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344 comments

Social games (5, Insightful)

weachiod (1928554) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048592)

This just shows the power of casual games and social interaction within them, similar to Wii but even better.

I can already see how many posts here will be about how dumb the game is and how only dumb people play it, but I don't think it matters. People like it and the company is making more money than EA. They don't have piracy problems, they have lower development costs and a have HUGE untapped market to gain that will most likely grow a lot more in the future as this all is still so new. But that they already passed the industry giant EA really shows something.

And good for them and the people who play FarmVille and other social games on social networking games. I think it has been over 20 years that we have talked about how to get gaming to be more "normal" and how to get girls to game too - this is it. Let people enjoy the games they like.

Re:Social games (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048774)

it actually is a product for dumb people, with lot of time to waste and no sense of worth.

coincidentally, the target democratic is extremely profitable.

Re:Social games (4, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048830)

If you put a value to your time and then do ANYTHING that is "less profitable" than that perceived value then you are wasting time, right?

Re:Social games (5, Funny)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049092)

Well you nailed it when you put quote marks around "less profitable". The question is whether someone values their time so little that spending it playing farmville rates more highly, or whether they rate farmville so highly, that it's more valuable than other things they could do with their time. In either case, I can see why some would be concerned about such a person.

Personally, I can't put it any better than a friend of mine who uses Facebook put it when she said: "I get a message off this guy. He's a grown man. He's in his thirties. And he wants me to send him an onion."

Re:Social games (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049290)

As opposed to the grown man in his thirties who goes into a fit of depression when some millionaires on TV don't catch a ball in a kid's game?

We aren't all writing the next great novel. What are you working for anyway? To relax and amuse yourself I assume. If people want to play a game let them.

Re:Social games (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049112)

Exactly right. That's not to say that relaxing and playing some games isn't valuable though. Rest is very important for physical and mental wellbeing.

Personally I doubt I'll ever try Farmville, but I'm happy to play games (generally action oriented) on days when I'm taking a rest from more active pastimes.

Re:Social games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049132)

exactly, but you should differentiate monetary worth and personal value.

my time has a low monetary worth, but a high personal value (the latter is common to everyone except emo). I would never spend it in those kind of games, because I think I'd better enjoy myself in challenging activities.

and while for someone farmville may be relaxation time, for most it's just that the challenging bar *is* that low.

Re:Social games (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048888)

with lot of time to waste

"Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted." -John Lennon

Re:Social games (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049126)

Is this Farmville game actually hard / exciting, or is it an exercise in button pushing? We can't spend all our lives working and being productive - we'd fall over. But we can spend the non-productive time doing a variety of things... watching movies, chatting with friends or, if they still exist, play a challenging computer game. I'm curious. How does Farmville actually rate?

Re:Social games (1)

WoLpH (699064) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049456)

62 million users can't be wrong, right?

from what I've heard, Farmville is very addicting and it constantly has new components keeping it interesting to play for quite some time. But most of the people I know that tried it got tired of it after about a week or so.

Re:Social games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049178)

Says the overweight nerd, sitting alone, surrounded by empty pizza boxes.

Re:Social games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049442)

coincidentally, the target democratic is extremely profitable.

oh crap i thought it was the target Republican that would be profitable...except if you meant demographic...hehehe

Re:Social games (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048812)

I can already see how many posts here will be about how dumb the game is and how only dumb people play it

This was my knee-jerk reaction when I first heard of Farmville.

Let people enjoy the games they like.

After I got over my indignant nerdrage, this was the line of thinking I took. To me, a game like Farmville is a waste of time...but then again, I'm sure there are plenty of people that think putting 100+ hours into Oblivion or lord knows how many hours into MMOs is also a waste of time.

"Different games for different lames", as a fellow gamer in my office put it.

Re:Social games (4, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048952)

My wife likes to point out that me playing Civ III is just about the same as her playing Farmville. The only difference is that in Civ III I get to kill people.

Re:Social games (2, Informative)

headbulb (534102) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049152)

There is alot more strategy to Civ III then Farmville.

Re:Social games (1)

weachiod (1928554) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049344)

Why there needs to be a lot of strategy in a game for it to be enjoyable? Mind you, I would play Civ V over Farmville any day of the week, but we have different genres because people like different things, and not everyone wants to play a game thats challenging or requires a lot of thinking or strategy.

