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How Zynga's CityVille Drew 70 Million Players In Less Than a Month

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the none-of-us-are-as-dumb-as-all-of-us dept.

Facebook 101

An article at Gamasutra takes an in-depth look at how Zynga's new browser-based social game CityVille managed to accumulate tens of millions of players in the relatively short time since its launch early this month. Quoting: "The Facebook interface induces a high degree of user blindness. It does not do a great job of exposing new games and applications, and lacks a directory or a 'Featured in the App Store' style of editorial (as Apple does for the iPhone), which means that for most developers there are huge problems in getting their games in front of users' eyeballs. With all of the free advertising channels on the platform now constrained or dead, this has meant that the Facebook economy has been acquiring an increasingly Darwinian shape. Where it used to be an egalitarian environment in which any developer could strike it big, over the last year it has become top-heavy with larger developers accruing exponential success, and cutting off oxygen to smaller companies by default."

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101 comments

Cross Promoting (2)

Sparrow1492 (1962256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697018)

Yeas, and every other Zynga game is designed to reward you with cross-promotes to come play the new one. A better stat will be how many remain active players (although it will still be pretty high).

Re:Cross Promoting (2)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697086)

Yes, the game is designed that you need a number of contacts (facebook favorites) to reach a higher level. The game is designed to increase the number of players.

But you have to keep in mind that creating "clone" accounts is not forbidden, it is even encouraged this way. So the 70 million figure is heavily inflated (i guess) by clone accounts. My better half is playing this games, as are my dog, fish, rabbit, bird, and.. well you get the picture. But even with a high number of clone accounts 70 millions is still impressive.

Any spare bones that are created in the E.R. center, are taken by surgeon "name of my dog".

Re:Cross Promoting (2)

fedos (150319) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697282)

By cross promotion, Sparrow1492 does not mean inviting your friends. What he's talking about is getting people who play one of their games to also go play other games. For example, if you play MafiaWars, you will occasionally find axes that you can use in FrontierVille. Or if you play FrontierVille there will be buildings that require parts that you find by playing the other games.

Re:Cross Promoting (2)

andi75 (84413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698128)

Why hasn't Blizzard thought of this? Having a Protoss Carrier drop a "Bpne Fragment of the Queen of Blades" (item level 359 dagger) will instantly generate 5 million more SC2 sales...

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698228)

"Bpne Fragment of the Queen of Blades"

Remember, nobody knows more about Bpne, than Dr. Bpne.

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699718)

They did, with the trading card game, though it does not add actual game-changing items. Blizzard is trying hard to have each be a legitimate e-sport, and doing that may make it look less serious.

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34701490)

e-sport? It's not a sport, it will never be a sport. I can't believe you typed that out loud.
There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705564)

Actually, they did. Owners of WoW who bought Starcraft could get a little zergling and/or protoss companion pet. Apparently, when two players meet and one has their zergs and the other their protoss, they'll attack each other in a zerg rush.

/disclaimer... I may be wrong about the protoss thing. but I did see a picture of the thing happening (I'm not a starcraft player)

Re:Cross Promoting (4, Interesting)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698500)

Or another example. My wife plays FrontierVille and FarmVille. In order to complete a barn or basket or something, she had to collect 6 different objects. The final object was only obtainable by starting a CityVille account.

Surprisingly, she said, "enough, I can only handle two time waster games," and didn't sign up.

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

SphericalCrusher (739397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34703374)

Yeah, same here. My wife was prompted for that in Frontierville as well as other games like Treasure Island. It just adds to the advertisement, when the game you are currently enjoying prompts you for a quest that requires you to try something else out. And well, once they try out CityVille, I'm sure some may enjoy it.

Re:Cross Promoting (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697322)

Thus proving why I think Facebook should give you the option to block a publisher, rather than specific apps. I would *love* to be able to block everything by Zynga. Wouldn't think twice about it, either.

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34697716)

Yeah and you think they won't create 10, 15 or even 50 fake publishers just to dilute your options?

