness combined with its parent websites popularity is the reason why Zynga are so subscribed to.

In all honesty, before all this March Mayhem crap started I'd never even heard of Zynga, and that still hasn't changed by much, so I can't really comment on them much.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
0
0
Regiment said:
SikOseph said:
Regiment said:
This is absurd, honestly. Zynga makes games (and no matter how you argue it, what they make are certainly games of some kind or another) that people like, people who generally don't play games. And apparently this is some sort of travesty. What do people playing casual browser games do that's so abhorrent? You don't have to like these games, but we can certainly stop complaining about them and demonizing anyone who plays them. Are these serious hardcore macho difficult games? No, of course not, but do the people playing it care? Of course not! They're having fun. Why is this a bad thing?

Complaining about people playing browser games because "they're not real games" or "they're not real gamers" is disturbingly exclusionary and superior of us. We play video games too. We aren't better than... people who play video games.
Where's the 'video' part of zynga games? Anyway, people complaining aren't really saying 'stop Zynga making games, don't let facebook players have their fun', they're saying 'don't write about it in the Escapist because this is a magazine about proper videogames'. Obviously some of that is exacerbated by hard feelings from the Popularity Contest Versus Thread Extravaganza that happened recently.
Let's not split hairs. Zynga makes computer games. These are a subset of video games. (If you want to be really picky, the "'video' part of Zynga games" is the part where you use a computer video monitor to view the games.)

While I agree that a lot of people are saying that the Escapist shouldn't write about browser games, there's this strong undercurrent about how these games are bad for someone or another, which is frankly absurd (bringing more people into a medium is never a bad thing). And how are browser games not "proper" video games? Where is that line drawn and who gets to draw it?

Certainly this is all because of the March Madness mishegas. People are angry that their favorite developers lost (or were severely challenged by) someone else's favorite developer, a developer they don't personally like.

It's all part of the curious trend against "casual" gamers. It's a silly line to draw, and it happens in all fandoms. People who memorize the Red Sox rosters and know every player's statistics, age, birthplace, favorite food, and underwear preference aren't "better" fans than those who just watch the World Series because it's fun and their friends like it. People who can recite the lyrics to every single Metallica song ever recorded aren't "better" fans than people who just like that one song they heard on the radio, and people who can get 1000 kills on Modern Warfare 2 without dying once aren't "better" fans than people whose idea of a day gaming involves a grand total of twenty minutes in FarmVille.
Not claiming to be a better fan of anything, I'm claiming that, for example, a fishing magazine should not bother to give news updates about what's going down at the Hook-a-Duck stall at the fair. To use your World Series analogy, a magazine catering for dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans, who know their favourite team well, know about the main players of most other teams, know names of coaches etc, would be devaluing itself by suddenly pandering to the once-a-year fans who just watch that game. Twenty minutes of FarmVille isn't gaming, as those who would call themselves gamers understand it. It's just not the same.

You do ask a good question though as to where the line should be drawn. I have struggled to come up with a workable definition that would include most of what I would call 'videogames' and exclude most of what I would call 'crap'. As a gamer, I do not consider my playing of Tower Defense flash games 'gaming' and so would seek to exclude that as well. Perhaps one useful definition would be that you have to pay for 'proper' games. But that brings up potential other problems. However, the current state of play of including facebook games is not really justifiable, because I can't find a way to include them and not to therefore also include the RP games in the forum on here. Or googlewhacking. Do we get news or reviews of the RP forum? Would we want them?
 

Delusibeta

Reachin' out...
Mar 7, 2010
2,594
0
0
The problem I have with "social" gaming, specifically Facebook gaming, is that the rip-offs outnumber the original concepts. FarmVille/Farm Town, Mob Wars/Mafia Wars, PetVille/Happy Pets, Resturant Town/Cafe World, so on and so forth. Gamers dislike "social" gaming because of this, and also a lack of quality. The first "social" game that tells a good story and is fun to play is likely to do well, although it seems to be really popular, your game must spam like hell. And, as everyone knows, spam is Not Good.
 

Vitor Goncalves

New member
Mar 22, 2010
1,157
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0
randommaster said:
John Funk said:
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
No, Facebook will turn into zombie website that hides in the tubes and infects other packets as they go by, slowly turning the entire internet into a mass of websites sending you requests to join your friends.

...Anyways, I wonder what will kill Facebook, another site or an internal collapse. I'm going to say the later, but I am curious as to what would replace it.
Will be replaced by an even more obnoxious site of unspeakable horror. My guess.
 

Plurralbles

New member
Jan 12, 2010
4,611
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haha, the title was tl;dr. You know why? Becaus it's fucking obvious.

I'd rather see someone argue the opposite. That it's just a fad and it'll go away.

All we can hope for is that it will mature into something actually fun.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
0
0
SikOseph said:
Regiment said:
SikOseph said:
Regiment said:
This is absurd, honestly. Zynga makes games (and no matter how you argue it, what they make are certainly games of some kind or another) that people like, people who generally don't play games. And apparently this is some sort of travesty. What do people playing casual browser games do that's so abhorrent? You don't have to like these games, but we can certainly stop complaining about them and demonizing anyone who plays them. Are these serious hardcore macho difficult games? No, of course not, but do the people playing it care? Of course not! They're having fun. Why is this a bad thing?

Complaining about people playing browser games because "they're not real games" or "they're not real gamers" is disturbingly exclusionary and superior of us. We play video games too. We aren't better than... people who play video games.
Where's the 'video' part of zynga games? Anyway, people complaining aren't really saying 'stop Zynga making games, don't let facebook players have their fun', they're saying 'don't write about it in the Escapist because this is a magazine about proper videogames'. Obviously some of that is exacerbated by hard feelings from the Popularity Contest Versus Thread Extravaganza that happened recently.
Let's not split hairs. Zynga makes computer games. These are a subset of video games. (If you want to be really picky, the "'video' part of Zynga games" is the part where you use a computer video monitor to view the games.)

While I agree that a lot of people are saying that the Escapist shouldn't write about browser games, there's this strong undercurrent about how these games are bad for someone or another, which is frankly absurd (bringing more people into a medium is never a bad thing). And how are browser games not "proper" video games? Where is that line drawn and who gets to draw it?

Certainly this is all because of the March Madness mishegas. People are angry that their favorite developers lost (or were severely challenged by) someone else's favorite developer, a developer they don't personally like.

It's all part of the curious trend against "casual" gamers. It's a silly line to draw, and it happens in all fandoms. People who memorize the Red Sox rosters and know every player's statistics, age, birthplace, favorite food, and underwear preference aren't "better" fans than those who just watch the World Series because it's fun and their friends like it. People who can recite the lyrics to every single Metallica song ever recorded aren't "better" fans than people who just like that one song they heard on the radio, and people who can get 1000 kills on Modern Warfare 2 without dying once aren't "better" fans than people whose idea of a day gaming involves a grand total of twenty minutes in FarmVille.
Not claiming to be a better fan of anything, I'm claiming that, for example, a fishing magazine should not bother to give news updates about what's going down at the Hook-a-Duck stall at the fair. To use your World Series analogy, a magazine catering for dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans, who know their favourite team well, know about the main players of most other teams, know names of coaches etc, would be devaluing itself by suddenly pandering to the once-a-year fans who just watch that game. Twenty minutes of FarmVille isn't gaming, as those who would call themselves gamers understand it. It's just not the same.

You do ask a good question though as to where the line should be drawn. I have struggled to come up with a workable definition that would include most of what I would call 'videogames' and exclude most of what I would call 'crap'. As a gamer, I do not consider my playing of Tower Defense flash games 'gaming' and so would seek to exclude that as well. Perhaps one useful definition would be that you have to pay for 'proper' games. But that brings up potential other problems. However, the current state of play of including facebook games is not really justifiable, because I can't find a way to include them and not to therefore also include the RP games in the forum on here. Or googlewhacking. Do we get news or reviews of the RP forum? Would we want them?
And if the managers of baseball teams were looking at Little League games for tips, and if hardcore fishing aficionado were suddenly seeing a revolution in hook-a-duck stands, it would be remiss for publications to not cover them because they're "beneath" them.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
0
0
John Funk said:
And if the managers of baseball teams were looking at Little League games for tips, and if hardcore fishing aficionado were suddenly seeing a revolution in hook-a-duck stands, it would be remiss for publications to not cover them because they're "beneath" them.
You have a point there. But I don't think that has been the flavour of reporting we've been getting about Facebook games. Certainly many people who cared about March Madness would complain that a little-league team (with a mysteriously large backing - ok, it's a tortured metaphor) was included in a vote about favourite baseball teams. If the people on your website are telling you that they aren't interested in 'social gaming' (a misnomer in my opinion, I got to level 70 in Mafia Wars and not once did I find the experience social) perhaps rather than telling them they are being juvenile, you should consider what they do want to hear about. Remember, for the majority of people on here Nintendo's commercial success with the Wii isn't a real success unless they actually enjoyed the games that were produced. Same goes for casual games - if serious developers do go more and more down that route, it will be an unwelcome change for the majority of your readership who enjoy their more complex and sophisticated games that are less clearly merely a ruse for your money. Your discussion of it as exciting and 'the same' as what I would call 'proper gaming' only serves to annoy people who lament this process. It's not about 'beneath' the Escapist, it's about not comparing apples and oranges.
 

VanBasten

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Aug 20, 2009
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John Funk said:
They're not games that appeal to YOU (or me, frankly), but they're still games, and some people who aren't us derive enjoyment from them.
Clearly not that many people who do enjoy those games here by the looks of this thread, though.

Quite frankly I don't really care who plays what, nor what you choose to write about on this site, but this is just getting ridiculous. Complaining about your readers complaining about some of the things you write about... So just to keep it going I'll just add another layer of complaining on top of that.

NME doesn't often write about Susan Boyle, and when she does get mentioned occasionally the users comments on the website are... not favorable to put it mildly. Nothing really surprising there, their respective target audience don't really overlap much. So why are you so surprised?

Now I'm sure everyone here knows that there's money in Facebook games, same as there's money in Susan Boyle albums, so thank you for that Captain Obvious. Doesn't mean either is having a positive impact on their respective medium of expression(outside of their publishers wallets obviously), and it certainly doesn't mean that people shouldn't express their opinion on how much something sucks, especially since you're the ones that keep bringing it up, and have an open comments section below ;)
 

Nuke_em_05

New member
Mar 30, 2009
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Good article.

I'm an accountant. What right or special knowledge do I have to say what is "good" or not? I like what I like, my friends like what they like. They're smart enough to not get scammed, and I warn those who might not be.

The world keeps spinning.

Maybe we should leave the Social/Economic/Cultural commentary to folks who actually know what they're talking about. Notice that those who do, don't talk about Zynga. I will take my layman's perspective and assume it is because it doesn't matter.
 

Eldarion

New member
Sep 30, 2009
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This is relevant to the games industry because of its success?

Success, mind you that came from a pre existing non gamer audience, a horrendous spam advertising program, spyware, blatantly copying their apps from other companies, ect. You may want to put off these details as "irrelevant" but they are not. The games industry should not be looking at this success as something to be celebrated, this kind of crap should be punished.

As for the audience. These are not gamers. They probably will never become gamers. A social networking app that only exists because people want something mindless to do while they post on facebook is not a game.
 

Eldarion

New member
Sep 30, 2009
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John Funk said:
And if the managers of baseball teams were looking at Little League games for tips, and if hardcore fishing aficionado were suddenly seeing a revolution in hook-a-duck stands, it would be remiss for publications to not cover them because they're "beneath" them.
Only in this situation, the little league gains success by using drugs, the rough equivalent of the add spam and malware Zynga is guilty of using.

So in a correct analogy, the little league team "revolution" in baseball is revealed to be a very popular bunch of cheaters and you want to celebrate them because they are popular right now.

This is not a positive thing for the games industry, if Znyga's tactics become acceptable just because it caught on because of facebook, we all will suffer. This isn't a revolution in the gaming, its a shameful fad made popular by a built in audience made by a bunch of dirty, spyware using, game stealing fucks. Like I said before, this should be condemned, not celebrated.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
0
0
John Funk said:
And if the managers of baseball teams were looking at Little League games for tips, and if hardcore fishing aficionado were suddenly seeing a revolution in hook-a-duck stands, it would be remiss for publications to not cover them because they're "beneath" them.
So this is about journalistic integrity? Okay, sure.

