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Zynga Investment May Herald Google Games

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the getting-off-on-the-wrong-foot dept.

Google 186

A post at TechCrunch claims knowledge of large investments from Google into social game company Zynga, makers of FarmVille and Mafia Wars. The amount of money involved is not small — somewhere in the $100-200 million range — and could facilitate Google's expansion into the games market. Quoting: "The investment was made by Google itself, not Google Ventures, say our sources, and it's a highly strategic deal. Zynga will be the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year, say multiple sources. Not only will Zynga's games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games. And I wouldn't be surprised to see PayPal being replaced with Google Checkout as the primary payment option. Zynga is supposedly PayPal's biggest single customer, and Google is always looking for ways to make Google Checkout relevant."

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186 comments

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Relevant. (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866510)

Personally, I'm always looking for ways to make Paypal less relevant.

Re:Relevant. (4, Interesting)

SquarePixel (1851068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866548)

Personally, I'm always looking for ways to make Paypal less relevant.

The funny thing is, PayPal is mostly just relevant in the US and other western countries. Other countries have better online systems with full encyption, added security and several ways to use their system, and people happily use these to pay their phone and tv bills and everything else. You can also top up your account by buying one of the several coupons from the kiosk near you.

It's actually quite funny how US people put up with PayPal and their shitty and insecure system.

Re:Relevant. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866840)

It's actually quite funny how US people put up with PayPal and their shitty and insecure system.

It's actually quite funny what people in other parts of the world put up with that we do not. However, in Paypal's case I think it's more a matter of ineffective regulation than anything else.

Re:Relevant. (1)

moreati (119629) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867166)

Well lets make them more relevant :). What are the names of some please?

Re:Relevant. (1)

hey (83763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867352)

Do you have any examples or URLs?
Maybe us Westerners can use something else.

Re:Relevant. (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868322)

what URLs? every bank has online transactions, money are transferred few times a day/immediatelly (depends on the bank/system). Online Banking is free and dead simple.

Re:Relevant. (4, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866566)

Right now some of us in California are looking for ways to make Meg Whitman less relevant.

Re:Relevant. (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867888)

Many of us are wishing California was less relevant.

zynga poker android (1)

airwedge1 (1768544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866534)

Maybe they'll release a zynga poker app for android. I've been wanting that for awhile now.

I can see it now... (4, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866550)

[Google Search] World of Warcraft

Did you mean: World of Googlecraft?

Re:I can see it now... (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868224)

And nothing of value was lost.

Crap Flash Games (4, Interesting)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866564)

This is more likely to herald the entrance of Google into crap, very buggy flash games with unsubtle ways to get children to bug their parents to pay for very expensive pixels to put in their crap flash game.

Re:Crap Flash Games (4, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866634)

I'm rather surprised Google would invest in Zynga, considering their reputation for working with spyware, scam deal sites, personal information harvesters, and other things that Google would warn you about if you clicked on them in Chrome.

Not that it matters much, but this actually tarnishes my opinion of Google a bit.

Re:Crap Flash Games (2, Interesting)

Aliotroph (1297659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866676)

Perhaps they took that into account, thinking they might clean that up a bit while they go along. It would make no sense at all for most businesses to do something like that, but Google makes strange business decisions.

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866928)

Maybe Google sees a little kernel of something good in Zygna and wants to rescue it from Facebook. It's interesting and possibly refreshing to see Google look like they might take something away from Facebook. Though it does seem a bit like Google striving to be more like Facebook.

Re:Crap Flash Games (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867060)

The terms of use are also very slimy [zynga.com]

You waive your right to sue, to join others in a class action or other collective lawsuit, to filing an injunction,

Their privacy policy also sucks [zynga.com] - remember how facebook leaks your personal data - zynga admits it:

. We may offer you the opportunity to submit other information about yourself (such as gender, age, occupation, hobbies, interests, zip code, etc.), or we may be able to collect that information from social networking systems on which you have used Zynga Games or SNS Apps ...

We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services, Zynga games and other users of Zynga, to supplement your profile.

Yes, zynga is a spyware business.

Re:Crap Flash Games (2, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867126)

Well being as how they publicly admit to do everything awful in the universe to make a buck and stay afloat I'm not surprised.

To the guys credit he was pretty much right on. The people who would read the article and actually worry are the ones they were not targeting. Basically, any informed viewer of their applications they knew they were already going to make less on.

He was also a bit prophetic and wagered that the scum bugs would be pushed out of the business as it legitimized. It's a bit like a wave in that the gray area guys can occasionally rise up as they follow the tide of rising popularity.

Still, what he said made me understand that nothing good come from associating with them. I made sure never to use another zynga game again. To be on the safe side I'll probably avoid google's variants as well.

Re:Crap Flash Games (0)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867130)

Facebook has more traffic than Google, and part of that is because of Zynga games. They are insanely popular. If Google wants to start up a Facebook-killer, then it would help if they can tell people that they can ditch Facebook, and continue their accounts in Zynga games on their service.

Re:Crap Flash Games (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867228)

Facebook has more traffic than Google

Absolute rubbish! How about backing it up with some research [pixelvulture.com] ? FB is a mere blip on google's traffic, let alone aggregating google's sites.

Re:Crap Flash Games (0)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867250)

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867550)

New data released from analytics service Hitwise today names Facebook the largest website in the U.S. with 7.07% of all U.S. visits.

Facebook doesn't have more traffic than Google.

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

WitnessForTheOffense (1669778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867662)

So apparently you didn't RTFA to which you posted a link. The comments explain that the results were merely domain vs domain and didn't take into account Google's other domains and services. It was strictly traffic to google.com and facebook.com. YouTube (owned by Google) was left out from Google's stats, as well as every other domain Google runs. Damn lies != proof.

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868494)

How is a factually true statement a lie?