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34697858)

Just have separate accounts. The account that you use for hobnobbing with friends, turn platform applications off so nothing gets through, and add every application that friends have to the block list. The account you use for playing Cow Clicker you have separate, and access from a different IP and Web browser so the ad spewers cannot correlate the two.

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700872)

Even if you block out the Facebook API completely, friends' auto-generated wall posts from their various games will still show up on your News Feed. The only way to stop them is to hide each application separately as it comes up. Since companies like Zynga keep coming out with new games (all of which are the same basic game with slightly different graphics) on a seemingly daily basis, and people still blindly post crap from these games on their walls so everyone can see what stupid new game they're playing, this is a tedious solution to the problem.

I'd personally like to see a "Hide all apps from my News Feed" option on FB, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698768)

Wouldn't think twice about it, either.

You wouldn't even think twice? zOMG, you're pretty hardcore, bro!

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34700292)

Phrasal verbs, look them up!

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700582)

I know what a phrasal verb is. I just find it amusing that they think they are sticking it to someone by blocking Zynga. As if they would even notice with all the gobs of money flowing their way.

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700652)

I highly doubt that realityimpaired is blocking Zynga to "stick it to the man." More likely, he wants to block Zynga because he hates seeing all the messages and advertisements coming up on his News Feed all the time. It's easier to block an entire publisher than block said publisher's 50 games.

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699302)

Thus proving why I think Facebook should give you the option to block a publisher, rather than specific apps. I would *love* to be able to block everything by Zynga.

Pssst, there's a secret way [google.com] to block all of Facebook.

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34700138)

Thus proving why I think Facebook should give you the option to block a publisher, rather than specific apps. I would *love* to be able to block everything by Zynga. Wouldn't think twice about it, either.

You can. It's called the "Disable Applications" option.

What use could you possibly have for ANY application on Facebook unless you WANT to give away your private information?

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699186)

Yes, the game is designed that you need a number of contacts (facebook favorites) to reach a higher level. The game is designed to increase the number of players.

But you have to keep in mind that creating "clone" accounts is not forbidden, it is even encouraged this way. So the 70 million figure is heavily inflated (i guess) by clone accounts.

Well most people don't use clone accounts.

What they do, is they bother all their friends into joinging the game just long enough to get whatever reward they need. Then the friends don't ever actually play it.

from what I've seen personally, most people can get around a dozen 'friends' to join (who then don't play). So just to keep the numbers even, I'll say ten which puts us at 7million active players. then keep in mind a LOT of people will join the game, play a couple times, and then stop playing. but if they don't delete and block it from their profile they still are technically 'active'.

I'm not saying they don't do an amazing job of 'tricking' players into recruiting for them... they do an awesome job. But those numbers are pretty inflated.

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699766)

So you are here to confess to all at /. that you are in fact a pathetic loser?

Why would you do this?

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697092)

It helps to have a really large population of lemmings which can be attracted by shiny new objects.

Re:Cross Promoting (2)

uncanny (954868) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697158)

Omg can I play this on my iPad?

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701106)

Omg can I play this on my iPad?

No, it's a Flash game, so being able to play it would decrease the quality of your iOS user experience.

Re:Cross Promoting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34697278)

"Let's Go!"

Re:Cross Promoting (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697228)

I don't see where the mystery is, here. If you like *this* stupid shit, you're probably dumb enough to like this *other* stupid shit.

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34703574)

I don't see where the mystery is, here. If you like *this* stupid shit, you're probably dumb enough to like this *other* stupid shit.

Precisely the strategy used by Hollywood, TV producers, dead tree publishers, computers games publishers, etc... etc... for decades. Why? Because it *works*.

Re:Cross Promoting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34697562)

> cross-promotes

Is it *really* so difficult to adhere to general concepts of English and type "cross-promotions"?

English may be fluid, but that does not mean we should abuse the language to sound "trendy".

Re:Cross Promoting (1)

cil1mia (1165281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698254)

My wife is a MafiaWars junkie/addict! They got so many new users because if you were playing MafiaWars, you had to go to CityVille to complete a MafiaWars level. Rat bastards!

Quote (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697034)

I must be especially stupid today as I got almost no information about the title topic from that quote.