Its remiss to act as if zygna's popularity or success is good for the industry, relevant to the industry, or otherwise meaningful in any way, shape, or form.

Les look to another browser game with a similar (read: identical) design. Outwar is the oldest I can remember, but even it wasn't the first. Outwar, like zygna products, reward (present tense, as its still up and running) users for spamming links. The reason outwar is such an obscure name is because no one wanted its spam on their networks. No one wanted it in their irc channels, their forums, their aol chatrooms. No one wanted it anywhere. Most moderators wrote automated scripts to instantly ban outwar links. Even this site likely has a few outwar bans. Hell, outwar is probably a big reason signatures are disabled in the forums. The internet in general did everything it could to keep outwar from propegating, for the internet, as it existed then, recognized outwar as a cancerous mass.

So why is zygna so successful then? Facebook. Zygna's success is facebook's success. Except with less actual effort on zygna's part. They didn't have any new ideas, they didn't even try to come up with any, they simply aligned themselves with a mostly unregulated social network that would become insanely popular. Their spam is free to propagate as much as possible, forcing people to block it on a per-user basis. Which solves nothing, as the spam is still there, you just can't see it.

So, imagine, if Live or PSN or Steam started consenting (through inaction) to that level of spam for in-game rewards for meta-game actions.
 

Regiment

New member
Nov 9, 2009
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SikOseph said:
Regiment said:
SikOseph said:
Regiment said:
(games are games, even Zygna's))
(we don't want to hear about Zygna)
(casual vs. core gamers)
...You do ask a good question though as to where the line should be drawn. I have struggled to come up with a workable definition that would include most of what I would call 'videogames' and exclude most of what I would call 'crap'. As a gamer, I do not consider my playing of Tower Defense flash games 'gaming' and so would seek to exclude that as well. Perhaps one useful definition would be that you have to pay for 'proper' games. But that brings up potential other problems. However, the current state of play of including facebook games is not really justifiable, because I can't find a way to include them and not to therefore also include the RP games in the forum on here. Or googlewhacking. Do we get news or reviews of the RP forum? Would we want them?
Honestly, as much as it pains me to say this, I have no objection to the core and casual categories. (I'd personally draw the line at console or long-term games, so something like D&D Online [even though it's a free game played in a browser] would be "core" and Farmville would be "casual".) My objection is just that it seems to be core VERSUS casual, and that I don't understand.

Besides, people have to start somewhere. To continue the baseball analogy, if the once-a-year World Series fans pick up a magazine or start talking to the dyed-in-the-wool fans, and the magazine or DITW fans belittle the newbies for not knowing enough about baseball, they'll never know anything about baseball, and they might stop watching altogether. However, if they pick up a magazine and see an article called "Baseball for Newbies", they'll be more likely to learn more about the sport. If someone who never plays video games starts playing a browser game- as derivative, cheesy, tedious, and unoriginal as it might be- there's a greater chance that they'll start playing other games and eventually migrate to the "core" crowd. This can only be a good thing.

Now, is the Escapist the proper venue for this? Not being an editor, I don't know. I'm not advocating some sort of "all browser games, all the time" thing, but I also like Alt+Escape.

Irrelevant postscript: What's "Googlewhacking"? I've never heard of that before.
 

Eldarion

New member
Sep 30, 2009
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Hopeless Bastard said:
John Funk said:
And if the managers of baseball teams were looking at Little League games for tips, and if hardcore fishing aficionado were suddenly seeing a revolution in hook-a-duck stands, it would be remiss for publications to not cover them because they're "beneath" them.
So this is about journalistic integrity? Okay, sure.

Its remiss to act as if zygna's popularity or success is good for the industry, relevant to the industry, or otherwise meaningful in any way, shape, or form.

Les look to another browser game with a similar (read: identical) design. Outwar is the oldest I can remember, but even it wasn't the first. Outwar, like zygna products, reward (present tense, as its still up and running) users for spamming links. The reason outwar is such an obscure name is because no one wanted its spam on their networks. No one wanted it in their irc channels, their forums, their aol chatrooms. No one wanted it anywhere. Most moderators wrote automated scripts to instantly ban outwar links. Even this site likely has a few outwar bans. Hell, outwar is probably a big reason signatures are disabled in the forums. The internet in general did everything it could to keep outwar from propegating, for the internet, as it existed then, recognized outwar as a cancerous mass.

So why is zygna so successful then? Facebook. Zygna's success is facebook's success. Except with less actual effort on zygna's part. They didn't have any new ideas, they didn't even try to come up with any, they simply aligned themselves with a mostly unregulated social network that would become insanely popular. Their spam is free to propagate as much as possible, forcing people to block it on a per-user basis. Which solves nothing, as the spam is still there, you just can't see it.

So, imagine, if Live or PSN or Steam started consenting (through inaction) to that level of spam for in-game rewards for meta-game actions.
Exactly.

Znyga's success is not good for the industry. I would even say its a very bad thing. These kind of tactics are horrible should should not be looked at as "revolutionary" but rather "vulgar" or even "criminal". Facebook is why this got so popular and hopefully facebook is where this stays and dies.

I agree that other game companies could start looking at Zynga for ideas and that is a very scary thought. Like with what you said about steam or PSN. Do you really want the same companies who are already pushing terrible DRM down our thoughts to get more bad ideas???

How bout, whenever a friend of yours plays a game you don't have while you are connected to the internet, Xbox live or PSN sends you an add for that game. Or how about instead of the Assassin's Creed DRM we get that but along with the game constantly freezing every 10 minutes to advertise other games?

You cannot tell us that Zynga's shady dealings are "irrelevant" but their success somehow is.
 

tetron

New member
Dec 9, 2009
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The article was well written but it was pretty uninteresting. I would like to combine two phrases here, "Why are you writing about this?" "This isn't news." All this article is really doing is fueling what is essentially the console war of online gaming. Also this article doesn't argue any opinion that hasn't been stated already, or even an opinion that needs to be argued, but hey even though you pulled a crap story out your ass at least you made it look good.

It's not that there's a "huge barrier to entry" for mainstream games it's that social gamers want to jump into gaming like noobs because they're not used to actually having to learn how to play games. The funny thing is that the only thing that really separates these games from MMORPGs is the visuals.

This whole complex controller thing I'll agree with, yeah someone new to games may have trouble with the controllers but it's not because of time spent gaming that makes the controllers seem easier to use to a gamer, it's because most of the people here built up their skills from the nes, snes, gameboy, etc. If someone would rather suffer through trying to learn the basic controls with modern controllers, rather than work their way up from the basics, then so be it and I hope they promptly give up.

If I had the time I would probably argue against every individual sentence in this article but I'm done for now.
 

yoyo13rom

New member
Oct 19, 2009
1,004
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Matt_LRR said:
John Funk said:
A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

You may not like FarmVille, Facebook, or Twitter, but guess what? They're here to stay.

Read Full Article
Man, Twitter sucks so hard, I can't imagine a single good use for it, and don't understand why someone would want to spend any time on it at all. It's just so... useless.


*wry smile*

-m
I only found one single porpoise for Tweeter: to get an extra vote at March Mayhem.
 

JerrytheBullfrog

New member
Dec 30, 2009
232
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0
Hopeless Bastard said:
John Funk said:
And if the managers of baseball teams were looking at Little League games for tips, and if hardcore fishing aficionado were suddenly seeing a revolution in hook-a-duck stands, it would be remiss for publications to not cover them because they're "beneath" them.
So this is about journalistic integrity? Okay, sure.

Its remiss to act as if zygna's popularity or success is good for the industry, relevant to the industry, or otherwise meaningful in any way, shape, or form.

Les look to another browser game with a similar (read: identical) design. Outwar is the oldest I can remember, but even it wasn't the first. Outwar, like zygna products, reward (present tense, as its still up and running) users for spamming links. The reason outwar is such an obscure name is because no one wanted its spam on their networks. No one wanted it in their irc channels, their forums, their aol chatrooms. No one wanted it anywhere. Most moderators wrote automated scripts to instantly ban outwar links. Even this site likely has a few outwar bans. Hell, outwar is probably a big reason signatures are disabled in the forums. The internet in general did everything it could to keep outwar from propegating, for the internet, as it existed then, recognized outwar as a cancerous mass.

So why is zygna so successful then? Facebook. Zygna's success is facebook's success. Except with less actual effort on zygna's part. They didn't have any new ideas, they didn't even try to come up with any, they simply aligned themselves with a mostly unregulated social network that would become insanely popular. Their spam is free to propagate as much as possible, forcing people to block it on a per-user basis. Which solves nothing, as the spam is still there, you just can't see it.

So, imagine, if Live or PSN or Steam started consenting (through inaction) to that level of spam for in-game rewards for meta-game actions.
200+ million new potential gamers isn't relevant in any way, shape or form?

Jeez, I want what you're smoking.
 

Eldarion

New member
Sep 30, 2009
1,887
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JerrytheBullfrog said:
200+ million new potential gamers isn't relevant in any way, shape or form?

Jeez, I want what you're smoking.
No they aren't because most of them will never eventually play real games, the number of people playing Zynga games is only due to facebook, these people want something to do while browsing their social networking site and will never come around to buying a console or gaming PC.

Go visit their forum by the way. They think of us real gamers pretty poorly. Bunch of violence loving retards we all are apparently. Thats another thing, they hate and don't understand real gaming. They think of real games the same way the media does.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
0
0
JerrytheBullfrog said:
200+ million new potential gamers isn't relevant in any way, shape or form?

Jeez, I want what you're smoking.
Yes, and every pirated copy is a lost sale, every smoker (tobacco) will progress to heroin, and everyone who drinks a beer will eventually die of alcohol poisoning.
Dark Templar said:
They think of real games the same way the media does.
Because they're the people that eat that shit up. They're the target audience of "ARE YOUR KIDS GOING TO MURDER YOU IN YOUR SLEEP WITH THEIR ECKSBAWKS CONTROLLERS? find out at eleven, ten central."
 

aemroth

New member
Mar 17, 2010
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Eloyas said:
This whole barrier of entry thing confuses me. True the need to learn to use a controller or to buy hardware is a major hurdle for getting new people into the hobby. What I don't get is how Zynga's games are different in that aspect from other flash games except for the part where they are hosted on facebook and spam to everyone? Kongregate, newgrounds, armor games, etc. are full of games with no barrier of entry. If someone tells me that robot unicorn attack is too complicated for most human being, I think I will lose faith in humanity... I bet that if that game did the same things that farmville does (facebook and spam), it would be played by millions more people.
It's as simple as that, really. Those games are not on a social network, and don't use the pyramid structure and grind/greed/envy conditioning-driven formula to boost their numbers. But to be honest though, for a game such as that to conform to that kind of formulaic design, it would have to be fundamentally different:

- it would have to incorporate a lvl system (grind), with shiny new fluff being available as you level up (greed, and by comparison with what your friends/neighbors have, envy).

- it would have to incorporate 2 means of gaining an upper hand (the desire for which stems from the points made above): direct money investment (profit), and getting more people to play via gifts/invites/spam/etc. (more direct profit through ads, and indirect potential for profit through previous point).

- ok, this one is a bit harder to explain, but bare with me here: that game is fun, the gameplay itself is intrinsically rewarding. You can pretty much play for as long as you want, when you want, and you can stop whenever you feel like it. If you analyze most traditional games in the light of behavioral Psychology, reinforcement (the increase of a certain behavior) and punishment (the decrease of a certain behavior) are usually present within the gameplay itself - if you succeed at a problem, positive reinforcement, and if you fail at that problem, positive punishment (wrong behavior, unwelcome outcome). Zynga's games, for instance, employ a lot more external motivators. The gameplay itself isn't what's rewarding, it's the long-term benefits (y'know, the bling-bling and all that) that generate positive reinforcement. Plus, positive punishment is swapped for negative punishment (right behavior, wrong outcome). What i mean by this is the crop withering, food spoiling, etc mechanism: if you perform your action, have to wait, but if for some reason you fail to be there on time, the benefits are stripped away for you. You still performed the right action (intrinsically, the time factor is extrinsic), but you don't get your reward, being punished instead.