No, those are considered other sites. When people count eBay's traffic, they don't include PayPal, BillMeLater, Skype, StubHub, etc.

Ford has been claiming in all their ads for years that they have the best selling truck on the planet. Right now, since Ford is up and Chevy is in the toilet, that is technically true. But for years and years, it wasn't. GM splits their truck sales under the Chevy and GM brands. Combined, GM sold more trucks than Ford. But GM isn't considered a nameplate for one brand. So Ford could claim they were the best selling truck company, and GM could claim the same thing at the same time.

And if you want to get *really* technical, Microsoft is a partial owner of Facebook. I believe the majority if Facebook stuck is privately owned, but they are the largest company who owns Facebook stock.

So if you lumped in Facebook with every domain that Microsoft owns (Hotmail, Live, Bing, etc.) I'm sure Microsoft/Facebook would come out on top.

So when it comes to damned lies, you're the one who doesn't want to compare apples to apples.

Re:Crap Flash Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867358)

I'm rather surprised Google would invest in Zynga, considering their reputation for working with spyware, scam deal sites, personal information harvesters, and other things that Google would warn you about if you clicked on them in Chrome.

You answered your own question.

Re:Crap Flash Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32868050)

I'm not at all surprised, remember that DoubleClick is part of Google. It's not beyond the possibility of being able to play both sides with one side being concerned about the spyware, personal information sharing, etc. while the other side couldn't care less.

Re:Crap Flash Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32866664)

This is a space where I'm baffled by Google not wanting to simply compete rather than buy into an existing product. Zynga's games are not exactly difficult to write, or particularly well-done; and just like myspace, facebook, et al, customer loyalty is close to nil. Perhaps this comes from Google's hiring practices, that they lack the ability to take on projects with even very modest artistic requirements. Also, I'd say partnering with Zynga comes very close to doing evil, as Zynga are pretty scummy (in the facebook sense).

Re:Crap Flash Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32866892)

Google has (and could hire more) artists. If you take an honest look at google; they're good at search, they're good at adwords, GMail is popular (but less so than hotmail or yahoo mail), and that's it. Everything else is a failure or an acquisition (sometimes to replace their previous failure).

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867572)

GMail is popular (but less so than hotmail or yahoo mail)

Probably, but is that true in new users per month? Both Hotmail and Yahoo exist longer than GMail, and email is one of the internet services with the largest cost to switch (changing the address you gave to so many people through the years).

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868130)

That's not much of an excuse. I have Yahoo! mail and Hotmail accounts, and I tied them into my Gmail. Now I only have to check one account, and I can send emails out through my old addresses from the Gmail interface. It's not very difficult to setup either (Settings -> Accounts and Import).

You get all the benefits of Gmail (lots of storage, excellent spam filtering) but you can keep using your old addresses. :)

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867252)

... or maybe they saw it as "Crap Flesh Games" and figured "here's something to get the nerds on board - and motivate people to work long hours.

... they could have two brands: Google Games for the PG-rated stuff, and Zynga for all the rest. It's not like Zynga can get a worse reputation than it already has.

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

Beale (676138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866686)

It's okay that they'll be buggy, though, since they'll just be beta versions.

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866992)

given how google's been pushing html5 recently...it could be a possible transition to html5 games.

Re:Crap Flash Games (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867124)

Ill go one step further and predict if they stick with this path, it will be their eventual undoing.

Another Yahoo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32866596)

All the stuff that Google is buying and doing sounds eerily familiar to what Yahoo and failed at doing (make an "everything web portal"). Has anyone been able to pull this off and make money?

I know Google is sitting pretty right now, but, as a business person, it's concerning when a company is moving into so many different markets in a few years. Obviously they have some very smart folks there, so maybe it's just me.

-Good luck!

Re:Another Yahoo? (3, Interesting)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866718)

Yahoo!'s (and most of the other search engines) problems was, that they tried to promote most of the auxiliary services through the main site. Though Yahoo! isn't exactly loosing, they just did not get the majority of the search market, but for instance in Japan they are highly popular.. they are also the forth most visited site on the Internet [alexa.com] , I wouldn't call that exactly loosing.

Google is doing a lot of stuff too, but most of it is standing alone (i.e. youtube) and is self-promoting.

They could clean up the start page a bit (or at least make it more customizable), but generally they are doing search + ads as primary business and the other stuff is loosely connected.

As for checkout.. well, PayPal was the first major popular global Internet payment option, but they are causing a lot of grief lately and will loose importance.

What will succeed them? My best bet is Amazon Payments [amazon.com] , as they have attractive payment conditions (the nearest I have seen so far to micro-payments) and they have an established customer base with access to bank account data and _some_ trust of the users.

Google has no business where people regularly spend money from their account. They will have a hard time to make people set up payment account on their site, but it's not impossible.

Re:Another Yahoo? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867598)

They could clean up the start page a bit (or at least make it more customizable)

Google.com is very clean, especially until you move your mouse. And they have a customizable start page, it's called iGoogle. I don't use it, though.

Re:Another Yahoo? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32868044)

Though Yahoo! isn't exactly loosing

How many times does this error need to be pointed out? The word is "losing" as in "you are a loser because you're losing". "Loosing" is the opposite of "tightening".

Here's a handy guide for those who are new to the English language:

  • "loose" rhymes with "goose"
  • "lose" rhymes with "choose"

I hope that makes things 100% clear.

An old adage comes to mind (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867448)

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

If Apple did it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32866606)

You would all be Heiling the Steve for making the best Apps ever and paying $99.99 a month for it.

stay classy google (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866610)

With Zyngas past indiscretions I am surprised that Google partnered with them.

How I Learned to Start Thinking and Hate the Jews (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32866614)

There are two types of people in the world: people who think there are two types of people in the world and people who don’t. I’m among the first type and I think the world is divided into people who recognize the Jewish problem and people who don’t.