Is there a new trend about forcing the reader to RTFA that I should know about?

Re:Quote (4, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697062)

Heavens, no. You're supposed to leap to some conclusions which you then proceed to approach as fact. Toss out some speculation based on this while forcing yourself to use unnecessarily obtuse vocabulary and include links to wikipedia concerning certain phrases and concepts you're proud of. Others will then do the same, with a variety of other points of view and argue rabidly. Still more will complain that this is the case.

Thus do we generate page views and 'user generated content'. The article does not even need to really exist, as all this will still occur as well as others pointing out the lack of article!

That is the law!

Re:Quote (4, Funny)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697088)

Yeah, these games have absolutely no affect on the sex life of gerbils at all, what were they thinking? I would suggest the people who count up these numbers are nothing more than narcoleptic parrots, repeating things over and over without any sense or continuity.

It all comes back to the legalisation of marijuana, your either part of the solution, or stupid! See here [wikipedia.org] for details.

Re:Quote (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697100)

Thank you and goodnight!

Re:Quote (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697190)

Don't make me do it man, your making me angsty, you would like me when I am angsty... ... nobody likes me when I am angsty...

-The Incredible Sulk

Oh, and you had better reply with a similar post or I will have to invoke Godwin's Wrath upon your nazi arse! wait, crap.

Re:Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699544)

your either part of the solution, or stupid!

Based on the spelling, I'm going to guess "your" not part of the solution...

Re:Quote (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697098)

Heavens, no.

They clearly made a secret deal with Facebook to promote their game while keeping the "good will" for being small.

Deals like this one are creating a virtual monopoly [wikipedia.org] that cripple the smaller, more honest, dev teams that really maintain a fresh gaming environment.

Re:Quote (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697534)

Heavens, no.

They clearly made a secret deal with Facebook to promote their game while keeping the "good will" for being small.

Deals like this one are creating a virtual monopoly [wikipedia.org] that cripple the smaller, more honest, dev teams that really maintain a fresh gaming environment.

You make a compelling argument. It's not fair, let's do something now - just let me investigate this Facebook thing first...[opens new tab, types in URL]

Aw crap.

Re:Quote (0)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697434)

Thus do we generate page views and 'user generated content'. The article does not even need to really exist, as all this will still occur as well as others pointing out the lack of article!

I have a strong faith in this "article", and don't need proof to believe in its existence. How can all these commenters be wrong? Now, I need to interpret the writings of this summarizer who has been directly contacted by the article, and form an opinion as to what the article really means.

Re:Quote (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697544)

You're supposed to leap to some conclusions which you then proceed to approach as fact.

Or, you can go the other direction and be a sanctimonious jerk.

Re:Quote (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34697468)

I must be especially stupid today as I got almost no information about the title topic from that quote.

Chances are you just didn't have your morning coffee yet. The given quote, as far as I can tell (without having RTFA), boils down to "success breeds success".

Wow. really ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697072)

so, it took the route which all unregulated economic (and even political) social environments take ? surprise, surprise ....

Not Darwinian (2)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697192)

the Facebook economy has been acquiring an increasingly Darwinian shape

Um, Darwinian evolution does not reward the most populous species, but the one that is best adapted to its environment. In Facebook terms, this would mean that the funnest game would be the best promoted. What's happening here is decidedly un-Darwin-like.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697258)

If something isn't fitted to its environment, it won't prosper. In this case, the smaller devs may have excellent games, but their whole presence isn't fitted well to the environment (lack of visibility, lack of ability to exploit the user base etc.).
Zynga are excellent at exploiting the environment, which is a great way to prosper. Prospering means greater population base. That really is part of Darwinian evolution (if you prosper, you're doing well at exploiting the environment).
Note, they do mention it's the economy of FB that's taking shape, not the nature of the individual games.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697464)

And since nature relies on Darwin's principle, we see parasites thrive.

My personal explanation why there is no God. At least no benevolent one. If there was, he'd have stepped in (like, say, a benevolent government wanting its subjects to compete on even grounds) and tossed those spongers.

I'd really wish our society wasn't so Darwinian...