This same mechanism also touches another concept: that of satiation vs deprivation: in a regular game, like robot unicorn attack, like i said before, you play when and for as long as you want. Since you become satiated a lot quicker, the effectiveness of the consequence for generating positive reinforcement is lower. Deprivation, however, like in Zynga's games, makes you come back for more over and over again: the more you are deprived of the stimulus you crave, the more effective that stimulus will be. In a classic skinner's box model, if the mouse can press the pedal anytime he wants, he'll rest easy, knowing it's there, and spend most of it's time sitting on it's ass with a full stomach. If, however, the pedal only gives the reward at a certain time, he'll anxiously await for that time to come, and press the pedal with fervor during that time window.

And there you have it. This, coupled with how to strip your design elements to the simplest to lower the entry barrier, how to analyze user data to know what most people want or don't want, and how to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the population at large, is what Zynga has to teach the industry.

When you think about it, this is not even new. In almost all forms of art and entertainment, marketing, etc, the initial approach is usually a creative one. When people start realizing the monetary potential and what works more and less profitably, hard and cold data starts to take precedence over creativity. It was already happening, of course, but it took the boom of social networking and a founder and CEO from an economy field instead of a creative or technical field, to really crank that concept up, and break down game design to a honed formula.

Gildan Bladeborn said:
aemroth said:
Gildan Bladeborn said:
That's as may be Funk, but lots of things are significant and yet go unremarked upon by specialist gaming websites, and a world significantly shaped by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga is one I dread with every fiber of my being egad, and judging by the fact you felt this article was needed, I'm not really in the minority here.

Why do we prefer to cover our ears and shout "La la la I can't hear you la la la"? Zynga doesn't make games, that's why. Somebody is going to take umbrage with that (possibly you), but allow me to elaborate - what they make are games in the sense that a slot machine is a game. Clearly, its not - it's a system designed to make you pull a lever over and over in the hopes of randomly receiving a reward, engineered as such precisely to make you hopelessly addicted until you give it all your money. Likewise, when you 'play' the lottery you are not actually playing a game (unless you want to qualify "give the government all your money because you suck at math" as a game).

A lot of people don't like MMOs because they all resort to those sorts of tactics to keep their players paying forever and ever, but generally there's still some gameplay layered over top the Machiavellian addiction-triggering underpinnings - the good MMOs can actually muster up some fun that isn't just your brain being rewired to associate your shiny new addiction with happiness. The titles Zynga releases are what you get when you strip all those 'extraneous' trappings of gameplay away, leaving only the slot machine that punishes you when you try to stop pulling it's handle.

They aren't even slightly fun, but they are very addictive, so it doesn't matter that they're criminally boring and lack any real entertainment value - pulling a damn lever over and over is every bit as unfun and yet there's Vegas. The ridiculous success of these thinly disguised digital slot machines is a sign we should be deeply afraid for the future of games development.

Because those aren't games, and treating Zynga as if they were a legitimate purveyor of entertainment software is an insult to developers of casual games everywhere.
This, i commend you for this post, really. Behavioral conditioning, coupled with a viral progression of users that functions like a pyramid scheme or multi-level marketing. It's behavioral Psychology at it's most profitably refined formula.
Well that made my night, commendation happily accepted.

Up till recently I was content to ignore the likes of Zynga forever, as I don't use the Facebook or muck about with half-assed browser games... and then it came to light that several members of my D&D group are Mafia Wars addicts, guys who are certainly not the stereotypical target audience. Really made me wonder why avid gamers (console, PC, tabletop, you name it) would be wasting their time with crappy looking games that appear to offer no gameplay of any substance to my jaded eyes.

A closer examination confirmed my gut reaction that the 'games' were worthless as games, but that didn't actually matter as they objectively knew Mafia Wars was a terrible game and yet played it anyways - the success of Zynga goes to show that fun isn't a necessary component so long as you design your title to rewire the player's brains to feel pleasure when what they're doing is really pointless drudgery.

Like yourself, I feel I'm pretty much obligated to be as firmly opposed to that trend as I possibly can be.
John Funk said:
The fact of the matter is, people who call the shots in the industry think that there are things that can be learned from what Zynga does.
What I can't fathom is why you don't seem to find that statement as horrifying as I do - what could those industry bigwigs possibly learn from Zynga that would be to our sub-culture's benefit? The very thought of Zynga influencing the future of games design in any way other than to serve as an example of what you should never ever strive to be like, to me, is as loathsome a concept as an announcement tomorrow that Ubisoft's new DRM is slated to become the new industry standard.

There are some companies you really shouldn't emulate.
You are quite welcome. I know how it sucks to make an educated effort to provide a valid point, only to get the "tldr" treatment. And i believe constructive opinions must be pointed up and built upon. :)

Anyway, yes, i know full well what your friends are going through. I've been there. It's not like i don't have any experience with Zynga's games, no, i spent too many hours in them than i'd like to admit, and regret every second of it. It's a bloody trap, and as addictive as a drug. I won't elongate on this much longer, i've done so above already, but an analogy with a drug distribution ring is quite an adequate one. Most drug peddlers are also addicts, and the guys up top know this works well. Zynga's games are no different: once you get addicted, the most effective way to feed your addiction is to become a seller, and peddle drugs to the most people possible. Cycle repeats, many addicts, and massive profit ensues. Pyramid model based on addiction. More effective, actually, drugs aren't free. Cute, huh?

rossatdi said:
At the very least it will act as a gateway to better games. After all, bring on Civ-Book! http://www.facebook.com/civnetwork
Really, i don't believe so. But in this case, it's pretty much a matter of guessing and personal opinion. If a social network game doesn't adhere to the formula and standards of Zynga's games, for instance, it will never be able to compete with them. And if it resembles a more complex game, akin more to the core gamer crowd, such crowd will prefer the real thing. Such games risk being in that niches middle ground that doesn't appeal to one audience or the other all that much. But let's see... Anyway, i'll also refer to my other post on this:

aemroth said:
Delock said:
I actually think that Farmville and the like are actually a good thing for gaming, and before I get flamed for that I'd like to explain.
I'd like to use my experience with Runescape as an example. Sure, I was a gamer before that, but I really had no experience with online games and MMOs due to the whole start up fee (buying the game and getting a month or so of subscription time), so Runescape was a new experience for me. It was interesting to interact with other players and some what opened my eyes to the possiblity of online play. That being said, I slowly came to recognize it as less and less of what I'd consider a game, and consequentially, had less and less fun with it. It also had the whole thing that still goes on today about having to pay to get the true experience and to be at an advantage in the game. However, before I actually sunk low enough to be a premium member, I decided to pick up City of Heroes and try it out, since it looked like it had the whole social aspect that I liked about Runescape, as well as actually gameplay. In a nutshell, the free game opened me up to another branch of gaming.
Similarly, I also disregarded Point-and-click adventure games until I played a few on Newgrounds and found I loved the genre.
Putting these free games up on a popular social networking site actually could turn out to be benefitial to potential gamers as it helps them feel confident about investing in a console or gaming PC, as well as gets them to look for what games they know they're interested in and help decide on which console is right for them based on that rather than just randomly choosing and hating their decision. I think that gaming needs to take another look at these free games as not only does it allow for a fanbase that would ordinarily not be included, but it also helps ease in people that just need the extra help.

That being said, I know there are people who still pay to become premium members in Runescape, or buy extra content from Zynga that never move up from there, but I have no problems with those people. I myself hate most RTS games and yet I don't get up in arms over Starcraft 2's huge amoung of publicity right now, so I don't see why so many people are so upset that news is being given out about facebook games on this site. It's in its own category of games that some people enjoy and want to know about, so let them hear about it in peace. So long as it only fills a niche of gaming rather than takes over completely, there's no real issue here.

Also, like some people have said, Zynga just happens to have figured out how to tap into this market the best (ie, facebook). I don't know if this will supply them the loyal fanbase they need or if they'll be uprooted since most of the general public doesn't really care who made the game or not (I'd like to remind you all of your own past where I'm betting most of you had favorite games/movies where you didn't know the names of the actors/directors/producers/etc. but rather only really cared about the whole product). Only time will tell.

As for social networking, if anything, I'd say it will grow stronger as time goes on. Hell, just looking at human history could probably give you that general idea as you notice that as time goes on, technology evolves so that we become more connected to each other (letters -> telegraph -> telephone -> email -> social sites). It will be interesting to see where things go from here.
This theory could work out, if it wasn't for a few pesky but relevant little details: first, the gap is too big. Social games are extremely simple for accessibility, even when compared to Runescape, Dofus, browers MMO's, the Wii, etc. The gap is still a bit large to bridge easily. During the course of MM, i even tried to politely tell a few Zynga fans to try kongregate, armor games, etc, and they simply didn't want to. Second, they won't do anything to bridge that gap, or at least not much in a foreseeable future. Why? Because metrics take precedence in game design decisions, and every bit of complexity they put in has to be carefully weighed not to become an entrance barrier. Plus, they have a much more effective mechanism to generate user numbers than actually making the games interesting: your friends list, their respective friends lists, and so forth, ad infinitum. Well, actually not infinitum, six steps at an ideal setting, if you consider the Six degrees of separation [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation] theory. So you see, this aspect provides a much much bigger potential for growth than the actual quality of the game and advertisement.
junkmanuk said:
Farmville is a game - yes I agree.

However, I get mad when people put Zynga on a pedestal because they are some revolution in "gaming for non-gamers".

If Farmville wasn't on facebook - would it be as successful? If the game didn't have neighbour reliance, provoking a sense of duty to continue playing would people still continue with it? Zynga are pumping a cheap gaming drug in a high availability channel that is all.

These games work on habit, reliance and objectives that are always slightly out of reach. They create animated instances of behavioural control.

Is this an avenue of gaming that you want to be associated with? Are you happy to propogate the myth that games are 'too hard for normal people'? Is it ok for 'non-gamers' to have sub-standard, addictive and, more concerning, *unfair* products because they are only 'non-gamers'?

I feel sad if that is genuinely the point of view of the escapist editors. In your position you should be pushing the industry to embrace non-gamers, not to stand by and watch them being exploited.
Most of my opinions, exactly, only a lot more concise (yeah, i have an unhealthy obsession of over-explaining myself too much). :p

Just pointing out what needs to be read and heard.

Xanthious said:
Zynga is to gaming what the fucking Macarena was to music. Sure it's absolutely huge now but in five years everyone will be scratching their heads going "What in the blue Hell were we thinking?"
Objectively, I see it more like a worrisome paradigm shift in the industry than a passing fad, sadly. Or such is my opinion. But by the gods, a small corner in the back of my mind desperately wishes you're somehow right.

junkmanuk said:
Susan Arendt said:
...I'm sure I could learn how to take apart my car's engine if I really wanted to, but I just don't see the value in that. (Or, more specifically, the effort required far outweighs the perceived value, so I don't bother.) Am I lazy? Most certainly not, I've just made a decision based on the priorities in my life.
Do you feel the effort required to play Zynga games is reflected in the entertainment value received in return? What about when the effort required increases as you progress into the game? Is the constant monitoring of your crops on farmville, or scheduling of your meals on cafe world around your real life worth the slim rewards the game provides in return? Especially when the addiction of the game can (and has in the case of several of my wife's friends) consumed their daily life to a degree often synonymous with hardcore gamers.

It seems to me Zynga are providing a lot of the negative aspects of 'game' to non-gamers with very few of the benefits...
Worse, actually. There are multiple reports of people spending thousands of dollars in the game, of people consuming time endlessly (some have already been in Dr. Phil, for crying out loud, lol). Ok, the userbase is a lot more massive, so proportionally, it's still not as relevant. But when it's still a recent and rapidly growing phenomenon, and when it's still being polished from an unrefined drug to a designer one, such signs are troublesome, indeed.

Xanthious said:
Zynga is growing I admit. But you know what else grows and grows? Cancer, and that is what Zynga is. It is a cancer to the gaming industry.
Don't forget plagues... and viruses... :p

Funny, my medical experience shows that as a rule of thumb, anything that grows too quickly is a sign of malignancy... Except perhaps for babies, but even those are what my teachers lovingly call "physiologicall tumors", with quite a few potential health implications for the mommy.