In other words, the world is divided into smart people and dumb people. If you’ve got an IQ of 80, have difficulty operating a can-opener, and recognize the Jewish problem, you’re smart. If you’ve got an IQ of 180, have already won a couple of Nobel Prizes, and don’t recognize the Jewish problem, you’re dumb.

I’ve been dumb for most of my life: it took me a long time to recognize the Jewish problem. I didn’t think for myself, I just accepted the propaganda and conformed to the consensus. Jews are good people. Only bad people criticize Jews. Jews good. Anti-Semites bad. But then, very slowly, I started to see the light.

Recognizing Jewish hypocrisy was the first big step. I was reading an article by someone called Rabbi Julia Neuberger, a prominent British liberal. I didn’t like liberals then, so I didn’t like her for that (and because her voice and manner had always grated on me), but her Jewishness wasn’t something I particularly noticed. But as I read the article I came across something that didn’t strike me as very liberal: she expressed concern about Jews marrying Gentiles, because this threatened the survival of the Jewish people.

That made me sit up and think. Hold on, I thought, I know this woman sits on all sorts of “multi-cultural” committees and is constantly being invited onto TV and radio to yap about the joys of diversity and the evils of racism. She’s all in favor of mass immigration and there’s no way she’s worried about Whites marrying non-Whites, because “Race is Just a Social Construct” and “We’re All the Same Under the Skin”. She’s a liberal and she thinks that race-mixing is good and healthy and Holy. Yet this same woman is worried about Jews marrying Gentiles. Small contradiction there, n'est ce-pas?

Well, no. Big contradiction. She obviously didn’t apply the same rules to everyone else as she applied to her own people, the Jews. She was, in short, a hypocrite. But not just that – she was a Jewish hypocrite. And that’s a big step for a brainwashed White to take: not just thinking in a negative way about a Jew, but thinking in a negative way about a Jew because of her Jewishness.

After that, I slowly started to see the world in a different way. Or to be more precise: I started to see the world. I started to see what had always been there: the massive over-representation of Jews in politics and the media. And I started to notice that a lot of those Jews – like Rabbi Julia Neuberger, in fact – gave me the creeps. There was something slimy and oily and flesh-crawling about them. And it wasn’t just me, either: other Gentiles seemed to feel it too.

Politicians often attract nicknames based on some outstanding aspect of their character or behavior. Margaret Thatcher was “The Iron Lady”. Ronald Reagan was “Teflon Ron”. Bill Clinton was “Slick Willy”. But these are Gentile politicians and their nicknames are at least half-affectionate. Jewish politicians seem to attract a different kind of nickname. In Britain, Gerald Kaufman, bald, homosexual Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton, is nicknamed “Hannibal Lecter”. Peter Mandelson, now Britain’s Euro-Commissioner and Tony Blair’s suspected former lover, is “The Prince of Darkness”. Michael Howard (né Hecht), the leader of the British Conservative Party, is “Dracula”.

When I noticed this kind of thing, I started to ask questions. What was going on here? Why did Jews attract nicknames like that? And why had Gentiles reacted to them like that not just now, but a long way into the past? Shakespeare seems to have felt the same kind of repulsion when he created the vengeful lawyer Shylock, and Dickens when he created the parasitic master-thief Fagin. Classic “anti-Semitic” stereotypes, but I knew that stereotypes aren’t always wrong. If anti-Semitic stereotypes aren’t always wrong, then there’s an obvious conclusion: neither is anti-Semitism. Gentiles are sometimes right to dislike and distrust Jews.

After all, at the same time I was noticing something else: the massive over-representation of Jews, not just among politicians and journalists, but among crooked businessmen too. In fact, among very, very crooked businessmen, the ones responsible for really big frauds at Gentile expense. Men like Robert Maxwell (né Hoch), Ivan “Greed is Good” Boesky, and Michael Milken. And, on a slightly lesser scale, Ernest Saunders, who finagled an early release from prison because he was coming down with Alzheimer’s, that well-known incurable brain disease from which no-one ever recovers. Only Saunders managed to confound medical science and recover from it.

Slimy. Hypocritical. Crooked. In a word: Jewish. But I didn’t take the final step, the step to full recognition of the Jewish problem, until I watched the reaction to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. I’m not a Christian and I have little sympathy with modern Christianity, but I had a lot of sympathy for Mel Gibson as I watched the hysterical campaign against him. The hysterical, well-organized, international campaign by the slimy, hypocritical, crooked Jew Abe Foxman, Head of the Anti-Defamation League, and his fellow slimy, hypocritical, crooked Jews around the world. They didn’t like something and they were moving heaven and earth to get it stopped.

And what was it they didn’t like? A movie about an event at the heart of European art, literature, and culture: the crucifixion of Christ. So here was another obvious conclusion: Jews hate European art, literature, and culture. In other words, Jews hate White civilization and the White race who created it.

After that, it all fell into place. I finally recognized that Jews weren’t just slimy, hypocritical, and crooked, but actively dangerous too. If I thought of something harmful to White civilization and the survival of the White race – mass immigration, feminism, multi-culturalism, anti-racism, gay rights – I realized that Jews were behind it, were promoting it through their control of the media, and had been doing so for decades.

Finally, I had seen the light. Finally, I had gotten smart and recognized the Jewish problem, the problem that even dumb Gentiles subconsciously recognize when they give nicknames like “Hannibal Lecter” and “Prince of Darkness” and “Dracula” to Jewish politicians. Jews really do want to eat us, and steal our souls, and suck our blood, and it’s about time we started firing a few silver bullets.

$200 million? (5, Funny)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866642)

Wow, how many experience points did they get for that!

Paypal sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32866644)

Paypal is the biggest ripoff ever to exist .... Insane fee scammers.