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705420)

Oh, there's a God all right. The problem (if you want to see it that way) is that He gave us Free Will.

Any problems with the system are our own fault.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34706358)

So you're saying God is just playing a very advanced version of The Sims?

Fuckin' lazy bum! He should get off his tush and do something. I mean, ok, he's created Earth, but since?

That dude sure has a great PR department. Worked for a whole friggin' 6 days and gets worshiped for it forever.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697550)

the Facebook economy has been acquiring an increasingly Darwinian shape

Um, Darwinian evolution does not reward the most populous species, but the one that is best adapted to its environment. In Facebook terms, this would mean that the funnest game would be the best promoted. What's happening here is decidedly un-Darwin-like.

This one of those evolutionary plateaus... (I hope)

Re:Not Darwinian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34697744)

Facebook games and apps always strike me more as being analogous to viruses than any other organism, and in this case it's the virus that best exploits the behaviour of its host species(The innate ZOMG TEH SHINEYS response of Cretinius facebookii here) that's doing the darwin thing, fun has nothing to do with it.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698158)

Um, Darwinian evolution does not reward the most populous species, but the one that is best adapted to its environment. In Facebook terms, this would mean that the funnest game would be the best promoted. What's happening here is decidedly un-Darwin-like.

um, the most populous species is the best adapted to its environment. it had to be in order to become the most populous species in the first place...thats by the very definition of Darwinian evolution, survival of the fittest and all...

now if there is another species, that appears to be more fit for the environment, but can't get a foothold because the old populous species is crowding it out, then that new species really isn't as well adapted as you thought, because that old populous species has become part of the environment now. If the new species really was more fit it should be able to take over from the old species. now that is how darwinian evolution works at its finest, isn't it great?!

now to get us back on topic, to put this in facebook terms like you wanted, it has nothing to do with the funnest game, it has simply to do with the one that can draw the most users. if those "fun" games can't compete, well then they really weren't fit for the environment that they found themselves in. it is possible people can't find the fun games because the entrenched population are using their defenses to crowd them out...but that very much is how evolution works, so what is happening here is very decidedly darwiny-like.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698230)

Darwinian evolution does not reward the most populous species, but the one that is best adapted to its environment. In Facebook terms, this would mean that the funnest game would be the best promoted.

Well, on earth, how many more ticks and roundworms are there in this earth than eagles and antelope? Many have renounced creationism for darwinism because of guinea worms, smallpox and a host of other organisms that they cannot picture a loving god creating. It is disingenuous to claim evolution promotes the good, it simply promotes those who exploit their environment the best. Was the haast eagle not powerful and glorious? Is the Black Rhino not an awe inspiring beast? Yet the world is full of cockroaches, rats, ants and plankton. Extinction comes to the megafauna of this world, while those who can breed easily and care little about their litter will so often burgeon.

Think of it this way, a triple A title is a brachiosaurus, a huge beast that takes years and huge amounts of food to grow, complex, powerful and can eat the leaves high above the ground where nobody else can. Zynga is like cholera or syphilis, just a tiny little bacterium that lives inside of a host. It does not create complex life, it takes nourishment from where it is infecting, reproduction is trivial (just mitosis, i.e. cloning), meaning it can focus souly on its transmission vector. It is the braciosaurus that is extinct though.

Anyway, Zynga is the only American studio who I have ever heard of cloning a game (Farmville) from a Chinese game (Happy Farm) then having the concentrated and distilled gall to move its development offshore back to Beijing. Now they are bragging about having a more "valuable" company than EA after their two years of opportunism, harking back to the fun of 1999's delusions.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698682)

No, this means that Zynga has adapted to its environment by promoting its games in a way that will continue to draw users, despite roadblocks being placed in its way. Darwinian evolution is the strongest survive, or as you stated, those that best adapt. I've rarely seen "fun", "most functional", "most features" be a metric of strongest survivability or best adapted. (See Beta vs VHS war, HDDVD vs Blu-ray, Visual Basic. Why VB has been allowed to survive for so long...)

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700048)

What makes you think "funnest game" is an import factor in fitness let along the only factor?