Re:Social games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049370)

Unless you're planning to conquer the world, it's still ultimately a fun hobby with pretty much the same end result as Farmville - either you enjoyed spending some spare time playing it or you didn't.

Re:Strategy! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049378)

We desperately need someone to do a +1 Godel and arrange their farm like a Go board.

It would give entire new meaning to "Life or Death" questions for your farm!

Re:Social games (3, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049402)

Does it make it less enjoyable for her? I'd say she probably is happy it isn't as complex and she can just poke around for a few minutes a day and be done with it.

Re:Social games (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049262)

I've just had a read about Farmville on Wikipedia to see if it's any more in depth than I expected, but it's not. It sounds like typical RPG style gameplay where the key element to success is simply playing a lot to rack up some XP, though I don't think there is actually any end goal.

Civilisation might be similar overall, but it definitely requires a bit more skill and has more goals to aim for than simply the research and building more advanced units. Having to compete against CPU or human opponents certainly makes it more challenging and rewarding than something like Farmville where presumably you can't actually lose in any meaningful way.

Re:Social games (4, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049278)

And you use strategy and planning, and actually think. Versus simply clicking on what's flashing. There is a huge difference between "traditional" games and Farmville type stuff. The majority of "casual" games are made for people who don't like thinking and just want to... do repetitive things I guess.

Re:Social games (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049374)

That's like saying playing poker is just about the same as playing 52 pickup.

Re:Social games (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049106)

Farmville has what I call "the catnip factor" which is a seriously strange but powerful effect. It reminds me of back in the old shop I worked at where the boss bought a whole box of Age of Empires I and Sims discs at a time when AoE II was long out. I said "WTF Doug? why do I gotta install this on everything?" and he said "Just do it and make sure the window units are all running it" and sure enough it wasn't 30 minutes after we opened that women started walking in going "Ohhh..Is that Age of Empires? And The Sims?" and damned if sales didn't go up. I've seen the same thing in Farmville where EVERY female in a family plays that thing. Even my GF has to have her daily 1 hour of Farmville and that little treasure hunting game FB has or she isn't a happy camper.

So I actually have to give the Zynga guys credit, as I doubt they meant to do it, because if they knew the secret of cranking out catnip games they would have plastered it all over all the consoles and mobiles as well, but they managed to hit that one dead solid perfect. Of course now they'll probably take a page from EA and like the sims milk that sucker for all it's worth, but who can blame them? But now when a female walks into the shop complaining "My PC is too slow" I almost don't even need to ask what they are talking about, because it comes down to how it plays Farmville.

Re:Social games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048816)

This just means that all games from now on (although the trend has began a while back) will appeal to the lowest common denominator. This is sad day for those of us who enjoy challenging and deep games. When you look at games like Civilization 5, you can plainly see the trend of moving towards simplistic nonsense gameplay. Casual games will soon infect all genres.

Re:Social games (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048862)

We had this discussion yesterday here on Slashdot.

There are plenty of difficult modern titles out there if you want a challenge. Try beating Ninja Gaiden Black on the highest difficulty. Try playing The Dark Spire or any of the Etrian Odyssey games. Try playing Demon Souls. Try playing Dragon Age on the hardest difficulty setting. Hell, try playing Fallout New Vegas on the highest difficulty setting.

I get what you are saying about a general shift towards more "simplified" gaming, but there are plenty of challenges out there...you just gotta know where to look for them.

Re:Social games (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048946)

What if *shock*, you don't like those games?

Re:Social games (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048994)

Do you mean difficult games, or any of the games that I mentioned?

If you meant difficult games, then no problem...don't play them. If you meant the games I mentioned, then I don't know what to tell you. Most of the major genres are represented there...

Re:Social games (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049466)

Most of the major genres? They're all RPGs :P

Apart from possibly Ninja Gaiden but I really didn't like that when I played the demo. It's very arcadey. I hate games which look amazing, but then you try and wander off the path and you hit an invisible wall. It really takes away from the immersion..

I do like some 3rd person action games like Uncharted and Assassin's Creed, and stuff like Uncharted is pretty damn difficult on the highest difficulty setting (haven't played Assassin's Creed much).

There are still plenty of more in depth and higher difficulty games being made as you point out, and that's not going to stop either as it's a pretty important market. I reckon as people are sucked into gaming with the casual stuff they will eventually stop thinking of gaming as quite so geeky and start exploring the "real" games too :) Stuff like LittleBigPlanet should be good for this, especially when LBP2 comes out.. it looks like it's going to be spectacular for modders, so even anyone who plays just for the cutesy sackboys and sackgirls is probably going to get a sample of a wide range of gaming styles.