Susan Arendt said:
Me personally? No, not really, but that's why I don't play Farmville. But other people enjoy the grind of it, so clearly they're getting enough value out of the effort.
Well, drugs also provide value out of the effort. In fact, they operate on the same psychological principles of operant conditioning (positive reinforcement when the drug is used, negative punishment when no drug is available, and deprivation over satiation to increase the positive reinforcement generated by the stimuli), as Zynga's games do. Doesn't mean it's a good thing, does it?

Of course, people who play Zynga's games say it's fun, but so do drug addicts say being high is fun, and will be enraged at anyone saying otherwise. But hey, if a drug is legal, there's nothing one can do about it, right? :p

John Funk said:
DLC *can* be awesome, and it's a fact of life going forward - if you don't want to pay for it, don't pay for it. It's that simple, dude. And my personal adoration for Blizzard (you know, the reason these are "opinion editorials") has nothing to do with anything :p
Well, it's quite obvious it's here to stay. Doesn't mean it's a particularly good thing, though. Of course everybody will want the DLC when the experience is not complete without it. So, in a way, you end up paying more for the same amount of content as before. There is only an illusion of it being easier on your wallet in the short-term. Like paying for something on installments with an interest rate. Would anyone buy a book one chapter at a time, for instance? Of course, there were sequels and expansions before, but the size was different, the games were whole without them, and the price was more adequate.

"How amazing casual games/gamers are"? Hardly. How important they are to the future of the industry, and we core gamers (yes, I am a core gamer as well) need to understand that, and need to understand that for our industry as a whole to survive it needs to branch out? The currently state of the games industry, where maybe 20 big-budget games a year are hits and turn a profit, is completely untenable. Which is why smaller-budget games that are cheaper to produce and maintain - like casual games - are important to the industry's health and survival.

(...)

And I'm sorry, man, you're being absolutely ridiculous. Are you suggesting it's a bad thing for people to want to be able their employees and keep the lights on? Are you suggesting it's a bad thing for said employees from the lowest of QA to the highest of Lead Designers, to want to be able to put food on the table for their family?

Developers need to make money. Many of them make games for the love and the craft - and that's great - but they need to be able to do it and make a living. This is not a bad thing, and the sooner you understand this the wiser you will be. But, then again, the fact that you refer to Nintendo broadening its horizons as "selling out" says quite a bit about your stance on things.

Big-budget games are very hard to make money on, even when by all accounts the game isn't bad at all - it's just not great. The "tentpole" paradigm of the industry today, where a handful of games actually make lots of money a year but they are few and between? It can't support itself. It's *going* to change. Now, core games aren't going away; you'll still see the big blockbusters, but the other games are going to change.
I am not opposed to the industry making money, and being able to sustain itself, by all means, that would be naive. But it still feels like you're saying it's rightful that we are being penalized for supporting the industry from the start, with many years and money invested, only to make it grow to the point of saturation, and suddenly being told "sorry guys, it's been a good run, but your money is not enough anymore". Are we to blame for being good costumers? Should we pirate everything instead?

Second, casual games and social games are two different beasts altogether. I have no problem with casual games whatsoever, Nintendo pioneered it brilliantly and with careful calculation, and everybody seems to miss the point, the casual phenomenon has turned into some kind of blind gold rush (as explained in the article i linked to in my previous post). But it was inevitable that someone went back to grab those lower tiers again, the hole had been in the making for many years, now. And i see no conceivable threat to the gaming industry from that, Nintendo will, in time, press their market upwards, leaving Microsoft and Sony with a very difficult competition at hand (disruption... again, i stress the article to understand this concept).

But social gaming? Totally different platform, totally different design focus, and very different target market (overlaps a bit, specially with the casual market, but the bulk of it is different). And that massive difference, that makes it a phenomenon that overlaps very little with traditional games, meaning it's very very difficult to bridge the gap, plus the potential for growth, high profit vs. investment rates, and consequent interest it's sparking in the gaming industry is what is worrisome.

Yes, i feel there is a potential danger to core gaming as we know it. The question now is, what would the alternatives be? Or so i imagine you'd ask. Well, a bigger focus on quality would perhaps work. Instead of a developer churning out a large number of mediocre copy-pasted games, they could divert their efforts and budgets into less frequent but more polished games. Since you seem to like Blizzard, it works for them, doesn't it? I realize it's naive to assume this is always feasible, and that's not what i'm claiming. But it certainly could be a good step forward, or so i assume, but then again, i'm not an industry insider.

Curiously enough, i just gazed my eyes through my girlfriend's computer and she was reading an article about how much money developers make, and came across a curious aspect. Who makes the most money? Lead designers? Art department? Audio? No... Executives, and PR closely behind. It's all about the marketing and business side of things. Mind you, this is not at all surprising, and it would be a pipe dream to imagine that this situation could be flipped around. But it's always a sad thing to acknowledge that the people who actually creatively build the experiences we so love and crave, are crushed under the boots of the guys in the suits. And yes, even people working for Zynga would somewhat like a bit more artistic freedom, i reckon, but metrics are the new shiny golden egg chicken, and it's a sad realization it's here to stay and shake the foundations of the industry. But sorry, i can't cross my arms and not be vocal against it.
 

Xanthious

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A few months back my wife would come home and tell me about her day. Without fail this would always lead into who was screwing who or who was doing what underhanded thing at the office. I've told her time and again that I really don't care about that garbage but most days she insists on telling me anyway. The Escapists has seemingly became the journalistic equal to my wife.

The Escapist users keep on saying "Yeah, that's nice but we don't care about Zynga". Without fail however, there is another news story or another article explaining why Zynga shits icecream and pisses liquid gold and that we need to accept and love these thieves and scam artists. Honestly, how hard is it to grasp that your core audience loathes most everything that Zynga stands for? We get that there is money to be made through social media. We get Zynga is huge. We get they probably make more money than god. We simply don't want to hear about it.

Sometimes things just aren't destined to mix well. Hardcore gamers and the Zynga crowd are two of those things. We think they are a bunch of ignorant dolts that would be as amused by shaking a set of keys in their face as they would playing Farmville and they think we are a lot who basks in violence and destruction. Maybe the correct course of action, if The Escapist is going to keep shoving Zynga down our throats, would be to make a whole separate section of the site dedicated to nothing but social gaming. That way your loyal fans wouldn't have to see or hear about it and these new people you are obviously trying to draw in wouldn't be subject to our harsh words.
 

Klarinette

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I know, I knowww... it just sucks. People getting angry and yelling about things like Farmville and Twitter... maybe it's in the blind hope that saying something will make it go away?
 

beemoh

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John Funk said:
beemoh said:
^this. I'll admit that I'm only on here from time to time, but it seems there's always some article on the front page (Usually in the regular columns, rather than the magazine issues) about how amazing casual games/gamers are, and how rubbish core games/gamers are and that casual games are exempt from all kinds of criticism forever.

Does the music press do this same level of hand-wringing when some alternative music site pans the latest American Idol winner? Or when a film magazine gives a summer blockbuster anything less than eleven out of ten?

No, no they don't- and while I'm usually the first person to jump on people for hating on popular stuff purely because it's popular, the games press- The Escapist especially- need to get over people occasionally saying something negative about casual games.
"How amazing casual games/gamers are"? Hardly. How important they are to the future of the industry, and we core gamers (yes, I am a core gamer as well) need to understand that, and need to understand that for our industry as a whole to survive it needs to branch out? The currently state of the games industry, where maybe 20 big-budget games a year are hits and turn a profit, is completely untenable. Which is why smaller-budget games that are cheaper to produce and maintain - like casual games - are important to the industry's health and survival.
Nobody's arguing that point, as such (or at least, I'm not- and that's mostly because it's a conclusion that most of us accepted about four years ago. Welcome to the party.), but that it's the same article again. Look- here is the exact same article [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/context-sensitive/7048-Yes-Theyre-Gamers-Too] from January, except instead it's Susan Arendt doing "OMG SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT FARMVILLE AND THAT'S NOT ALLOWED!!1!!"

Not only is it a nasty case of deja vu, it's hypocritical and misses its own point.

The message from the article is, fundamentally, that this group of people (casual gamers) like their games (casual games), because our games (core games) that we (core gamers) play don't appeal to them for whatever reason, and that's OK. However, their games do not appeal to us- again, for whatever reason- and that's aparrently wrong.

(And I know you put a tokenistic bit in about how we "are perfectly within [our] rights to dislike these games", but the fact that you've written the article at all kinda takes the edge off that one, what with it being about giving people a load of grief for disliking Farmville and all)

The part in your reply about how "for our industry as a whole to survive it needs to branch out" ultimately makes sense, but "branch out" doesn't mean "travel exclusively in one direction, because that direction is The Right One", that's probably what got it into trouble in the first place. It means catering for a number of different markets- and that means accepting that different markets might not be compatible and stop with the hand-wringing.

To labour my initial point: this sort of article doesn't appear in the music press when some rock fan says they don't like some random pop act. (In fact, this behaviour seems to be acceptable and considered A Good Thing, if the coverage Rage Against The Machine got in the UK before Christmas is anything to go by) Nobody in TV journalism complains when someone says they don't like reality shows. (Staying in the UK, it seems that Charlie Brooker has built his entire career on doing so.) It doesn't happen in the film press when a Hollywood blockbuster gets a panning by some more arbitrarily discerning group of people.

So why is it such a big upset when it happens with games?

This isn't an issue with gamers as a whole, who have largely accepted casual gaming, at least as much as music fans have accepted manufactured pop and so on. It's an issue with its media, specifically that which just can't deal with the idea that Farmville (or Super Guide [http://kotaku.com/5422254/no-non+gamers-allowed], or the Wii as a whole) might legitimately simply not appeal to someone, somewhere, and that it can only be due to elitism and is wrong and Must Be Stamped Out Now.
 

John Funk

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beemoh said:
John Funk said:
beemoh said:
^this. I'll admit that I'm only on here from time to time, but it seems there's always some article on the front page (Usually in the regular columns, rather than the magazine issues) about how amazing casual games/gamers are, and how rubbish core games/gamers are and that casual games are exempt from all kinds of criticism forever.

Does the music press do this same level of hand-wringing when some alternative music site pans the latest American Idol winner? Or when a film magazine gives a summer blockbuster anything less than eleven out of ten?

No, no they don't- and while I'm usually the first person to jump on people for hating on popular stuff purely because it's popular, the games press- The Escapist especially- need to get over people occasionally saying something negative about casual games.
"How amazing casual games/gamers are"? Hardly. How important they are to the future of the industry, and we core gamers (yes, I am a core gamer as well) need to understand that, and need to understand that for our industry as a whole to survive it needs to branch out? The currently state of the games industry, where maybe 20 big-budget games a year are hits and turn a profit, is completely untenable. Which is why smaller-budget games that are cheaper to produce and maintain - like casual games - are important to the industry's health and survival.
Nobody's arguing that point, as such (or at least, I'm not- and that's mostly because it's a conclusion that most of us accepted about four years ago. Welcome to the party.), but that it's the same article again. Look- here is the exact same article [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/context-sensitive/7048-Yes-Theyre-Gamers-Too] from January, except instead it's Susan Arendt doing "OMG SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT FARMVILLE AND THAT'S NOT ALLOWED!!1!!"

Not only is it a nasty case of deja vu, it's hypocritical and misses its own point.

The message from the article is, fundamentally, that this group of people (casual gamers) like their games (casual games), because our games (core games) that we (core gamers) play don't appeal to them for whatever reason, and that's OK. However, their games do not appeal to us- again, for whatever reason- and that's aparrently wrong.

(And I know you put a tokenistic bit in about how we "are perfectly within [our] rights to dislike these games", but the fact that you've written the article at all kinda takes the edge off that one, what with it being about giving people a load of grief for disliking Farmville and all)

The part in your reply about how "for our industry as a whole to survive it needs to branch out" ultimately makes sense, but "branch out" doesn't mean "travel exclusively in one direction, because that direction is The Right One", that's probably what got it into trouble in the first place. It means catering for a number of different markets- and that means accepting that different markets might not be compatible and stop with the hand-wringing.