Re:Paypal sucks (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867046)

I wouldn't say that. Personally I do try to stay away from them wherever possible, but it's not because of the fees. Anytime you use credit or debit, the processor gets a chunk of the transaction to pay for the service. What's really nice about Paypal is that there's some choice as to who pays it. But on the flip side, there's a lot of behaviors which are obnoxious to say the least. Like freezing money in accounts for random reasons and refusing to give it back.

Google Android tie in (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866702)

I can't wait for the pointless shit games to hit the Android market.

Re:Google Android tie in (-1, Flamebait)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866790)

And your point is what, precisely?

Just because you don't like or play those games does not mean that other people share that view.

I have a Facebook account, I played Mafia Wars for a couple of weeks, got bored with it and have been nowhere near it, or any other Facebook games, since. Plus when I kept getting updates from those games by friends who were playing them, I just hid the comments. It took me about 2 minutes to do, the people that play the games are happy and I'm happy, problem solved.

You sound like the sort of person that probably needs a new hobby if all you have to do is sit on the fence and sneer at people who don't share your views - or maybe it's insecurity at feeling left out?

Re:Google Android tie in (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866880)

I've played them all. It is incredibly difficult to find any artistic merit to them, and on top of that they aren't actually entertaining to the vast majority of people who play these mindless games. But there are a lot of things that suck that are still popular, like cheap fast food and reality television. You praise your own abilities to filter the unwanted content, but cannot or will not filter my simple post.

Also the personal attacks on me make it pretty obvious that your post is a troll. But I had fun responding anyways.

Re:Google Android tie in (3, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867006)

It is incredibly difficult to find any artistic merit to them

Why do you need to find "artistic merit" in something that is designed to be simple entertainment?

Personally, I can go to the cinema and enjoy a movie that raises important social issues or splatters blood, gore, big guns and semi-naked women across the screen at me for two hours - the only thing that matters is did I come away feeling that the entertainment value justified the cost and effort.

and on top of that they aren't actually entertaining to the vast majority of people who play these mindless games

You're actually contradicting yourself here. Surely someone who didn't find something entertaining wouldn't do it, the whole purpose of entertainment being to fill some spare time with something amusing? Just because *YOU* consider it mindless does not automatically mean everyone else does.

But there are a lot of things that suck that are still popular, like cheap fast food and reality television.

I myself do not eat fast food or watch reality television because I don't like either. But I've plenty of other things going on around me not to care that much, and if people do enjoy that stuff then let them get on with it. I'm not that self-conscious that I need to find ways to elevate myself above the general populace so I can sneer down at them.

Also the personal attacks on me make it pretty obvious that your post is a troll. But I had fun responding anyways.

I'm afraid you started with the personal attacks by elevating yourself to a sneering position over people who do enjoy those games. Or are they supposed to stop what they're doing and take your opinions as the written law just because you deigned to voice your opinions?

Re:Google Android tie in (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867638)

http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/content/cultivated-play-farmville [futureofthebook.org]

Cultivated Play: Farmville

by A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz -- SUNY Buffalo (Amherst)
March 09, 2010 - 22:44
[This essay was given as a talk at SUNY Buffalo, 28 January 2010, the day after Howard Zinn's death. I have left the text unaltered, to better reflect the spirit of the talk.]

"I'm worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel - let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they're doing."
                                                                                                            -- Howard Zinn

The great social historian Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, died yesterday of a heart attack. Zinn devoted his life to educating Americans in their country's history, that they might better understand their place in its present. Such understanding is today at a premium. Ours is a time of confusion, of unprecedented changes that outpace our perceptions. As Zinn might have said, the wheel keeps spinning faster, and the faster it spins the harder it is to see.

At such times, and at such speeds, the task of educating ourselves becomes all the more urgent. We are citizens of a democracy, and democratic citizenship has always been a difficult skill to master. This is why Aristotle tells us that, in an ideal state, citizens would possess ample leisure time: the education of a citizen depends upon contemplation, deliberation, and training. Citizenship requires cultivation and, as any farmer would tell us, cultivation takes time.

Perhaps it seems a waste of time to discuss video games at a moment like this. After all, this is a serious discussion, and games are supposedly frivolous things. Most any concerned parent might say, "Play is an occasion of pure waste: waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and often of money...."[1] So said Roger Caillois in his book, Man, Play, and Games. Of course, Caillois went on to praise games as a source of joy, as well as a healthy means of "escape from responsibility and routine."[2] For Caillois, as for Aristotle, games are in fact essential to citizenship: they allow us to refresh and renew ourselves, help to socialize us, and afford us opportunities to cultivate our imaginations and reasoning skills.[3]

If games are essential to citizenship, then this could be a promising time for our democracy. According to a recent survey, over half of American adults play video games, and one in five play everyday or almost everyday. Does this mean we are becoming better citizens? Ninety-seven percent of American teenagers play video games.[4] Does this mean they will become more politically active? Before you dismiss these questions, keep in mind that in October 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama became the first U. S. Presidential candidate to advertise in video games, when his "Early Voting Has Begun" ads appeared in Madden 2009, Burnout Paradise, and other Electronic Arts video games.[5]

Much has been made of President Obama's sophisticated use of new media technologies. He utilized the internet extensively in organizing and raising funds for his campaign, and has maintained an active presence on popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. To illustrate, he is currently taking questions about last night's State of the Union address via YouTube, and plans to answer those questions next week in a live, online video feed.[6] While it remains unclear how such events are affecting politics, it is clear that new media technologies pervade the sociopolitical realm. So we cannot simply dismiss video games and Facebook as mere 'wastes of time.' Instead, we are obligated to educate ourselves about them, and to try to understand what they mean, and what it means that we use them.