Re:Social games (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049000)

If you don't like it, don't play it.

Why be an asshole and shit on someone else's fun ?

Oh, I'm sorry it's because you're an asshole.

Re:Social games (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049060)

What are your favorite games?

Re:Social games (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049512)

Apparently his favorite is Farmville.

Re:Social games (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049102)

Try beating Ninja Gaiden Black on the highest difficulty. Try playing The Dark Spire or any of the Etrian Odyssey games. Try playing Demon Souls. Try playing Dragon Age on the hardest difficulty setting. Hell, try playing Fallout New Vegas on the highest difficulty setting.

There's a big difference between hard and not appealing to the lowest common denominator. I love Ninja Gaiden and that game was great, but telling someone to go back and play it on hard doesn't overcome the issue. Games like Alan Wake don't get made by companies appealing to the lowest denominator.

Re:Social games (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049198)

True.

Want to have some fun? Have a "casual" gamer pick up Oblivion. Help them out through the sewers, get them used to the controls and the play style. Then, when they exit the sewer, they will inevitably ask you where they are supposed to go. This is your response: "Pick a direction, and run."

Watch their heads explode.

Re:Social games (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048944)

Yes the same thing has happened to movies. As we've seen there, deep thought provoking movies never come out anymore. It's all 90 min of "Ass". No Precious nor The Hurt Locker or anything ever again.

Re:Social games (3, Interesting)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049046)

Casual gamers have increased the total number of people who play games. I don't think it has decreased the number of hard core gamers that are looking for something deep. If anything, the potential audience for a big, deep game is now larger.

The only problem that I see is that is getting more and more difficult for game companies to justify charging $50 or more for a game. Only one of the games I have bought in the past year was more than $10 and I was really disappointed in that game (ModNation Racers). Cheap, but awesome (IMO) games on Apple devices and Steam sales have really lowered what I'm willing to pay for a game. $10 or under and it's a no-brainer. If the game sucks, I don't care as I'm only out a few dollars.

Re:Social games (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048836)

I think that this really shows that tying your game to the most popular social networking website in the entire world is a profitable thing to do. I seriously doubt that any of Zygna's games would be popular without Facebook, even if Zygna took the time to set up their own system of social networking for the games.

Re:Social games (3, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048948)

My obligatory response to any mention of Zynga games:

"Addicted to Fake Achievement" :
http://www.pixelpoppers.com/2009/11/awesome-by-proxy-addicted-to-fake.html [pixelpoppers.com]

I was hooked on MafiaWars and Starfleet Commander for a spell. Quit cold turkey a few months back.
I do have a whole new understanding of my hamsters on their treadmills now.

Re:Social games (1)

aekafan (1690920) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049384)

Yep. It's just like Xbox live system, Steam, and the entire WoW crafting system. The only reason its there is a treadmill to burn your hours. But some people enjoy that. More power to them, I say

Slashdotted ... here is the original article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049076)

Here is the original article [businessweek.com] instead of some shitty blog spam.

Wait.. Wait... (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048602)

Someone will say "hardcore gaming is dying" soon...

Re:Wait.. Wait... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048614)

Hardcore gaming is dying. Happy? Glad I could help ;-)

Re:Wait.. Wait... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048810)

Has Netcraft confirmed it?

Hardcore Gaming is dying (1)

zombieChan51 (1862028) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048616)

Soon we'll have nothing but Cooking Mama and Farmville. No more Counter Strike.

Re:Hardcore Gaming is dying (1)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048650)

No more Counter Strike? I'm failing to see how this is a bad thing?

Re:Hardcore Gaming is dying (3, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048762)

What about "Counter Strike: Cooking Mama Edition"?

Re:Hardcore Gaming is dying (1)

splutty (43475) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048782)

Counter Strike: Farmville.

Now you get to blow up chickens, goats, pigs, cows, and farmers!

Re:Hardcore Gaming is dying (2, Interesting)

weachiod (1928554) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048814)

Counter Strike: Farmville.

Now you get to blow up chickens, goats, pigs, cows, and farmers!

Sounds boring as a game. You can shoot a real cow with a bazooka for $50 in Cambodia :P

Re:Hardcore Gaming is dying (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049192)

Sounds boring as a game. You can shoot a real cow with a bazooka for $50 in Cambodia :P

Doesn't sound exactly challenging. Do they run the same tours in New Deli?