To labour my initial point: this sort of article doesn't appear in the music press when some rock fan says they don't like some random pop act. (In fact, this behaviour seems to be acceptable and considered A Good Thing, if the coverage Rage Against The Machine got in the UK before Christmas is anything to go by) Nobody in TV journalism complains when someone says they don't like reality shows. (Staying in the UK, it seems that Charlie Brooker has built his entire career on doing so.) It doesn't happen in the film press when a Hollywood blockbuster gets a panning by some more arbitrarily discerning group of people.

So why is it such a big upset when it happens with games?

This isn't an issue with gamers as a whole, who have largely accepted casual gaming, at least as much as music fans have accepted manufactured pop and so on. It's an issue with its media, specifically that which just can't deal with the idea that Farmville (or Super Guide [http://kotaku.com/5422254/no-non+gamers-allowed], or the Wii as a whole) might legitimately simply not appeal to someone, somewhere, and that it can only be due to elitism and is wrong and Must Be Stamped Out Now.
You're missing the point. I'm not saying that people can't dislike Facebook games. I'm not saying that people can't criticize them or the people who play them.

I'm saying that people need to stop being surprised/angry at the games being considered noteworthy by press and developers alike.
 

aemroth

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beemoh said:
Nobody's arguing that point, as such (or at least, I'm not- and that's mostly because it's a conclusion that most of us accepted about four years ago. Welcome to the party.), but that it's the same article again. Look- here is the exact same article [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/context-sensitive/7048-Yes-Theyre-Gamers-Too] from January, except instead it's Susan Arendt doing "OMG SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT FARMVILLE AND THAT'S NOT ALLOWED!!1!!"
Thank you for pointing out that article. The aspect i extract from it, only confirms what i've been saying: why the hell are "casual" games and social games banded together? Fundamentally, there's a bigger difference between them, than between "casual" and "core" games. Social games belong in a whole new pigeonhole.

John Funk said:
beemoh said:
John Funk said:
beemoh said:
^this. I'll admit that I'm only on here from time to time, but it seems there's always some article on the front page (Usually in the regular columns, rather than the magazine issues) about how amazing casual games/gamers are, and how rubbish core games/gamers are and that casual games are exempt from all kinds of criticism forever.

Does the music press do this same level of hand-wringing when some alternative music site pans the latest American Idol winner? Or when a film magazine gives a summer blockbuster anything less than eleven out of ten?

No, no they don't- and while I'm usually the first person to jump on people for hating on popular stuff purely because it's popular, the games press- The Escapist especially- need to get over people occasionally saying something negative about casual games.
"How amazing casual games/gamers are"? Hardly. How important they are to the future of the industry, and we core gamers (yes, I am a core gamer as well) need to understand that, and need to understand that for our industry as a whole to survive it needs to branch out? The currently state of the games industry, where maybe 20 big-budget games a year are hits and turn a profit, is completely untenable. Which is why smaller-budget games that are cheaper to produce and maintain - like casual games - are important to the industry's health and survival.
Nobody's arguing that point, as such (or at least, I'm not- and that's mostly because it's a conclusion that most of us accepted about four years ago. Welcome to the party.), but that it's the same article again. Look- here is the exact same article [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/context-sensitive/7048-Yes-Theyre-Gamers-Too] from January, except instead it's Susan Arendt doing "OMG SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT FARMVILLE AND THAT'S NOT ALLOWED!!1!!"

Not only is it a nasty case of deja vu, it's hypocritical and misses its own point.

The message from the article is, fundamentally, that this group of people (casual gamers) like their games (casual games), because our games (core games) that we (core gamers) play don't appeal to them for whatever reason, and that's OK. However, their games do not appeal to us- again, for whatever reason- and that's aparrently wrong.

(And I know you put a tokenistic bit in about how we "are perfectly within [our] rights to dislike these games", but the fact that you've written the article at all kinda takes the edge off that one, what with it being about giving people a load of grief for disliking Farmville and all)

The part in your reply about how "for our industry as a whole to survive it needs to branch out" ultimately makes sense, but "branch out" doesn't mean "travel exclusively in one direction, because that direction is The Right One", that's probably what got it into trouble in the first place. It means catering for a number of different markets- and that means accepting that different markets might not be compatible and stop with the hand-wringing.

To labour my initial point: this sort of article doesn't appear in the music press when some rock fan says they don't like some random pop act. (In fact, this behaviour seems to be acceptable and considered A Good Thing, if the coverage Rage Against The Machine got in the UK before Christmas is anything to go by) Nobody in TV journalism complains when someone says they don't like reality shows. (Staying in the UK, it seems that Charlie Brooker has built his entire career on doing so.) It doesn't happen in the film press when a Hollywood blockbuster gets a panning by some more arbitrarily discerning group of people.

So why is it such a big upset when it happens with games?

This isn't an issue with gamers as a whole, who have largely accepted casual gaming, at least as much as music fans have accepted manufactured pop and so on. It's an issue with its media, specifically that which just can't deal with the idea that Farmville (or Super Guide [http://kotaku.com/5422254/no-non+gamers-allowed], or the Wii as a whole) might legitimately simply not appeal to someone, somewhere, and that it can only be due to elitism and is wrong and Must Be Stamped Out Now.

You're missing the point. I'm not saying that people can't dislike Facebook games. I'm not saying that people can't criticize them or the people who play them.

I'm saying that people need to stop being surprised/angry at the games being considered noteworthy by press and developers alike.
But if one criticizes them, it is because one believes their impact in the industry is something one does not wish. Ergo, one does not wish them to succeed, and by extent, does not wish to see them get attention from their peers or the press. Isn't it rational then, to say that if one has the right to criticize them, one also has the right to criticize the attention they get?
 

Xanthious

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John Funk said:
I think what people are most upset about is that I would wager the vast majority of your core audience wants nothing to do with Zynga in any way shape or form yet The Escapist continues to hang off of Zynga's sack singing their praises in spite of what your audience thinks. I challenge you to open a poll to find out exactly how your base audience feels about Zynga getting the promotion it does by this site. I bet you'd find the numbers to be very slanted against it.

I understand why you would want to report on Zynga but your presenting it to an audience that doesn't want to hear about it and doesn't care. A month or so back you had a "news" story up that Zynga was releasing prepaid retail cards. Honestly, how many of the regular Escapist members do you believe gave two rotten pieces of monkey crap about that? I don't know why the Escapist has made it their life goal to give legitimacy to Zynga but your users and fans aren't buying it and are largely tired of hearing about it.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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Xanthious said:
John Funk said:
I think what people are most upset about is that I would wager the vast majority of your core audience wants nothing to do with Zynga in any way shape or form yet The Escapist continues to hang off of Zynga's sack singing their praises in spite of what your audience thinks. I challenge you to open a poll to find out exactly how your base audience feels about Zynga getting the promotion it does by this site. I bet you'd find the numbers to be very slanted against it.

I understand why you would want to report on Zynga but your presenting it to an audience that doesn't want to hear about it and doesn't care. A month or so back you had a "news" story up that Zynga was releasing prepaid retail cards. Honestly, how many of the regular Escapist members do you believe gave two rotten pieces of monkey crap about that? I don't know why the Escapist has made it their life goal to give legitimacy to Zynga but your users and fans aren't buying it and are largely tired of hearing about it.
Are we singing Zynga's praises? Absolutely not; I said in the column itself that you couldn't get me to touch Farmville unless you literally paid me. I don't *like* the games, but I see how they - and social media in general - are relevant.

The story about Farmville cards showing up in Gamestop WAS newsworthy, because it's about the interaction between social games and actual enthusiast/speciality retailers. If Armor Games started selling stuff in gamestop it'd be equally newsworthy.

It isn't about Zynga. It isn't about Farmville. Yes, Zynga is incredibly shady; that's completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand right now. Zynga will not be around forever, nor will FarmVille - but games LIKE them, that find good ways of engaging non-gamers and making them care about things that are essentially computer games by interfacing them with their friends lists and social media? Those games WILL be around. Those games ARE important to the future of our industry, Zynga or whoever else.

Fine, you don't like FarmVille or Zynga? Neither do I. I think it's crap. But what about, say, Civilization on Facebook? Are you going to tell me that CIV isn't a game? Really?

There's a reason EA bought Playfish for $300m, you know. You're focusing way too much on it being Zynga & FarmVille and not enough on the real lessons here at hand.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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John Funk said:
It isn't about Zynga. It isn't about Farmville. Yes, Zynga is incredibly shady; that's completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand right now. Zynga will not be around forever, nor will FarmVille - but games LIKE them, that find good ways of engaging non-gamers and making them care about things that are essentially computer games by interfacing them with their friends lists and social media? Those games WILL be around. Those games ARE important to the future of our industry, Zynga or whoever else.
I've been aggressively plucking your points since this particular thread started, but its only because I'm confused.

Zygna is successful. Whoop-dee-fucking-do. But what good are they doing? What new innovations are they pioneering? What is good about zygna's design philosophy? What is good about the crushing amounts of spam zygna (indirectly) produces? Why is spam suddenly a good thing? Why is it good to reward people for doing little more than staring at ads and spamming their facebook friends, then punish them for ever doing something else? What, beyond the pure blind luck of getting in with facebook early, have they actually accomplished?

They aren't the first to combine "spam your friends with bullshit" and deprecatory game design. They won't be the last. But remove facebook from the zygna equation, and zygna is as well known a name as outwar. Which is exactly as well known as they should be. A puss filled cyst growing on the ass of gaming and the internet in general.

The only true thing the VP of zygna could say at GDC canada is words to the effect of, "Our success is due entirely to the unmoderated status of facebook. We were far from the first company to build simple browser games around rewarding our users for spamming the internet as a whole with links to our products, but they failed as the last thing administrators and moderators wanted, was for the social networks they maintained to be overrun by spam. But for some reason, facebook doesn't seem to mind. So... thank god it became as popular as it is."

The success of zygna can't translate to other games without the express permission of Live, PSN, or Steam. What should terrify you, me, and everyone alive, is what psn/steam/live would look like with farmville level spam.
 

randommaster

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Vitor Goncalves said:
randommaster said:
John Funk said:
Facebook will die out.

Social networking and social platforming will not.
No, Facebook will turn into zombie website that hides in the tubes and infects other packets as they go by, slowly turning the entire internet into a mass of websites sending you requests to join your friends.

...Anyways, I wonder what will kill Facebook, another site or an internal collapse. I'm going to say the later, but I am curious as to what would replace it.
Will be replaced by an even more obnoxious site of unspeakable horror. My guess.
What is your guess? I need to know or else life will be incomplete! Tell me!
 

Outright Villainy

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Susan Arendt said:
Glademaster said:
Look I have said this before and I will say it again there are no massive barriers to gaming. There are plenty of easy introductory games out there like Crash that are perfect to help new gamers along. The problem is not high entry the problem is people being lazy that is why things like Farmville work. There is little to no effort required on the users part.

It is like learning an instrument if you want to get into you will stick at it. If you are going to be one of those twats who is in it to be cool you will lose interest and drop it. That is the problem with this apparent gaming barrier people are lazy nowdays simple as that.
Uh, wrong. While you're absolutely right that if someone tries hard enough, long enough, they'll eventually learn just about anything you put in front of them, there isn't enough immediate reward for many folks to bother putting the time and effort into gaming. If you're trying to balance a job, your family, and other real life activities, the promise that you maybe will eventually have fun in a month just isn't good enough to put up with the difficulty -- especially with just a few clicks you can be having fun now.

The financial barriers are also very, very real. Most families already have a computer, because it's useful for so very much. Spending $400 on a gaming console is no small decision, not when there's the mortgage and whatnot to consider.

It's not that people are lazy, they simply don't share your priorities.
You're spot on there.
Besides, like it or not, learning an instrument is much more productive use of your time, whatever way you look at it. You gain a much greater understanding and appreciation of music, and I'll be damned if it's not a chick magnet. ;)
Gaming is for instant gratification, especially for those unfamiliar with it. Why would people completely new to games want to spend a lot of time learning nuances and put up with difficult controls when they want fun right now? We may not like casual games, but putting controllers in the hands of people who would never have touched it otherwise is a good thing, no two ways about it. The only way for gaming to be taken seriously is for it to become so commonplace that it's stupid to make uninformed remarks about it.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Outright Villainy said:
We may not like casual games...
Actually, I adore casual games. More often than not, when I get home from work, I spend an hour or so playing something from Playfirst or Big Fish Games. And you need look no further than my beloved Peggle mug to know how I feel about anything from PopCap.