With this in mind, it seems appropriate to examine the most popular video game in America. Farmville is a free, browser-based video game that is played through one's Facebook account. Users harvest crops, decorate their farms, and interact with one another, in what is ostensibly a game about farming. While this may sound like a relatively banal game, over seventy-three million people play Farmville.[7] Twenty-six million people play Farmville every day. More people play Farmville than World of Warcraft, and Farmville users outnumber those who own a Nintendo Wii.[8] This popularity is not surprising per se; even in the current recession, video game revenues reached nearly twenty billion dollars in America last year.[9] The video games industry is a vibrant one, and there is certainly room in it for more good games.

Farmville is not a good game. While Caillois tells us that games offer a break from responsibility and routine, Farmville is defined by responsibility and routine. Users advance through the game by harvesting crops at scheduled intervals; if you plant a field of pumpkins at noon, for example, you must return to harvest at eight o'clock that evening or risk losing the crop. Each pumpkin costs thirty coins and occupies one square of your farm, so if you own a fourteen by fourteen farm a field of pumpkins costs nearly six thousand coins to plant. Planting requires the user to click on each square three times: once to harvest the previous crop, once to re-plow the square of land, and once to plant the new seeds. This means that a fourteen by fourteen plot of land--which is relatively small for Farmville--takes almost six hundred mouse-clicks to farm, and obligates you to return in a few hours to do it again. This doesn't sound like much fun, Mr. Caillois. Why would anyone do this?

One might speculate that people play Farmville precisely because they invest physical effort and in-game profit into each harvest. This seems plausible enough: people work over time to develop something, and take pride in the fruits of their labor. Farmville allows users to spend their in-game profits on decorations, animals, buildings, and even bigger plots of land. So users are rewarded for their work. Of course, people can sidestep the harvesting process entirely by spending real money to purchase in-game items. This is the major source of revenue for Zynga, the company that produces Farmville. Zynga is currently on pace to make over three hundred million dollars in revenue this year, largely off of in-game micro-transactions.[10] Clearly, even people who play Farmville want to avoid playing Farmville.

If people don't play Farmville because of the play itself, perhaps they play because of the rewards. Users can customize their farms with ponds, fences, statues, houses, and even Christmas trees, and compare their farms with those of their friends. It's important to note that Farmville is a public game, shared with friends across the largest social networking site in America. It makes sense that some people would enjoy the aesthetics of Farmville, of designing and arranging their farms. No doubt some users want to show off their handiwork, and impress and compete with their virtual neighbors. Nevertheless, it is difficult to imagine seventy-three million people playing a game that isn't fun to play, just to keep up with the Joneses. After all, we have real life for that sort of thing.

Even Zynga's designers seem well aware that their game is repetitive and shallow. As you advance through Farmville, you begin earning rewards that allow you to play Farmville less. Harvesting machines let you click four squares at once, and barns and coops let you manage groups of animals simultaneously, saving you hundreds of tedious mouse-clicks. In other words, the more you play Farmville the less you have to play Farmville. For such a popular game, this seems suspicious. Meanwhile, Zynga is constantly adding new items and giveaways to Farmville, often at the suggestion of their users. Hardly a week goes by that a new color of cat isn't available for purchase. What fun.

Again: if Farmville is laborious to play and aesthetically boring, why are so many people playing it? The answer is disarmingly simple: people are playing Farmville because people are playing Farmville.

My mother began playing Farmville last fall, because her friend asked her to join and become her in-game neighbor. In Farmville, neighbors send you gifts, help tend your farm, post bonuses to their Facebook pages, and allow you to earn larger plots of land. Without at least eight in-game neighbors, in fact, it is almost impossible to advance in Farmville without spending real money. This frustrating reality led my mother--who was now obligated to play because of her friend--to convince my father, two of her sisters, my fiancée and (much to my dismay) myself to join Farmville. Soon, we were all scheduling our days around harvesting, sending each other gifts of trees and elephants, and posting ribbons on our Facebook walls. And we were convincing our own friends to join Farmville, too. Good times.

The secret to Farmville's popularity is neither gameplay nor aesthetics. Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations. When users log into Facebook, they are reminded that their neighbors have sent them gifts, posted bonuses on their walls, and helped with each others' farms. In turn, they are obligated to return the courtesies. As the French sociologist Marcel Mauss tells us, gifts are never free: they bind the giver and receiver in a loop of reciprocity. It is rude to refuse a gift, and ruder still to not return the kindness.[11] We play Farmville, then, because we are trying to be good to one another. We play Farmville because we are polite, cultivated people.

One wonders if this is a good thing. It is difficult to imagine Aristotle or Caillois celebrating Farmville as essential to citizenship. Indeed, when one measures Farmville against Roger Caillois' six criteria for defining games, Farmville fails to satisfy each and every one. Caillois stated that games must be free from obligation, separate from 'real life,' uncertain in outcome, an unproductive activity, governed by rules, and make-believe.[12] In comparison:

(1) Farmville is defined by obligation, routine, and responsibility;
(2) Farmville encroaches and depends upon real life, and is never entirely separate from it;
(3) Farmville is always certain in outcome, and involves neither chance nor skill;
(4) Farmville is a productive activity, in that it adds to the social capital upon which Facebook and Zynga depend for their wealth;
(5) Farmville is governed not by rules, but by habits, and simple cause-and-effect;
(6) Farmville is not make-believe, in that it requires neither immersion nor suspension of disbelief.

Of these points, the fourth is the most troubling. While playing Farmville might not qualify as work or labor, it is certainly a productive activity, as playing Farmville serves to enlarge and strengthen social capital. Capital is defined as "any form of wealth employed or capable of being employed in the production of more wealth."[13] New media companies like Zynga and Facebook depend upon such wealth in generating revenue, just as President Obama depends on social capital to raise money, to organize, and to communicate. Unlike President Obama, though, Zynga is not an elected official, and is not obligated to act with the public's interests in mind.