Estimated Worth and the 7 Eleven Stratagem (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048618)

... the company's worth has passed that of EA (Electronic Arts).

Sort of nitpicking but if you click through to the businessweek source [businessweek.com] article, you'll notice that Zynga Game Network's value is an estimated worth while EA's value is a stock-market value. You should note that the former is estimated by SharesPost Inc. while the latter is determined by the Nasdaq Stock Exchange (in the past year EA has slumped almost 20%).

That's not to say Zynga isn't worth this much, I had a very shocking realization one day as I went to 7 Eleven to pick up some milk. Zynga has partnered with 7 Eleven [7-eleven.com] in selling and marketing FarmVille, Mafia Wars and YoVille items and 'currency.' That's right, like a phone card you can get a prepaid Farmville card at any 7 Eleven (at least in my area) and they were putting free items on Slurpees, Big Gulps, coffee, candy and fast food they sold in the store. So you'd get this little peel off thing giving you a bulletproof vest in Mafia Wars and then it'd tell you how to log in to use it. I bet that alone got a lot more people hooked on Facebook -- just to get to their free item in Zynga's game (and this is why I feel borderline justified to call it a stratagem instead of strategy)!

For sometime now you've been able to buy WoW prepaid cards at 7 Eleven and there's been a handful of Xbox/PS/Wii games behind the counter but when I saw the shelf space and signs devoted to this stuff I knew it was going to dwarf all other forms of gaming very quickly. I know there are plenty of other reasons [slashdot.org] but when you see something completely outside the realm of where you think you should see a social game (I was going to 7 Eleven to pick up some skim milk), it really hits you right in the face how big this is going to get. Put yourself even spread out across the entire United States with ~10,000 locations of advertising and insertion and you're going to beat anything EA can put out with its billion of dollars. In order to compete with this, EA would have to put a demo disc of four different games targeting different ages for free on the counter of 7 Elevens (like a separate AOL disc for three different consoles and CPU). Despite how relatively inexpensive that would be for them, they aren't going to do that. And that's how Zynga wins out, the illusion that it's 'free' paired with efficient mass distribution of the free concept.

Re:Estimated Worth and the 7 Eleven Stratagem (1)

weachiod (1928554) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048658)

That's right, like a phone card you can get a prepaid Farmville card at any 7 Eleven (at least in my area) and they were putting free items on Slurpees, Big Gulps, coffee, candy and fast food they sold in the store.

Not in Thailand.

Re:Estimated Worth and the 7 Eleven Stratagem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048692)


Not in Thailand.

They're stocked next to the Thai she-male prostitutes, one aisle over from the child prostitutes.

Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048892)

I was wondering who was still playing that game...

Re:Estimated Worth and the 7 Eleven Stratagem (4, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049224)

Just for a bit of context, this "shocking" business model is imported from South Korea [wikipedia.org] , where pre-pay cards and promotions for Space Rabbit Teeny Witch Bikini Adventures have shared the behind-the-counter space with cigarettes, fizzy-rice-pisswater and rotgut for at least 5 years.

Re:Estimated Worth and the 7 Eleven Stratagem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049248)

"Zynga Game Network's value is an estimated worth while EA's value is a stock-market value"

I work for an investment bank that has just posted a 1.2bn profit for the quarter. They did this by buying items that don't exist, using money they don't have and selling them to people who don't actually want it.

Economics is a funny thing - the only thing that really matters is that bottom line.

Re:Estimated Worth and the 7 Eleven Stratagem (2, Interesting)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049410)

Three points:
- There is more to the world than the US. Partnering with 7-Eleven does nothing to sell their stuff outside North America. The US is only 24% of the world economy and EA sells their games everywhere.
- 7-Eleven will give loads of space to anything if their comissions are big enough. If for example they got a 50% cut on the action from Zynga while Blizzard would only give them 5% on WoW top-up cards, guess who they would give more space to? All things considered, if their profit is 10x as much per-sale, even if they only sell 1/4 as much, they're still coming out ahead.
- Web 2.0 might very well, like Web 1.0, be all about selling stocks to the suckers of companies with valuations way beyond anything that can be justified by their cashflows, now or ever. Ten years have past since the pinacle of the Internet bubble, but some of us have a long enough memory to still remember how back then lots of worthless "Internet" companies were worth more than "Bricks & Mortar" ones just because they were doing business "on the Internet". Many of the same brokers that made millions back selling all kinds of shit in IPOs to ignorant fund managers are still around yearning for the old days.