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704000)

Zynga has adapted to the Facebook environment incredibly well.

Many people underestimate the competitive advantage that colonizers have, and after an ecosystem is developed they ask, "Why in the hell did X become dominant here? Y is so much more superior." Well, X got there first and adapted well enough that they could leverage their position as colonizer to remain dominant in the face of a superior, but later, competitor. It's common in biology, and it seems that many fail to recognize the impact of it simply because it's not actually an adaptation per se, but typically has more to do with who was lucky enough to be the first who was "good enough." Since it can't be quantified, it's ignored.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705404)

You're assuming a "fun" game is a "successful" game. Zynga's games aren't that much fun... they use some pretty nifty psychological tricks to get you hooked, kind of like WoW and EverQuest, only for a more casual audience. The design of the games is extremely clever, not from a game-design point of view, but from a B. F. Skinner point of view. They are designed to make you want to play not because they are fun, but despite the fact that they really aren't all that fun.

Zynga figured out how to drill right down to our hunter-gatherer instincts in a way I've never quite seen before. I mean, the MMORPGs did a pretty good job, but Zynga managed to figure out how to snag "non-gamers" and cause them to not only stick with the game, but relentlessly promote to everyone they know (on FB anyway) and are now something like 6 times the size of EA. Making level-grinding tedious and then offering you to buy your way up is another great idea to rack up the scratch.

Of course EA has been around for some 30 years or more. I doubt Zynga will last more than 5 years, but I could be wrong. By 2016, they might be bigger than Microsoft.

Re:Not Darwinian (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708554)

In Facebook terms, this would mean that the funnest game would be the best promoted. What's happening here is decidedly un-Darwin-like.

I think its pretty niave to assume that 'funnest' is the only attribute that matters in order to survive on facebook, I would bet its not even close to being the most important.

My point? You're probably making very wrong assumptions about what is best suited to the environment and the environment itself.

Geniuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34697208)

They've managed to convince tens of millions that spam is games. Well done Zynga. I hope you eat caviar and drink champagne until your filthy innards rot completely.

Facebook gaming... (1)

ferongr (1929434) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697218)

A game of personal user information marketing, advertisement networks, trackware and high financial stakes. Did I mention hookers and blow for high-level execs?

Blatant Ad for my FB game (0)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697242)

....which is having its 'Oxygen Cut off', by Zinga.

Remember 'Owned!' on facebook, the game where you traded your gallery pictures, but moved to MYB about a year ago?

My game, 'Possessed', aims to fill the void left. However, I don't have the same viral marketing means that Owned! had at its disposal since Facebook have all but made 'player invite' requests useless, so have just a few 100 players. But, now this is posted on slashdot, I'm hopeing to have millions more in the next few hours!! (in my dreams maybe....!!!)

http://apps.facebook.com/possessed [facebook.com]

If you have a few minutes of idle time, give it a whirl!

Thanks

   

Re:Blatant Ad for my FB game (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697276)

If 70 million slashdot users sign up in the next few hours, then I can post a new slashdot story "How Tony's Possessed game Drew 70 Million Players In Less Than a DAY"...

Re:Blatant Ad for my FB game (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697578)

If 70 million slashdot users sign up in the next few hours, then I can post a new slashdot story "How Tony's Possessed game Drew 70 Million Players In Less Than a DAY"...

Or just lie and say they did, then maybe they will.

Not that *that* could 'ever' happen.

Re:Blatant Ad for my FB game (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697760)

Well since most of us are at work and certainly some percentage of works block things like Facebook (well mine does anyway), you'll have to live with 30 mil now and 30 mil after work :)

[John]

Re:Blatant Ad for my FB game (1)

ShadoHawk (741112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699044)

From the rumblings on your review board... I don't think I would try. Aside from all the name calling it looks like it uses an economy of some sort with no real way of getting money into the economy.

Not only Zenga. (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697288)

I am helping a friend make a "facebook game" and within 1 week in alpha status with ONE post to friends we already have 10,000 players. He is studying Zenga's money making setups and asking how we can replicate them. I suggested lower prices to entice the dollars out of the wallet faster.