Zynga has recently used Farmville to raise almost one million dollars to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.[14] Social capital can allow organizations to do great and noble things, and to do so quickly and efficiently. Zynga actually began its charitable efforts with Haiti last fall, around the time my family began playing Farmville. Also at this time, Zynga was engaged in numerous "lead gen scams," or advertisements that trick customers into making purchases or subscribing to services. As of November, one third of Zynga's revenue (roughly eighty million dollars) came from third-party commercial offers, such as Netflix subscriptions that came with Farmville bonuses, or surveys that involved hidden contractual obligations.[15] One user reportedly was charged almost two hundred dollars one month, as a result of cell-phone services for which she had unknowingly signed up, while following Farmville ads in search of bonuses.[16] So many users were scammed, in fact, that Zynga and Facebook are now involved in a related, multi-million-dollar class action lawsuit.[17]

The wheel keeps spinning, faster and faster. More people are signing up to play Farmville every day, as well as other similar Zynga games, such as Mafia Wars, YoVille, and Café World. Analysts estimate that, if the company goes public in the summer of 2010, Zynga will be worth between one and three billion dollars.[18] This value depends in its entirety on the social capital generated by users, like you and me, who obligate one another to play games like Farmville. Whether this strikes you as a scam or just shrewd business is beside the point. The most important thing to recognize here is that, whether we like it or not, seventy-three million people are playing Farmville: a boring, repetitive, and potentially dangerous activity that barely qualifies as a game. Seventy-three million people are obligated to a company that holds no reciprocal ethical obligation toward those people.

It is precisely at a moment like this--when Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has made it legal for corporations to spend unlimited monies on political advertisements--that we must talk about our relationship to corporations, and to one another. We are obligated to examine what we are doing, whether we are updating our Facebook status or playing Call of Duty, because the results of those actions will ultimately be our burden, for better or for worse. We must learn above all to distinguish between the better and the worse. Citizens must educate themselves in the use of sociable applications, such as Wikipedia, Skype, and Facebook, and learn how they can better use them to forward their best interests. And we must learn to differentiate sociable applications from sociopathic applications: applications that use people's sociability to control those people, and to satisfy their owners' needs.

As cultivated citizens, we are obligated to one another. We care about one another. As Cornel West has said, democracy depends upon demophilia, or love of the people.[19] Unfortunately, sociopathic companies such as Zynga depend upon this love as well. The central task of citizenship is learning how to be good to one another, even when--especially when--it is difficult to understand our own actions. If Howard Zinn had but one lesson to teach us, it is that cultivated citizens must constantly look around and examine what they're doing, because there is a fine line between being a cultivated citizen and being someone else's crop.

-

[1] Caillois, Roger. Man, Play, and Games. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1961 (pp. 5-6).
[2] Ibid (p. 6).
[3] See Aristotle, Politics, from line 30 of 1337b, to line 15 of 1338a; see Caillois, ibid, pp. 37-41.
[4] These statistics were derived from a PEW Internet Project Data Memo, dated 7 December 2008 (http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2008/PIP_Adult_gaming_...).
[5] This was reported in various media outlets, including The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/14/obama-video-game-ads-feat_n_134...) and Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,437763,00.html).
[6] See AFP article, "Obama to take questions via YouTube, answer them online," 27 Jan. 2010 (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g0E0ZXCheQrRnvquv2DaS...)
[7] Fussell, James. "The Farmville Craze is a Firmly Planted Phenomenon." The Kansas City Star 22 Jan. 2010 (http://www.kansascity.com/851/v-print/story/1692350.html)
[8] Newheiser, Mark. "Farmville, Social Gaming, and Addiction." Gamasutra 04 Dec. 2009 (http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MarkNewheiser/20091204/3733/Farmville_Soc...).
[9] Ferro, Mike. "2009 Video Game Industry Revenue Breakdown." Gamer.Blorge 16 Jan. 2010. (http://gamer.blorge.com/2010/01/16/2009-video-game-industry-revenue-brea...)
[10] Reuters Blog, 17 Dec. 2009 (http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2009/12/17/facebook-nearing-1-billion...).
[11] Mauss, Marcel. The Gift. Chapter One of version available online at Google Books France (http://books.google.fr/books?id=xlkVAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Marc...).
[12] Caillois, ibid, pp. 9-10.
[13] http://www.dictionary.com/ [dictionary.com]
[14] http://www.ventureloop.com/ventureloop/startup_news_article.php?natId=67 [ventureloop.com] ...
[15] Arrington, Michael. "Scamville." TechCrunch 02 Nov. 2009 (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/11/02/scamville-zynga-says-13-of-revenue-...).
[16] Lusicombe, Belinda. "The Troubling Rise of Facebook's Top Game Company." Time Online 30 Nov. 2009.
[17] Arrington, Michael. "The Scamville Lawsuit." TechCrunch 12 Nov. 2009 (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/11/12/the-scamville-lawsuit-facebook-mysp...).
[18] http://mashable.com/2009/12/15/huge-farmville-maker-zynga-raises-an-asto [mashable.com] ...
[19] West, Cornel and Roberto Mangabeira Unger. The Future of American Progressivism. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998 (p. 12).

Re:Google Android tie in (-1, Troll)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867674)

So you know how to cut and paste in your browser - but your point is precisely what?

Re:Google Android tie in (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867778)

You said:

Surely someone who didn't find something entertaining wouldn't do it, the whole purpose of entertainment being to fill some spare time with something amusing?

But that's exactly what the author disagrees with: he says that people play Farmville not because it's entertaining, but because people play Farmville. Doesn't make sense? Go read the article.

Spyparty: Google Should Fund It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32866706)

Google should get behind a cutting edge game likeSpyparty [spyparty.com] . The concept is unique.