I really hate EA with a vengance and would loved to see them crash and burn so that more space opens up for indie companies, but I seriously doubt that a "social gaming" company with 3 successfull games in a market space limited to 150 million users is worth more than a traditional game publisher with multiple successful games in a market space with more than 1.9 billion people (the number of people connected to the Internet, the real number is probably bigger)

Re:Estimated Worth and the 7 Eleven Stratagem (3, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049506)

I ultimately wonder what that means for Facebook's privacy issues - knowing that essentially the developer gets a lot of un-needed info, Zynga essentially has as much power to abuse Facebook's privacy policy as Mark Zuckerberg but everyone just likes to hate on Z since he's the one who started it all.

I remember there was a big issue a while back when EA wanted to put adverts into its games (I believe Battlefield 2142 was their prime pilot candidate) - and everyone made a big deal because it was like they were able to target you better because they knew what kind of games you played and it would be another venue for kids to get bombarded. There was a supposed rumour that the game was going to go through your browsing cookies looking for info but ultimately that wasn't the case (I don't think EA was stupid enough to try pulling that off without some backlash).

But here you've got what essentially amounts to an even bigger invasion of privacy - and people don't even notice because the blame game currently points at someone else. Many sources have supposedly caught Pincus (CEO of Zynga) saying that scamming users was part of their business model, though its usually small articles on places like techcrunch, so I take it with a bit of salt. Anyways, the point is that everyone seems to be mad at Zuckerberg for creating this monstrosity designed to pluck your personal info - meanwhile someone else who is probably worse in moral integrity also has access to it.

See this is where people say Facebook is the next Myspace. I don't think they've realized that Facebook elevated the game entirely, it's not just 12-30 year olds using it now - it's not just a fad social network for teenagers - its everybody, in almost every age group, and simple applications built into the platform have made their way into 711. So Facebook Apps are too addictive for most people to drop, so they don't want Facebook to go down. If Facebook isn't in threat of going down, Zuckerberg doesn't have to worry much. If Zuckerberg doesn't have to worry, then Pincus doesn't have to worry. Its a vicious circle where they both support each other and no one can stop them.

which aptly demonstrates... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048644)

...that quantity is not the same as quality.

Re:which aptly demonstrates... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048710)

I don't know, have you played an EA game lately?

Re:which aptly demonstrates... (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048770)

I tried playing one yesterday. I'm still working on getting past the splash screens after starting it.

Re:which aptly demonstrates... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048778)

I don't know, have you played an EA game lately?

I thought that's what he meant. :-P

Re:which aptly demonstrates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048860)

The last EA games I played were Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age and Dead Space. All of which I really enjoyed (albeit I had a couple of big issues with the DA business model - selling me inventory space and selling me DLC in game that should have been part of the game from the start). Actually, I don't remember the last time I played a bad game - certainly not in the last ten years. I find if you're prepared to do a little research and not be led astray by OOH SHINY licenses/movie tie-ins/sequels without learning a little about them, it's very easy to avoid bad games. If only more people did the same, maybe there'd be far fewer bad games.

So, today Slashdot has a change of heart. (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048780)

Are you implying EA is making high quality games now?

Re:So, today Slashdot has a change of heart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049030)

Maybe he's referring to EA's DRM systems? They are indeed high-quality customer-deterrents.

Re:So, today Slashdot has a change of heart. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049350)

Not all of them. But some of them are.

Re:which aptly demonstrates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048914)

How do either of them justify as "quality"?

Re:which aptly demonstrates... (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048986)

Is it sad that I don't know which company you're talking about?

Wait, I'm confused (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048648)

Does that say more about Zynga or EA?

Re:Wait, I'm confused (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048916)

Does that say more about Zynga or EA?

This says more about market analysts and valuation than either company. Remember back when AOL bought Time Warner with essentially monopoly money? Same thing here.

The valuation of something becomes detached from their revenue, assets, long-term prospects, and other things. You get a completely fictional valuation that in a couple of months or years won't be worth a damn. In the mean time, someone will cash out a huge amount of actual dollars, and leave everyone else holding the bag when the value of this stuff becomes worthless.

Unless you're a day trader from the 90s, or were involved in selling Asset Backed Paper Commodities, you should treat this like a temporary blip that has nothing to do with actual money.