Those are all, admittedly, more complex, more "game"y casual games than just about anything you'll find on Facebook, but still.
 

aemroth

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John Funk said:
Fine, you don't like FarmVille or Zynga? Neither do I. I think it's crap. But what about, say, Civilization on Facebook? Are you going to tell me that CIV isn't a game? Really?

There's a reason EA bought Playfish for $300m, you know. You're focusing way too much on it being Zynga & FarmVille and not enough on the real lessons here at hand.
The question is: will it succeed? Like i said before:

aemroth said:
rossatdi said:
At the very least it will act as a gateway to better games. After all, bring on Civ-Book! http://www.facebook.com/civnetwork
Really, i don't believe so. But in this case, it's pretty much a matter of guessing and personal opinion. If a social network game doesn't adhere to the formula and standards of Zynga's games, for instance, it will never be able to compete with them. And if it resembles a more complex game, akin more to the core gamer crowd, such crowd will prefer the real thing. Such games risk being in that niches middle ground that doesn't appeal to one audience or the other all that much. But let's see... Anyway, i'll also refer to my other post on this:

aemroth said:
Delock said:
I actually think that Farmville and the like are actually a good thing for gaming, and before I get flamed for that I'd like to explain.
I'd like to use my experience with Runescape as an example. Sure, I was a gamer before that, but I really had no experience with online games and MMOs due to the whole start up fee (buying the game and getting a month or so of subscription time), so Runescape was a new experience for me. It was interesting to interact with other players and some what opened my eyes to the possiblity of online play. That being said, I slowly came to recognize it as less and less of what I'd consider a game, and consequentially, had less and less fun with it. It also had the whole thing that still goes on today about having to pay to get the true experience and to be at an advantage in the game. However, before I actually sunk low enough to be a premium member, I decided to pick up City of Heroes and try it out, since it looked like it had the whole social aspect that I liked about Runescape, as well as actually gameplay. In a nutshell, the free game opened me up to another branch of gaming.
Similarly, I also disregarded Point-and-click adventure games until I played a few on Newgrounds and found I loved the genre.
Putting these free games up on a popular social networking site actually could turn out to be benefitial to potential gamers as it helps them feel confident about investing in a console or gaming PC, as well as gets them to look for what games they know they're interested in and help decide on which console is right for them based on that rather than just randomly choosing and hating their decision. I think that gaming needs to take another look at these free games as not only does it allow for a fanbase that would ordinarily not be included, but it also helps ease in people that just need the extra help.

That being said, I know there are people who still pay to become premium members in Runescape, or buy extra content from Zynga that never move up from there, but I have no problems with those people. I myself hate most RTS games and yet I don't get up in arms over Starcraft 2's huge amoung of publicity right now, so I don't see why so many people are so upset that news is being given out about facebook games on this site. It's in its own category of games that some people enjoy and want to know about, so let them hear about it in peace. So long as it only fills a niche of gaming rather than takes over completely, there's no real issue here.

Also, like some people have said, Zynga just happens to have figured out how to tap into this market the best (ie, facebook). I don't know if this will supply them the loyal fanbase they need or if they'll be uprooted since most of the general public doesn't really care who made the game or not (I'd like to remind you all of your own past where I'm betting most of you had favorite games/movies where you didn't know the names of the actors/directors/producers/etc. but rather only really cared about the whole product). Only time will tell.

As for social networking, if anything, I'd say it will grow stronger as time goes on. Hell, just looking at human history could probably give you that general idea as you notice that as time goes on, technology evolves so that we become more connected to each other (letters -> telegraph -> telephone -> email -> social sites). It will be interesting to see where things go from here.
This theory could work out, if it wasn't for a few pesky but relevant little details: first, the gap is too big. Social games are extremely simple for accessibility, even when compared to Runescape, Dofus, browers MMO's, the Wii, etc. The gap is still a bit large to bridge easily. During the course of MM, i even tried to politely tell a few Zynga fans to try kongregate, armor games, etc, and they simply didn't want to. Second, they won't do anything to bridge that gap, or at least not much in a foreseeable future. Why? Because metrics take precedence in game design decisions, and every bit of complexity they put in has to be carefully weighed not to become an entrance barrier. Plus, they have a much more effective mechanism to generate user numbers than actually making the games interesting: your friends list, their respective friends lists, and so forth, ad infinitum. Well, actually not infinitum, six steps at an ideal setting, if you consider the Six degrees of separation [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation] theory. So you see, this aspect provides a much much bigger potential for growth than the actual quality of the game and advertisement.
I guess the big question is if it's possible to bridge the gap. the way i see it, this is a very difficult thing to happen. From my experience, a lot of social gamers don't even care about flash websites like kongregate or armor games, nor the Wii, nor PopCap, etc. I say this from experience with real life acquaintances, and through the course of MM, i posted a few of these links, but all the responses i got were "not interested" and even "tried Peggle... meh..." I keep striking this key, i know, but casual =/= social. An interesting game like Bejeweled Blitz on facebook goes largely unnoticed compared to the staggering success of Zynga. There is a big difference, and it seems very hard to pull social gamers into even casual ones. With games like Civ network and The Witcher announced, there are 3 possible scenarios:

1) They follow Zynga's model. Dead end, nothing new, our worst fears take another step.

2) They build games that resemble a lot the traditional games: facebook users at large will ignore, portion of core gamer crowd likely to adhere for the free aspect, other portion prefers the real deal, and it's probably not profitable enough to sustain itself.

3) Something in between, using some aspects provided by the nature of the platform, but with the feel of a traditional game, if a bit toned down.

The third point is likely the one with the potential to bridge the gap, to make a few social gamers hop over to traditional games. But sitting on a middle niche, will it be profitable enough to sustain? If it is, social gaming will become the lower tier of game complexity, and enter the disruption wave that pushes gamers up the complexity ladder. This is the good scenario. If it fails, developers will have to mimic Zynga, and the whole phenomenon will be isolated, and siphon a large chunk of the traditional game industry into the social gaming industry. Bad scenario.

*sigh* Thoughts? Please, i get the feeling my posts have been getting the "tldr" treatment here :p
 

Outright Villainy

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Susan Arendt said:
Outright Villainy said:
We may not like casual games...
Actually, I adore casual games. More often than not, when I get home from work, I spend an hour or so playing something from Playfirst or Big Fish Games. And you need look no further than my beloved Peggle mug to know how I feel about anything from PopCap.

Those are all, admittedly, more complex, more "game"y casual games than just about anything you'll find on Facebook, but still.
Heretic!
Ah, seriously though, I'm not saying all casual games are inherently bad, just the majority of facebook's, and the shovelware that clogs up the wii's library.

I do love me some robot unicorn attack though... :)
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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John Funk said:
Kristina Frazier-Henry said:
So social games are here to stay. Um yes, I agree. Is the point of this article just to hear yourself talk?
Are you not familiar with the idea of an editorial arguing a point...?
Johnny, can I call you Johnny? I don't mean to interject my two cents but sometimes you just need to put out what you wanted to say and just leave it out there, you can't make people react the certain way you want them to, if you could I'd have a job like yours (which I'm trying to get on various other sites), arguing with people who missed your point or anything like that will just lead to unnecessary aggravation, but I've rambled on too long and you probably think I'm a tool from my overly long statement, so I'll just say keep up the good work.
 

ZephrC

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Mar 9, 2010
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Funny how people seem to be assuming that they're being forced to believe that everything newsworthy is good.

Zynga makes games that we, as a community, do not want. So perhaps it is news when people start to emulate them, isn't it? I don't buy this crap about everything that's brings in more gamers is good for us. All other things being equal more gamers is good for us, but when games are becoming simpler, cheaper and less interesting, all other things are not equal.

The main point of this article was that it's news either way though, and that is absolutely correct.

Honestly, I don't personally believe that FarmVille and its ilk are really that big of a deal. There's a lot of money being spent by gamers, and a lot of companies dedicated to that market. That's not all going to evaporate overnight. Some companies may move on to simpler and more profitable things, but there are still millions of us with money and expectations of quality. There will always be someone ready to fill that niche. To claim that 100 million people playing an electronic game is irrelevant to us is pretty ridiculous though.
 

VanBasten

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John Funk said:
I'm saying that people need to stop being surprised/angry at the games being considered noteworthy by press and developers alike.
And you need to stop being surprised/angry at people violently disliking those noteworthy games.

I don't think anyone disagrees that a lot of people play these games and that the industry is going to try to make some money out of it. The "Why is this news?" comments aren't suggesting otherwise, they're most likely just "Why is this news here?".

Let me go for the music business parallel again, it's like if you posted a news item on Justin Beiber on a music site focusing on Heavy Metal. You may be writing about how some new Heavy Metal bands are looking into youtube and twitter for promotion, but you'll get a lot of "Why is this news?" if not a bit more... let's say graphic reactions.

Personally, I think you definitely should write about those aspects of the industry, just getting surprised that Heavy Metal fans don't like Justin Beiber is a bit silly.
 

Bat Vader

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Hopeless Bastard said:
John Funk said:
Hopeless Bastard said:
John Funk said:
And yet, the VP of Zynga is speaking as the keynote speaker at GDC Canada. Whoops, guess the people in the industry disagree with you.
And whats he going to be able to say, exactly? What valuable insight is he going to be able to grant to actual video game developers?

"Make your game as shitty, but rewarding as possible, and people will flock to you in droves."
"If someone else has a good idea, just rip it off completely and release it as your own."
"If you're strapped for cash, offer a "full version" which is really just a 3kb html file, containing a link to a copy of the .swf file."
"Turn your players into free advertising, by offering extensive rewards for spamming links to the game all over their social networks."

Yea, zygna has made some money through extremely shoddy business practice. Does it translate to actual gaming? No. Should it? No. Will it? We all better pray not.

"Oops, you're out of bullets, get 3 more people to play to reload."

Edit: Forgot that outwar beat zygna to the whole "turn your players into free advertising" bit by about a decade. Pretty sure they weren't the first either.
I don't know. He hasn't given the keynote yet - I have no idea what he'll say. But the fact that you're automatically dismissing it outright shows what I think is a profoundly willful ignorance on your part.

The fact of the matter is, people who call the shots in the industry think that there are things that can be learned from what Zynga does. And to pretend that it isn't the case because their products don't appeal to you personally is, I feel, narrowminded.
My point is zygna products shouldn't appeal to anyone. The fact they do is some sort of twisted perversion of reality in my mind. Its as confusing as how popular that "feed the flash fish" thing was a few years ago.

Zygna's products are essentially non-satirical versions of progress quest (yet another confusing popularity explosion). Except with in-game rewards for spamming links for progress quest.

Zygna took what other people were doing and made money off it. The amount of money got them noticed by people who actually develop games. The attention they're getting is a terrifying precedent. If every real developer started copying zygna's business model, then... sites like this would cease to exist. You would all be out of a job. There wouldn't be any need for any sort of centralized "gaming press" as each gamer would become little more than a spam-bot for whatever "game" they played.
Considering that there are over 6 billion people in this world I would have to say that Zyngas products will appeal to someone. It is not a twisted perversion of reality. It would be annoying if game developers tried Zyngas business model but I don't think they will.
 

silasbufu

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I'm not a flamer or anything , but can you bring a few arguments to this affirmation : " but you hating them doesn't mean for a moment that they aren't relevant to society or the gaming industry" ? .
I fail to see how farmville revolutionises gaming industry.
 

secretsantaone

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I feel this article misses the point somewhat.

I don't think anyone can argue that Zynga isn't a massive influence on millions of people.

However, comparing Zynga to 'real' developers is like comparing McDonalds to Michelin star restaurants. Sure it may appeal to millions as it's cheap and easy, but you start telling food critics that it should be seen on par with L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and they'll lose their shit.