I feel (3, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866708)

I feel sort of out of touch I have no idea who zynga is, did they do something important at any point in time?

Re:I feel (3, Informative)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866820)

Don't know if it's important, but they had a significant impact on casual games (and possibly also micropayments in same category).
As the article states, they made games like Mafia Wars and FarmVille on Facebook, which are extremely popular.

Zynga has a higher revenue than Facebook itself.

Re:I feel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32866844)

Important? no. Farmville [wikipedia.org] ? yes.

Re:I feel (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866958)

Their binaries all get put in /usr/games

Re:I feel (1)

Reilaos (1544173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867004)

Well, I just found a lost black sheep. You can help join me in raising it, thanks to Zynga.

Re:I feel (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867054)

Google would've probably been better off buying Popcap, the games are quite good and a worthy show piece for HTML5 based gaming.

Re:I feel (3, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867108)

They became the dominant provider of social games, to the tune of being able to pay about a thousand salaries, and are close to becoming the largest gaming company in the world (I think they only have 2 ahead of them, and they are closing in fast).

Re:I feel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867110)

Important, no, ridiculous, yes.

Why? Im baffled how people pay to play (paypal or what else) ridiculous games like Farmville and Mafia Wars. Unless you'r in some hospital bed with interactive web TV i see no value whatsoever on that company or those web games.

Re:I feel (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867678)

they waste loads of time and energy. satan is very much pleased with them.

Google's Defense of Flash (3, Interesting)

shway (1614667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866756)

This probably sheds some new light into Google's sudden defense of Flash blog post from June 29

http://apiblog.youtube.com/2010/06/flash-and-html5-tag.html [youtube.com]

Investing in a bunch of Flash games means they have to now start propping up the Flash platform instead of only touting the virtues of HTML5.

Re:Google's Defense of Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867122)

Google never actually uses Flash except for where it's absolutely necessary. They don't write webpages in Flash; they embed it strictly for page components like video, webcam, or audio (GVoice). As such, Google has always been "propping up the Flash platform." And, simultaneously, Google works to bring about Flash's downfall. Google doesn't have the mainstream ability like Apple does to ideologically ban Flash altogether... Google's users would simply move to another service.

If anything, this move makes me glad, because it means Google will likely be examining how Flash is used for web games. Perhaps, many years from now, Google will be able to use this experience to promote and develop a better games platform, and we will finally be able to eliminate the POS Adobe Flash once and for all.

Re:Google's Defense of Flash (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868476)

Google never actually uses Flash except for where it's absolutely necessary.

And Bristol Palin never actually had sex except for that one time she got pregnant.

Got news for you: even if it's embedded use only, it's still used. If Google really wanted to work towards the downfall of Flash, they would, by not using it. Flash has *never* been the only option available. Just the most convenient.

Re:Google's Defense of Flash (2, Informative)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867568)

This probably sheds some new light into Google's sudden defense of Flash blog post from June 29

No, no it doesn't. Why do you people refuse to accept that HTML5 is simply not ready for primetime and get over it. No, it's got to be some secret plot from microapplegooglesoft.

HTML 5 (1)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866760)

Perhaps their intent is to help them port their games to HTML 5 and showcase it. I am not personally one who plays these types of games (ever), but they certainly have huge followings. Getting these to HTML 5, then saying "Gee, I suppose you need an HTML 5 browser. Oh, IE doesn't work? You don't say!" seems to be what I'd say is Google's motivation. With their rabid followers who need to keep their farms healthy and mad cow free (or whatever it is they do), they could really push a LOT of people to HTML 5 browsers like Chrome.

Re:HTML 5 (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866984)

Zygna has already ported FarmVille to be an iPhone/iPod app. I installed it to check the game out, but it still required a Facebook login so I deleted it.

Re:HTML 5 (1)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867134)

If it is an app, then it likely runs on one of the Flash -> objective C conversion frameworks. Otherwise, they would just run it off of the Facebook site as usual.

Re:HTML 5 (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867574)

...still required a Facebook login so I deleted it.

Yeah, where else would they get the info to sell to their marketing partners.

Re:HTML 5 (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867160)

Google has been getting pro-Flash lately, with their recent blog post [youtube.com] and the integration of Flash into Chrome. It looks like a strategy against iPhones and iPads more than anything else.

Re:HTML 5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867330)

Pro-Flash would be praising the merits of Flash. All I've seen Google say is that the alternatives suck more. It's more like being pragmatic and accepting that everything can't be the way you'd like.

Re: Chrome-Flash integration. This simply isn't true at all. All Chrome does is keep Flash up-to-date, or install if missing. Flash can still be disabled, and it uses the system-installed Flash libraries. 'Bundled' is a better term. Everyone already has Flash, so the net effect is a stable Flash base that is no longer lagged across multiple outdated versions.

Time to lose my Google account. (4, Insightful)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866774)

If my Google account starts showing up in random places like my Facebook used to (back when I still had a Facebook account), and if I ever see a single Farmville style friend request show in my email, I'm dropping my gmail/whatever account and not looking back.

Considered moving to paid for a while (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867304)

Me to. Have considered this for a while. Never been comfortable with how much they know about us.

Can anybody recommend a good paid email host?

It's not going to be fun changing all my account's email addresses but could set up a redirection while still changing over. It's not as if I even use the Gmail interface, which is slow.

Re:Considered moving to paid for a while (1)

paxswill (934322) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867566)

I have a mail server through my web host. I can set up webmail through Squirrelmail, or some other package I install on my server. POP/IMAP are also available.

Zynga are evil (2, Insightful)

gozu (541069) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866918)

But Paypal is also evil.

I feel the same about this that I felt about the Iraq war and Saddam Hussein.

Re:Zynga are evil (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867140)

How is PayPal evil?

Full disclosure, I'm a PayPal engineer.