Basically, this is equating a fad with no real tangible value with real assets and revenues. Only the suckers buy into this.

Re:Wait, I'm confused (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049188)

I think it's saying that these analysts believe Zynga will grow faster and be more profitable than EA in the semi-near future. I believe that's probably correct. EA isn't going to get much bigger and their margins just aren't that great. Zynga, on the other hand, are growing about as quickly as a company can grow and their margins have to be crazy high. That's very attractive to investors, that attracts speculators, and that builds a bubble.

Re:Wait, I'm confused (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049316)

Zynga, on the other hand, are growing about as quickly as a company can grow and their margins have to be crazy high. That's very attractive to investors, that attracts speculators, and that builds a bubble.

Yeah, but getting into something you know is a bubble is like getting in on a pyramid scheme and hoping you get out before it collapses.

I've seen this numerous times over the years. Anybody who actually believes there is value there is either going to get burned, or is basically trying to scoop out the fictional money before everyone realizes that it doesn't really have any value. (Or, in exceedingly rare cases, a somewhat viable entity might emerge, but I'm doubtful of that.)

The problem is, as the big stock meltdown of the last couple of years shows ... when the funny money gets mingled in with the real money, everyone else gets burned. I wouldn't want the people managing my investment portfolio to be stupid enough to treat Zynga like an actual thing which should be considered real and of value.

I always cringe when people who are supposed to understand the fundamentals of valuation go zany and buy into utter hype. IMO, that's all Zynga is. If in a month everyone gets bored of Facebook, their market collapses.

More likely about the stock market (4, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049036)

Well, it probably just says more about the stock market than anything else.

It's not that hard to find (usually temporary) situations where it acts... strangely. E.g., back when it was a subsidiary of 3Com, at one point Palm was valued so high that the shares 3Com owned in it were worth more than the total worth of 3Com. With the obvious paradox that then the rest of 3Com was essentially worth a negative number, although they were turning up a tidy profit and all. With the also (not so) paradoxical situation that a bunch of "pundits" and shareholders were actually wanting 3Com to get rid of those other divisions, although, again, they were actually turning a tidy profit.

Oh noes (1)

Apothem (1921856) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048666)

Next thing you know they're going to start buying franchises and turning them all into FarmVille clones.

Re:Oh noes (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048822)

judging by recent developments, that would be a good thing

Command And Conquer: Farmville wars
Fifarmville
Medal of Honour, assault at farmville

I'll take that over the tripe that EA has been spewing lately

Well duh? (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048672)

To be honest, EA refurbishes all the same crap, so this is not a surprise.

Re:Well duh? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048732)

As opposed to who, Zynga?

"I don't fucking want innovation," the ex-employee recalls Pincus [Zynga's CEO] saying. "You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

http://www.bnet.com/blog/high-tech/zynga-8217s-winning-strategy-don-8217t-innovate-copy-execute-and-scale/1157

Hmmm. (1)

zcold (916632) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048686)

Ha, so thats what? 2 cents total? Obviously I kid, but seriously, EA hasnt really done much good lately. Their games are stale, ever since (and possibly before) they murdered the NFS series, porche unleashed was amazing... Then it had to go gangster etc... Gangsters and Boobs sell... /eorant Do I see a FarmBoobs in the future of Zynga? I sure hope so...run and farm that... home boy.

Re:Hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048876)

All i gotta say is skate 3 man. The best game to watch your character bounce off poles and do faceplants.

Re:Hmmm. (2, Informative)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048940)

Well, they already have the gangsters [facebook.com] .

Re:Hmmm. (1)

zcold (916632) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049194)

Ha ya, now I just need to farm some boobs to fight them in Mafia Boobs.

And not a single fuck was given that day. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048694)

And not a single fuck was given that day.

Because while the business of games might be big money, the business of making good games seems to just trundle along beneath the radar.

Bethesda, Valve, the indie shops and the other mouselike critters just keep cranking out the fun in the underbrush while the tyrannosaurs battle it out. Nobody notices that faint dot in the sky that gets a little bit brighter every night.

Re:And not a single fuck was given that day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049454)

It's hard to say that Bethesda and Valve is producing more fun than Zynga - since the largest Bethesda&Valve games are bringing fun to no more than 10 million people, largest EA mainstream blockbusters top out below 20 million, but Zynga has 200 million active players covered by their games.