Yes, this sort of gaming is appealing to millions. Yes, it is many times more popular than console and PC gaming. However, from a gaming site, I would expect articles on Zynga as rare as the food column in The Times discussing the new McFlurry.
 

Benjeezy

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Kristina Frazier-Henry said:
So social games are here to stay. Um yes, I agree. Is the point of this article just to hear yourself talk?
So you have a tenuous grasp of the concept of an editorial. Um yes, I agree. Is the point of this post just to hear yourself talk?

Insult an editor, who gives you free entertainment and news on a daily basis. Really cool. Fuck away with you.
 

RvLeshrac

This is a Forum Title.
Oct 2, 2008
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Zynga is not "relevant to the industry." Unless, of course, you're talking about the industry that revolves around Affiliate programs who try as hard as they can to scam people.

Do I have a problem with games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, et al? No, I don't. I still have Drug Wars on my calculator. ALL of my calculators. For two decades now, I've had version of Drug Wars on *some* device I own. I've had a Harvest Moon game on the majority of my consoles. I have a L14 Kongregate account, so I obviously have no issues with flash games. I don't get upset about PopCap's existence. I don't have a problem with Big Fish, or the Casual Game Portals out there (that is to say, the ones which don't resort to the same scam-ridden Affiliate programs as Zynga).

Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt gaming. Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt the *legitimate* Affiliate programs. Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt social networking. Why? Because the company is run by a scammer. This would normally be a statement I'd have to back up with some conspiracy theorist's nonsense about how Zynga stole his cat, but I don't. Why? Because I have guess you shouldn't make promises you can't keep, <a href=http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1935698,00.html>and an article that basically sums up the whole ordeal.

And I'm hardly the <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96024-Zynga-CEO-Admits-to-Being-a-Scammer>first to <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96310-Zynga-Sued-Over-Deceptive-Advertising>link to stories on Zynga's scam-filled background. Even the <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_228/6787-An-Offer-You-Cant-Refuse.2>stories about how much 'fun' a Zynga game is can't stay away from the scamming nature of the company.

How long before you find other slimy companies to praise?

You have to understand that the individuals who hate Zynga because "they make crappy games" are largely idiots. The majority of us hate Zynga because they have done everything in their power to cheat users out of their money, shortly before lying about it.

I still can't believe I read that the discussion "isn't about its ethical practices."

That's the only discussion we should be having. The only discussion that matters.
 

JEBWrench

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Apr 23, 2009
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RvLeshrac said:
Zynga is not "relevant to the industry."
The gaming industry disagrees with you, what the awards and the speaking at major conferences, and the working with the government to use gaming as a vehicle to promote healthier living in youth.
 

Eldarion

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JEBWrench said:
RvLeshrac said:
Zynga is not "relevant to the industry."
The gaming industry disagrees with you, what the awards and the speaking at major conferences, and the working with the government to use gaming as a vehicle to promote healthier living in youth.
Healthier living at the expense of what comes with Zynga? We don't want the rest of the games industry learning to be a bunch of spyware using, add spamming, game stealing morons. The games industry has nothing to learn from Zynga other than facebook apps and dirty business practices earn cheap success.

And being addicted to Farmville isn't exactly healthy, neither is being addicted to facebook which is all this is, a facebook fad. Nothing more.
 

JEBWrench

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Dark Templar said:
Healthier living at the expense of what comes with Zynga? We don't want the rest of the games industry learning to be a bunch of spyware using, add spamming, game stealing morons. The games industry has nothing to learn from Zynga other than facebook apps and dirty business practices earn cheap success.

And being addicted to Farmville isn't exactly healthy, neither is being addicted to facebook which is all this is, a facebook fad. Nothing more.
A fad with 83,000,000 MAUs and around 30,000,000 DAUs.

And I have no idea what exactly they're planning on doing, and I doubt it will be anything halfways decent. But that's not the point. The point is Zynga is extremely relevant to the industry.

People who want to use the self-imposed label of "gamer" to justify their being introverted not liking that relevance are just deluding themselves to just how massively popular Zynga's games are.
 

Eldarion

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JEBWrench said:
Dark Templar said:
Healthier living at the expense of what comes with Zynga? We don't want the rest of the games industry learning to be a bunch of spyware using, add spamming, game stealing morons. The games industry has nothing to learn from Zynga other than facebook apps and dirty business practices earn cheap success.

And being addicted to Farmville isn't exactly healthy, neither is being addicted to facebook which is all this is, a facebook fad. Nothing more.
A fad with 83,000,000 MAUs and around 30,000,000 DAUs.

And I have no idea what exactly they're planning on doing, and I doubt it will be anything halfways decent. But that's not the point. The point is Zynga is extremely relevant to the industry.

People who want to use the self-imposed label of "gamer" to justify their being introverted not liking that relevance are just deluding themselves to just how massively popular Zynga's games are.
That massive popularity doesn't automatically mean that the rise of Zynga is a good thing either. Plenty of mediocre crap has been hugely popular for a short time before. Like I said before, if real developers follow the Zynga example the industry as a whole will suffer. And for what? Popularity? Money? You cane make tons of money on a fad on facebook, thats all I see this doing.
 

JEBWrench

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Dark Templar said:
That massive popularity doesn't automatically mean that the rise of Zynga is a good thing either. Plenty of mediocre crap has been hugely popular for a short time before. Like I said before, if real developers follow the Zynga example the industry as a whole will suffer. And for what? Popularity? Money? You cane make tons of money on a fad on facebook, thats all I see this doing.
I don't think I said anything about it being good. Just relevant.

I don't doubt for a minute that "real developers" (EA comes to mind, since they, you know, did) would be interested in the Zynga example. For popularity and money. The thing the entertainment businesses want. Especially money.
 

Eldarion

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Sep 30, 2009
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RvLeshrac said:
Zynga is not "relevant to the industry." Unless, of course, you're talking about the industry that revolves around Affiliate programs who try as hard as they can to scam people.

Do I have a problem with games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, et al? No, I don't. I still have Drug Wars on my calculator. ALL of my calculators. For two decades now, I've had version of Drug Wars on *some* device I own. I've had a Harvest Moon game on the majority of my consoles. I have a L14 Kongregate account, so I obviously have no issues with flash games. I don't get upset about PopCap's existence. I don't have a problem with Big Fish, or the Casual Game Portals out there (that is to say, the ones which don't resort to the same scam-ridden Affiliate programs as Zynga).

Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt gaming. Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt the *legitimate* Affiliate programs. Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt social networking. Why? Because the company is run by a scammer. This would normally be a statement I'd have to back up with some conspiracy theorist's nonsense about how Zynga stole his cat, but I don't. Why? Because I have guess you shouldn't make promises you can't keep, <a href=http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1935698,00.html>and an article that basically sums up the whole ordeal.

And I'm hardly the <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96024-Zynga-CEO-Admits-to-Being-a-Scammer>first to <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96310-Zynga-Sued-Over-Deceptive-Advertising>link to stories on Zynga's scam-filled background. Even the <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_228/6787-An-Offer-You-Cant-Refuse.2>stories about how much 'fun' a Zynga game is can't stay away from the scamming nature of the company.

How long before you find other slimy companies to praise?

You have to understand that the individuals who hate Zynga because "they make crappy games" are largely idiots. The majority of us hate Zynga because they have done everything in their power to cheat users out of their money, shortly before lying about it.

I still can't believe I read that the discussion "isn't about its ethical practices."

That's the only discussion we should be having. The only discussion that matters.
Also this. Basically what I was saying.

I play harvest moon myself quite a bit. Casual games aren't the issue, Znyga's douchbaggery is.
 

Eldarion

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JEBWrench said:
Dark Templar said:
That massive popularity doesn't automatically mean that the rise of Zynga is a good thing either. Plenty of mediocre crap has been hugely popular for a short time before. Like I said before, if real developers follow the Zynga example the industry as a whole will suffer. And for what? Popularity? Money? You cane make tons of money on a fad on facebook, thats all I see this doing.
I don't think I said anything about it being good. Just relevant.

I don't doubt for a minute that "real developers" (EA comes to mind, since they, you know, did) would be interested in the Zynga example. For popularity and money. The thing the entertainment businesses want. Especially money.
I'm not gonna disagree with you there. In fact I agree wholeheartedly.

I do not for one second though, thing the rise of Zynga is the rise of a new casual gamer or some such nonsense. I also don't think the industry should be praising them for one second and I completely disagree with the article when It says Zynga's scamming should not be part of the picture and that we should focus on their success. Thats bullcrap. The only discussion worth having is about how Zynga scammed and spammed their way into becoming a facebook phenomenon.
 

JEBWrench

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Dark Templar said:
I'm not gonna disagree with you there. In fact I agree wholeheartedly.

I do not for one second though, thing the rise of Zynga is the rise of a new casual gamer or some such nonsense. I also don't think the industry should be praising them for one second and I completely disagree with the article when It says Zynga's scamming should not be part of the picture and that we should focus on their success. Thats bullcrap. The only discussion worth having is about how Zynga scammed and spammed their way into becoming a facebook phenomenon.
I think, though, that it's pretty evident that Zynga's success has had a large impact on the industry. It's not just that they did it using underhanded tactics. It's that they did it so freakin' fast that's gotten so much attention.

Remember, Farmville launched in summer of last year.

83,000,000 MTUs in less than a year.

That's why the industry has taken notice. That's why Zynga nabbed another EA developer. That's why Nintendo is getting into Social Gaming. That's why Zynga sells gaming currency cards in 12,000 stores in the US alone.
 

Eldarion

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JEBWrench said:
Dark Templar said:
I'm not gonna disagree with you there. In fact I agree wholeheartedly.

I do not for one second though, thing the rise of Zynga is the rise of a new casual gamer or some such nonsense. I also don't think the industry should be praising them for one second and I completely disagree with the article when It says Zynga's scamming should not be part of the picture and that we should focus on their success. Thats bullcrap. The only discussion worth having is about how Zynga scammed and spammed their way into becoming a facebook phenomenon.
I think, though, that it's pretty evident that Zynga's success has had a large impact on the industry. It's not just that they did it using underhanded tactics. It's that they did it so freakin' fast that's gotten so much attention.

Remember, Farmville launched in summer of last year.

83,000,000 MTUs in less than a year.

That's why the industry has taken notice. That's why Zynga nabbed another EA developer. That's why Nintendo is getting into Social Gaming. That's why Zynga sells gaming currency cards in 12,000 stores in the US alone.
I know, that success is worrying to say the least. The underhanded tactics aside, this rampant growth is pretty astonishing. But thats the power of social networking sites, on its own merits Zynga would never have survived doing what it is doing. Lets not forget that the games themselves are designed so that you need to come back to them to replant crops or whatever, this is done so that people have to come back and see the adds thus generating site revenue. The games BY THESELVES are just a money making scam that taps into the social networking people who are already addicted to facebook and giving them something addictive, simple and mindless to do while browsing facebook. This is not a model of business we want the games industry learning from or much less *shudders* giving awards to.
 

sageoftruth

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I'm not too peeved about the lack of play elements in Farmville (I'm already desensitized from all the Wii and DS games on the game shelves). What really peeved me was when I read that the game punishes you for NOT playing it. Games are supposed to be fun. You're not supposed to go, "Oh shoot! If I don't get back to Farmville soon things could get bad!" That's called a job.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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sageoftruth said:
I'm not too peeved about the lack of play elements in Farmville (I'm already desensitized from all the Wii and DS games on the game shelves). What really peeved me was when I read that the game punishes you for NOT playing it. Games are supposed to be fun. You're not supposed to go, "Oh shoot! If I don't get back to Farmville soon things could get bad!" That's called a job.
Same thing happens in Animal Crossing and Nintendogs. Of course calling it "punishment" is a bit excessive. If you don't tend your crops, they did. Big whoop, plant some more.
 

RvLeshrac

This is a Forum Title.
Oct 2, 2008
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JEBWrench said:
I think, though, that it's pretty evident that Zynga's success has had a large impact on the industry. It's not just that they did it using underhanded tactics. It's that they did it so freakin' fast that's gotten so much attention.

Remember, Farmville launched in summer of last year.

83,000,000 MTUs in less than a year.