Honestly, if you can find some half-assed coders and a http server with mysql and php on it and have a game idea that is somewhat fun you can get a million players easily. I suck at PHP,HTML5, JS and it's working. IF he actually hired some skilled people and some skilled artists, he would be doing far better.

The number of facebook games out there that are crap are amazing and they have players..

Re:Not only Zenga. (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697576)

I am helping a friend make a "facebook game" and within 1 week in alpha status with ONE post to friends we already have 10,000 players. He is studying Zenga's money making setups and asking how we can replicate them

Why don't you do something of use to society instead, like deal drugs?

Re:Not only Zenga. (1)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697916)

Utilizing existing infrastructure to generate wealth with no more investment than personal time is of benefit to society. Creation, even of trivial objects, is of more benefit than blind consumption.

All of that is to say, making a shitty Facebook game is of more societal benefit than posting snarky comments on Slashdot. But just barely.

Re:Not only Zenga. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702336)

Utilizing existing infrastructure to generate wealth with no more investment than personal time is of benefit to society.

By itself, no, it's not.

Re:Not only Zenga. (1)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702640)

With the reasonable expectation that a certain percentage will be returned in taxes and increased spending that will then, in turn, be utilized in some part to maintain the existing infrastructure, it is.

Dollars come from somewhere and go to somewhere, and a bit is lifted off the top every time it changes hands. That's what keeps the wheels turning.

Re:Not only Zenga. (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34697968)

Your game idea will be stolen and replicated "slightly" better by Zynga shortly and you will lose half your player base.

Re:Not only Zenga. (2)

Orleron (835910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698340)

I find that hard to believe. Maybe it's not impossible because your game may be really good, but I've personally been feeling the Zynga oxygen cutoff for my games. It's taking a helluva lot more than one post to friends. What's your game called?

Re:Not only Zenga. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34702818)

I'd like to try your game, it must be good. What's it called?

crack (2)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698050)

Cityville is like crack. I played it for a couple days and can see the appeal. It's a social Simcity. You can also send gifts and invites directly to your Farmville neighbors in Cityville so it quickly converted millions of FV players to CV players.

Farmville (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34698170)

I play farmville, and they advertise cityville in farmville, considering farmville players are the type of people to play a game like cityville. Apparently they were right. Kinda like advertising Playboy in Penthouse magazine.

no one remembers Sim City (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698236)

i've spent days playing it starting on the commodore 64 where it was just a bunch of squares. farmville and others are just slightly altered versions of Sim City and Civilization. so many people play them because they are on facebook and don't need to spend $50 plus extra DLC money to play the game

Re:no one remembers Sim City (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705478)

Actually those games are nothing like Civilization and only superficially like Sim City. There is really no strategy at all, it's basically a matter of putting in the time to get the levels. If you work at it, there's no way you can "lose" because you can always continue with a little more time and effort (or take a shortcut with money).

Amen to that (1)

Orleron (835910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698278)

Zynga spends literally tens of millions of dollars per year on advertising. If you look at their player curve, the number of players stayed at less than 200 for almost a month during pre-release, and then the day they turned on their advertising, it shot up to millions. In short, they bought players.
I have two facebook games Rogue Agent [rogueagentonline.com] and World of Avlis [worldofavlis.com] and I have a bear of a time getting players for them:
1) Because I don't have tens of millions to spend on ads
2) Because I don't have the flashy flash stuff that Zynga has yet, even though the games are well done

Re:Amen to that (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698984)

The other problem you have that they don't is player-base size. They don't have to spend anything* to say: "To get this cool object in Farmville, join Cityville!"

* They don't have to spend advert dollars to do that. Yes, they do have to spend coding, art, and QA dollars to get said object in the game.

Ah, so it's just like... (2)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698388)

Where it used to be an egalitarian environment in which any developer could strike it big, over the last year it has become top-heavy with larger developers accruing exponential success, and cutting off oxygen to smaller companies by default.

Interesting, so it's like that thing... what's it called? Oh yeah: EVERYTHING, EVER.