This implies that out of all game players, 90% haven't even seen anything from EA, Valve, Bethesda or any other "standard" game designer, that 90% of people have been totally failed by the previous industry.

Another happy piece of information (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048696)

Facebook has an application blocking feature which keeps me blissfully oblivious that there are more Farmville users than citizens in my country.

Not that I'm saying there's anything worse with playing Farmville compared to some other random game online, but I _just don't care_.

Re:Another happy piece of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048750)

That's okay.

Facebook is still sharing your data w/ one of the other Zynga games you forgot to block.

I wish they had a 'block by publisher' option ....

Is that real money or farmville money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048714)

It's a sad day if it's cold hard cash they're talking about. When I was 14 I took a tour of ea in burnaby it was the highlight of my youth and encouraged me to be more active in computer programming. I didn't end up choosing comp programming as a career in the end but I still write in c/c++ almost everyday

friSt 5top (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048790)

I havE a life to [goat.cx]

This seems appropriate. (2, Insightful)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048792)

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." - H.L. Mencken.

Misleading at best (5, Insightful)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048848)

Facebook's change of policy could make Zynga worthless overnight. EA on the other hand holds hundreds of IPs, studios etc. These two are not even comparable or in the same league..

Re:Misleading at best (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048976)

Unless Zygna buys out EA. Which is something that could actually occur under the current situation.

EA had every opportunity (2, Insightful)

Draconi (38078) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048866)

I've always felt that one of EA's greatest challenges has been recognizing disruptive technology and capitalizing on it.

This played out numerous times with the PS3 vs. Wii, PSP vs. DS, and especially regarding micro-transactions. There is a producer at EA who, since at least 2005, was not only aware of how important MTX was in Asia, but that we couldn't keep believing that cultural barriers wouldn't keep games on the pay-per-month subscription model forever here in the U.S. I remember going to his brown-bag lunches and saying "Wow, here's a guy who gets it!" But no one took social gaming or micro-transactions seriously back then: it was Sims, Warhammer, Madden, and Pogo. Speaking of, imagine if EA had immediately recognized how powerful a platform Facebook was, and flooded the early app/games scene with MTX versions of Pogo games?

Now we're seeing the advent of Social Gaming 1.0 mixed with these micro-transactions, and already it's been so disruptive that a completely new company with low budget games has surpassed an industry giant that spends tens of millions per title. Why? Because the market has been broadened yet again, far beyond the bounds of the comfort zones most larger companies have established for themselves. EA hasn't ignored this, of course, but they reacted late and with the time-honored response of buying a company that specializes in the area, hoping to get into the market immediately.

Admittedly, the current state of games on Facebook is... I don't know, someone said it was like the Atari days before the big crash. Yet imagine what Social Gaming 2.0 will look like as more high-quality games and free-to-play 3D MMOs start hitting the browsers.

Re:EA had every opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049122)

Your fault is in accepting the blurb. It's simply not true.

Only in a virtual world... (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048966)

..can you farm freely without limitations, inspections, and land usage restrictions.

In the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34048988)

"Ba-zynga!"

Yeah, but... (1)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 2 years ago | (#34048996)

Farmville may be worth more than EA but only because Farmville's worth is measured in these stupid coins that you can't use for anything.

Re:Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049266)

Farmville worth is measured in it's cashflow in people paying for these Farmville coins - and it's more money that people are willing to pay for less significant games such as World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Sims, Halo, Mario cart, Starcraft II, etc.

How long was I asleep? (1)

H_Fisher (808597) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049016)

Is it April 1st already?

My mom came to visit and plays Farmville (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049078)

My mom is retired and came to visit for a couple of weeks. I know I was pretty shocked seeing her play farmville, she's not someone who I would have ever envisioned playing videogames and yet there she is, a decent amount of time everyday playing Farmville. I have to give Zynga and Facebook credit here, that's where she got hooked. I don't even have a Facebook account myself and never tried Farmville but props for them for making a game that can be addictive to someone a gamer never thought he'd see playing a game.

You know the old saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049082)

Less dense shit rises.

AOL (1)

oakbox (414095) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049098)

Farmville is worth more than EA like AOL was worth more than Time-Warner.

  . . . it's not.

- oakbox

Not surprising (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#34049222)

(can't remember the actual source) I heard that last year or so that Zynga made (grossed?) something like $240 million from Farmville et al.

Not bad for a rip off of Farm Town (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34049318)

Which was itself a rip off of Harvest Moon.
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