That's why the industry has taken notice. That's why Zynga nabbed another EA developer. That's why Nintendo is getting into Social Gaming. That's why Zynga sells gaming currency cards in 12,000 stores in the US alone.
Saying that Zynga has had an impact on the gaming industry is like saying Madoff had an impact on the financial industry. This is true. But I was talking about *relevance*.

The goal is to make Madoff irrelevant, because his tactics, like Zynga's, do nothing but harm, and are far outside the realm of normal, ethical business practices. Neither of them has any place at the table. Neither of them is relevant to their respective discussions.

You keep mentioning the number of units they sold. I can scam the holy hell out of people and sell twice as many units of essentially ANYTHING - that's the way Amway has worked for decades. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the company or their products have any relevance.
 

Delusibeta

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Mar 7, 2010
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Relevant to this subject, there was a recent "lunch" about this, of which the BBC [http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/04/lunching_with_gaming_luminarie.html] blogged a report about. Thankfully, the "social" game developer in question is Playfish. And now, a bunch of quotes from that article.
[Playfish's co-founder Kristian Segerstrale] also noted that of Facebook's 400m monthly users, around 200m play social games.
That figure astounded fellow lunchers - and none more than Dave Perry [Shiny Entertainment founder], who has been in the business for more than 25 years and who started when he was 15. "The shocking thing for me," he said, "is that some of the social games just aren't that good, yet they still get a lot of play."

"We didn't see that thing coming. It had to come from an outsider who has a different vision. Change usually comes from the outside. It's hard to change from within. It's an entrenched business. We are not a mature business," said Mr [Warren] Spector who has worked on blockbusters like Deus Ex and Ultima.

He said he tried "frictionless" games five or six years ago but was more or less stymied from the start. "Everybody I talked to said 'Why do that? Do what people expect. They would rather give you more money for this triple-A game.'"
________________________
Mr Spector turned philosopher, asking: "There is lots of talk about audiences, but does art and creativity enter into that? Is it all about reaching an audience, which sounds vaguely evil to me."

Mr Segerstrale admitted that metrics about users and how they approach games can be useful but don't take away from the need to have a good compelling game. "More than anything, the cool thing about data is it validates design. You do still need the creative vision as well."

Gary Whitta, the host for this "luminaries lunch", quipped: "You don't need a game designer, they will only argue with you."

He went on: "You already have the formula. That is why you see so many of the same games - it's a fish game that's doing well, so let's have another fish game. You have to win the analytics war."

For Mr Spector, that was anathema. "I will retire before I have to make a game based on analytics or market share. I will go open a bookstore. Sales are not the only thing that matter. If I got data that said one thing and I believed in my heart of hearts in another, I would screw the data and ignore it," declared Mr Spector.

Mr Whitta then went on to point out that "gaming is a combination of technology and art. Game design concepts have become more sophisticated - and with social gaming, it seems like we have rebooted everything. We are back to very very remedial game concepts."

Mr Segerstrale generally agreed with that. "These products iterate really quickly. Pet Society today after 100 iterations has fewer buttons than when it started. They are iterating to become more simple."
_____________________________
Mr Spector said what worried him is the headlong rush to use motion controllers popularised by the Wii, and including Sony's Move and Microsoft's efforts to get rid of the console altogether with its Project Natal. [Spot the error on the BBC's part]

"I think it's kind of weird... that we've sort of said, 'We've got 20, 30 years of people learning how to do this - sitting on their couch and having a good time, and knowing where the buttons are' - and we're saying 'You've got to stand up and wave around and gesture,'" Mr Spector mused. "We're in the process of throwing away people - kids, adults - who know this stuff."

It's not that Mr Spector hates motion controls, because he admitted he has a vested interest. "I'm working on a Wii title and I'm loving it."

If Zynga and the like becomes the new major publishers, I will go to Warren Spector's book shop and buy books from him.
 

RvLeshrac

This is a Forum Title.
Oct 2, 2008
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Delusibeta said:
Relevant to this subject, there was a recent "lunch" about this, of which the BBC [http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/04/lunching_with_gaming_luminarie.html] blogged a report about. Thankfully, the "social" game developer in question is Playfish. And now, a bunch of quotes from that article.

*snip*

If Zynga and the like becomes the new major publishers, I will go to Warren Spector's book shop and buy books from him.
Glad to see that the BBC chose a worthwhile social gaming mascot. One who brings legitimate ideas to the gaming industry. We need more Playfish/Armor Games/etc, and much less Zynga.

The gaming press needs to hold them up as the standard, and push Zynga to the back of the bus.

Or off it, either way.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
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RvLeshrac said:
Zynga is not "relevant to the industry." Unless, of course, you're talking about the industry that revolves around Affiliate programs who try as hard as they can to scam people.

Do I have a problem with games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, et al? No, I don't. I still have Drug Wars on my calculator. ALL of my calculators. For two decades now, I've had version of Drug Wars on *some* device I own. I've had a Harvest Moon game on the majority of my consoles. I have a L14 Kongregate account, so I obviously have no issues with flash games. I don't get upset about PopCap's existence. I don't have a problem with Big Fish, or the Casual Game Portals out there (that is to say, the ones which don't resort to the same scam-ridden Affiliate programs as Zynga).

Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt gaming. Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt the *legitimate* Affiliate programs. Zynga, and the companies like them, hurt social networking. Why? Because the company is run by a scammer. This would normally be a statement I'd have to back up with some conspiracy theorist's nonsense about how Zynga stole his cat, but I don't. Why? Because I have guess you shouldn't make promises you can't keep, <a href=http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1935698,00.html>and an article that basically sums up the whole ordeal.

And I'm hardly the <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96024-Zynga-CEO-Admits-to-Being-a-Scammer>first to <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96310-Zynga-Sued-Over-Deceptive-Advertising>link to stories on Zynga's scam-filled background. Even the <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_228/6787-An-Offer-You-Cant-Refuse.2>stories about how much 'fun' a Zynga game is can't stay away from the scamming nature of the company.

How long before you find other slimy companies to praise?

You have to understand that the individuals who hate Zynga because "they make crappy games" are largely idiots. The majority of us hate Zynga because they have done everything in their power to cheat users out of their money, shortly before lying about it.

I still can't believe I read that the discussion "isn't about its ethical practices."

That's the only discussion we should be having. The only discussion that matters.
If it makes you feel any better, replace every instance of "Zynga" or "FarmVille" in that article with "Playfish" and "Playfish-developed-game of your choice."

Zynga is merely one example of the LARGER issue, which is social gaming being here to stay. Zynga is horribly shady, I hate its practices, but that doesn't mean I don't think that social gaming is newsworthy.
 

BlindMessiah94

The 94th Blind Messiah
Nov 12, 2009
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Great article JF.

I am a bit tired of people complaining about things they don't like and being elitist. I hate farmville to but I understand why its popular. There is no sense bitching about it constantly. I just choose not to play it.
 

Chris Dmytrow

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Apr 2, 2010
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So first Funk gets addicted World of Warcraft, now Farmville. The connection here is obvious.

Face it. You're not a real gamer and haven't been for years.
 

BlindMessiah94

The 94th Blind Messiah
Nov 12, 2009
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Chris Dmytrow said:
BlindMessiah94 said:
Great article JF.

I am a bit tired of people complaining about things they don't like and being elitist. I hate farmville to but I understand why its popular. There is no sense bitching about it constantly. I just choose not to play it.
It's popular because it's dumbed down just enough so that women can understand it. It's just like Slingo, The Sims, and even Twitter/Facebook. Eventually, those women get bored and all move on to something else. None of that garbage stays relevant among intelligent people for very long.
Yes, like I said, understand that. But how does complaining about it change anything? In the end of the day, they have millions of players and make millions of dollars. It's the same thing with Twilight and every other trend out there. Of course they are not meant to last. But Funk is right, social gaming is here to stay. Farmville will be a footnote eventually, but social gaming won't be.
Them cashing in on these people makes them no worse than any other trend of media be it top 40 copy paste music or cheasy tabloid paparazzi news. It's all the same pile.
Which I why I just avoid it. Stuff like that will always be existent in any form of media.
 

Chris Dmytrow

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Apr 2, 2010
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Did I say I was complaining about it? My only legit complaint with social gaming is how it's a massive pyramid scheme. Other than that, knock yourself out if you're having fun with it and stick with the free stuff.
 

RvLeshrac

This is a Forum Title.
Oct 2, 2008
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John Funk said:
If it makes you feel any better, replace every instance of "Zynga" or "FarmVille" in that article with "Playfish" and "Playfish-developed-game of your choice."

Zynga is merely one example of the LARGER issue, which is social gaming being here to stay. Zynga is horribly shady, I hate its practices, but that doesn't mean I don't think that social gaming is newsworthy.
I'd prefer they be replaced in the actual articles.

I think that social gaming is newsworthy, too. I don't think Zynga is anything even remotely approaching an accurate or even halfway decent representative of social gaming as a whole. Using "Zynga" as a proxy for social gaming actually damages it.
 

JEBWrench

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RvLeshrac said:
You keep mentioning the number of units they sold. I can scam the holy hell out of people and sell twice as many units of essentially ANYTHING - that's the way Amway has worked for decades. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the company or their products have any relevance.
I am too. I'm talking about Zynga from a standpoint of relevance in the gaming industry. Which the entire industry is being turned upside down by it. To say that the largest player in that field - Zynga - is irrelevant, is akin to saying the iPhone is irrelevant to the smartphone market because you don't like their practices in selecting apps.

Mark Pincus is a jerkwad. Yes. I understand that completely. But he's a jerkwad being taken seriously by the industry. Because he found something and made it work.
 

LordZ

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Jan 16, 2010
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John Funk said:
A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

You may not like FarmVille, Facebook, or Twitter, but guess what? They're here to stay.

Read Full Article
Hello Pot, meet Kettle.

You made an entire news post to ***** about bitching. If anything fails to be newsworthy it's topics like this. Bitching about bitching always just leads to more bitching about bitching. You aren't the first and probably wont be the last to make a news post on this site that boils down to being this exact same topic.

While I'm sure news about Farmville is relevant to casual gamers, I have to wonder how much of your audience finds it relevant.

By the way, I hear feeding the trolls is good for page views. Any comment on that?
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
20,364
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0
LordZ said:
John Funk said:
A View From the Road: FarmVille Isn't Going Away

You may not like FarmVille, Facebook, or Twitter, but guess what? They're here to stay.

Read Full Article
Hello Pot, meet Kettle.

You made an entire news post to ***** about bitching. If anything fails to be newsworthy it's topics like this. Bitching about bitching always just leads to more bitching about bitching. You aren't the first and probably wont be the last to make a news post on this site that boils down to being this exact same topic.

While I'm sure news about Farmville is relevant to casual gamers, I have to wonder how much of your audience finds it relevant.

By the way, I hear feeding the trolls is good for page views. Any comment on that?
You do understand the difference between a news post and an Op-Ed column, yes?
 

Shadow_Kid

New member
Jan 5, 2009
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Is it wierd that I hear Jon Funk, and Matt's voices everytime I read their comments?

Anyway, "they" want to learn why such a stupid game was so successfull so that it never ever happens agian

and the best example of a social game is THE GAME (that's right you just all lost)
 

rees263

The Lone Wanderer
Jun 4, 2009
517
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0
John Funk said:
Mantonio said:
I have / had an entire family of non gamers. And they can work out how a controller works just fine.

Despite what you may preach, it isn't rocket science.
Understanding what the controller does is one thing. I remember trying to get my dad to play Smash Brothers with us back in the day, and we could always explain to him the buttons and how to do everything. But actually USING it is something entirely different. How many times have you seen a non-gamer play a shooter and just walk around looking at the floor? Maybe the odd non-gamer will be able to figure it out, but for a lot of people it's a huge barrier.

You can try to argue otherwise, but it's part of the reason the Wii has been so successful, and why Sony and Microsoft are going their own alternative-controller routes. My dad might not know how to hit B-down-push the stick to the side to control angle or whatever, but he sure as hell knows to act like he's swinging a golf club.
Smash Bros seems like quite a high entry level to me (even if it is considered simple for a fighting game). I know some people who have had trouble picking up Sonic the Hedgehog. This is the 2D ones wh