Re:Zynga are evil (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867324)

I don't know how it is now, but paypal had, for a long time, a 'screw you' policy with regards to fraud. That is, if you got defrauded in a paypal transaction, paypal would do nothing, pretty much the opposite of the experience you'll have if you're ever defrauded in a visa transaction.

Re:Zynga are evil (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867408)

Any transaction through PayPal gets fraud protection. My mother got caught in a phishing scheme. Her bank account and credit cards were all linked through PayPal. They contacted all the banks for her and got all the charges reversed.

Re:Zynga are evil (2, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867428)

Good for them if they've changed ... of course, the problem is that once you have a reputation ...

Re:Zynga are evil (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868624)

"Full disclosure, I'm a PayPal engineer."

"My MOTHER got caught in a phishing scheme. Her bank account and credit cards were all linked through PayPal. They contacted all the banks for her and got all the charges reversed."

Nice try. Next!

Re:Zynga are evil (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868724)

I don't appreciate being called a liar. I've used one handle online my entire life and hide basically nothing. I back up my words and don't try to hide behind any anonymity.

Do you doubt that I work for PayPal, or that my mother fell for a phishing scheme? Both I'd be happy to prove to you.

Re:Zynga are evil (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868828)

"I don't appreciate being called a liar."

And I don't appreciate you saying I called you a liar. I didn't. I was merely suggesting your mother received special consideration because you work for the company--special consideration that the rest of us do not receive.

Re:Zynga are evil (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867590)

PayPal has locked the accounts of me and a few of my friends for bullshit reasons and refused to do anything about it. Together we've lost close to 5,000USD.

Re:Zynga are evil (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868534)

I have a friend who has worked in Fraud for years and years. I wouldn't call him evil or a dick. In fact, he's one of the better people I know. He went through training to become a Sheriff so he could help people even more, but PayPal ended up bringing him back to work for them.

When people tell me their account was closed for "bullshit reasons", the most common cause for that is someone putting up a PayPal donation link, claiming their site is a non-profit/charity, and not getting off their ass to file paperwork with PayPal. In that case, PayPal is only upholding federal law because we're heavily regulated.

In fact, I've seen two different stories on Slashdot about PayPal locking accounts of FOSS companies over that very reason. There isn't much we can about federal laws.

However, if you think you've got a legitimate gripe, email me at enderandrew at gmail dot com and I'll talk to people at work.

Missing from summary (0)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32866972)

In Soviet Russia, Google games YOU!

(remember to get those cookie-crunchers and alternate accounts set up ...)

Re:Missing from summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867050)

So THATS why I get a weird feeling between my legs when I play Mafia Wars or FarmVill

Re:Missing from summary (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867146)

So THATS why I get a weird feeling between my legs when I play Mafia Wars or FarmVille

That's just them pulling your private information from every source they can - they want your DNA. They say that they'll collect as much as they can in their privacy policy [zynga.com]

We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services, Zynga games and other users of Zynga, to supplement your profile.

This is in addition to the info they can suck out of your profiles on other sites like facebook

We may offer you the opportunity to submit other information about yourself (such as gender, age, occupation, hobbies, interests, zip code, etc.), or we may be able to collect that information from social networking systems on which you have used Zynga Games or SNS Apps

Do no evil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867098)

using Google branding.

Don't be evil (3, Informative)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867104)

It would seem that "don't be evil" doesn't include not doing business with the likes of this asshole [techcrunch.com] .

Just what we do not need, more Farmville (3, Funny)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867264)

What a deal, the creators of Farmville and Mafia Wars, two games that would be a better fit for the early 90's.

There are some funny YouTube videos on both of those games.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odBDAcOEKuI [youtube.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kNjC50BzB0&feature=channel [youtube.com]

Re:Just what we do not need, more Farmville (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867432)

Root canal!

Re:Just what we do not need, more Farmville (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32868188)

As both user-time-spent and financial results prove, these "early 90's" games are as much wanted by the people as any A-list console or PC title.
Already at the moment, people are paying more money for Zynga games than PC-gaming star child World of Warcraft (WoW 2009 revenues were ~$250M, Zynga had ~$270M in 2009 and looks like at ~$550M in this year); and they have far more active users than WoW.

So in any practical aspect, they have a bigger impact on gaming industrythan any other game development studio in the world.

Is this actually about games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867430)

or just google acquiring one more source for data mining? (Rhetorical question.)

Fuck zunga. Fuck failbook. Fuck google.

Social Gaming? (1)

BubbaDoom (1353181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867588)

Could someone explain to me how Farmville is social gaming at all? Tradewars and Geopolitics were real social games from the BBS days. Farmville is just a virus which tries to infect all your friends with its pixel crap.

Re:Social Gaming? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32868668)

Take this current Google Game [google.com] . Is not very social, you don't interact with anyone else playing it, don't push anyone to measure how can play compared to you. Maybe Farmville could be seen more as viral gaming than social gaming, but still is just another way of being social.

First 4ost? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867602)

We can use some Google influence in gaming (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867630)

since advent of cds and industrialization of gaming, games increasingly became brutal capitalism products, purely made to make the maximum profit over them without paying much attention to the gamers' desires. all games, gaming studios either have gone the way of becoming extremely bloated, little gameplay - max visuals, max gore/extremism range, or gone the way of maximum simplicity, minimum effort way. all are done to target the general populations most exploitable characteristics to just make the box sell. rest is not that important. and the studios who were doing real games have either had to go the same way, or got bought by conglomerates and made to choose the same way.

thus some google influence may be good in this sector. we need more gameplay, more fun, entertainment in games.

Ways to make Google Checkout relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32867954)

Google is always looking for ways to make Google Checkout relevant.

They could start by making it available to more than three countries.

Obligatory (1)

raguirre (986049) | more than 4 years ago | (#32867962)

BaZynga!
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