Just be aware of sudden extra requirements (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34698498)

I was playing Farmville happily and suddenly Facebook said, "give us your mobile account number or you can't get back into your account".

Not a big problem- create new account that doesn't require mobile number- point friends at it, continue (well at least for now). But any progress made in Zynga games lost. So now I view Zynga games as something that can be lost arbitrarily without warning at any time.

So I quit. Took about a week and now that time is filled mostly with other equally dumb things. OTH, I am drawing again a little too.

Re:Just be aware of sudden extra requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34701470)

I was playing Farmville happily and suddenly Facebook said, "give us your mobile account number or you can't get back into your account".

The "warning" you're referring to - the one that appears on the right of your wall, and says "secure your Facebook account!" - doesn't say what you claim it says. It's asking - not requiring - you to provide an alternate way for FB to contact you in the event that both your FB account and your main point of contact (say, a gmail account) get hacked. I checked the page in question, read about what FB wanted and why they wanted it, and opted not to provide the info. Guess what? I can still access my account just fine.

As mentioned by Sophos [sophos.com] a few days ago, the "warning" is poorly worded and unnecessarily alarmist. Even so, I call shenanigans, because I think you're lying. Anyone with more brainpower than a short-bus student could clearly see that the request for additional contact info is optional.

Re:Just be aware of sudden extra requirements (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34701688)

Nope. This one locked it. It *required* a mobile number. I have a "we'd like your mobile" number on the new account.

The other wanted my mobile number- it would send a text to the mobile number that I would type in as a password to unlock my account.
I posted on zinga and the post got over 150 responses of similar hits. It apparently happens frequently if more than oneperson uses facebook on your internet connection.

Cost per user acquisition (2)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699670)

After reading two pages of the really long and drawn out article; I didn't see any mention of the simple social gaming metric that the industry talks about: Cost per user acquisition: It costs every game about $1-3 per user they acquire, usually through direct advertising.

App Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34699864)

We must begin to educate the public about the threat to open apps on social networking systems. This is the only way legislators and regulators can be made to pay attention to the takeover and lockout that is happening as we speak.

Zynga is the Devil (1)

Celestialwolf (1656075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34699972)

I'm not sure how, but somebody in Ireland got my credit card info and tried to spend about $140 at Zynga. Fortunately, my card company contacted me and we canceled the card. What the charge was for, I have no idea; I don't really know/care how Farmville (or etc.) works, but I just hope actual money wasn't about to be wasted on virtual crops or something...

Re:Zynga is the Devil (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34700896)

How does that make zynga the devil?

Re:Zynga is the Devil (2)

Celestialwolf (1656075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712198)

Well, that in and of itself doesn't. Personally I already hate them because of their worthless, time-wasting Facebook apps that everyone seems to be suddenly using. This just made me annoyed even more, despite the fact that it's not directly their fault. In all honesty I couldn't think of a good title for the post. *shrug*

Half the CafeWorld players aren't active (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34702226)

Supposedly Zynga says I have 250 CafeWorld "neighbors", but half of those are "vacant" Zynga accounts.

They had some forced activities that drew everyone into CityVille, so their total numbers - based on looking at the many hundreds of "potential neighbors" my new CityVille shows - have about HALF of those accounts not playing - e.g. level 1 or level 2. You get to level 2 within the first game session tutorial.

And they provide no easy method to "drop" inactive "neighbors" to buff up their numbers.

Joke's on you Facebook! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704084)

Hah! I am a socially akward person who doesn't even interact with people online. These 'social network' games only work if you have a...well, social network. Since I don't have one, this effect doesn't work on me! Ha ha...oh...
I think I just made myself sad.

70 million emails & a ton of spam (1)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34705250)

CityVille is requesting permission to do the following:

        * Access my basic information
            Includes name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information I've shared with everyone.

        * Send me email
            CityVille may email me directly at myemailaddress@somewhere

        * Post to my Wall
            CityVille may post status messages, notes, photos, and videos to my Wall

---

So, as you can see, installing CityVille gives Zynga your email address, which they haven't had before. That's 70 million valid email addresses.

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