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Sad Day In FarmVille: Facebook's New Game Developer Program

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the too-bad-so-sad dept.

Businesses 52

Nerval's Lobster writes "If struggling online-games developer Zynga thought things were bad before, they could be turning a whole lot worse: Facebook is rolling out a pilot program for small- and medium-sized game developers. 'Through the program, we will work with select game developers and provide promotional support for their games in placements across our mobile apps,' reads a note on the Facebook Developers Website. Facebook is promising those developers access to the social network's '800 million monthly mobile users,' a variety of analytics tools for measuring their games' impact, and a 'unique targeting ability' for finding the right audiences — all for a cut of the games' revenue. 'We will be collaborating deeply with developers in our program by helping them cultivate high-quality, long-term players for their games,' the note added. Zynga benefited mightily from its relationship with Facebook, but other developers have subsequently realized they can utilize many of Zynga's tricks — and the social network's enormous audience — for their own ends. King is now Facebook's top app developer, largely on the strength of its Candy Crush Saga game. If Facebook encourages more small- and medium-sized developers to jump into the social gaming, it could fill the arena with even more competitors, which could prove bad news for the already-reeling Zynga. But for Facebook, the benefits are obvious: if any of those tiny-for-the-moment developers create a hit game, the revenues will come flooding in. That would supplement the social network's ad revenue, all while ensuring it doesn't need to overly depend on a single large developer with a set portfolio of games. Zynga has already been suffering from gaming-studio closings, games being shut down, and a declining user-base."

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52 comments

Seinfeld Called (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429793)

They want the Jerk Store back.

headline (5, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 9 months ago | (#44430235)

At first I was confused by the headline, but then I realized tha

Re:headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44430485)

Yo, Slashdot, I not gonna let you finish, but Farmv

Re:headline (1)

Akili (1497645) | about 9 months ago | (#44431507)

How weird. It's like someone mentioned Candle Jack in this thre

Re:headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499723)

Oh, come on. Stop being so childish, all this Candlejack nonsense is gett

Send me an invite.... (5, Insightful)

leon.gandalf (752828) | about 9 months ago | (#44429807)

so I can block that app as well.

Sure. It's the "Facebook" app. (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 9 months ago | (#44432115)

From the FB developer's site:-

Program details

Mobile Games Publishing is a new pilot program to help small and medium-sized developers take their mobile games global. Through the program, we will work with select game developers and provide promotional support for their games in placements across our mobile apps.

This is FB's monetisation plan for mobile, apparently. My guess is that you will get an Admob-like bar or its equivalent within the FB mobile app.

Zynga (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429809)

Couldn't Zynga benefit from this too? If they're smart and quick, and able to develop new games using these tools, then they could eliminate some of the heavy lifting of developing a game and benefit from this stuff too.

Maybe my question seems sort of obvious, but I guess I'm more pointing to is there something with the way that Zynga is that prevents them from using this toolset? It's bad for Zynga because of increased competition, but it can also be good as it may strip away some of the layers of stuff they had to do on their own such as analytics tools, while they still retain significant resources to focus on game development. So is this really bad for Zynga?

Re:Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429925)

I think the idea is that Zynga have long benefitted from a close relationship with Facebook that games them an advantage over the competition. The is Facebook calling an end to those days.

Re:Zynga (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | about 9 months ago | (#44430075)

So the headline should read:
Company selling pointless games running on a platform wholly based around the idea of transient crowd whims faces long-term strategic challenges.

I think the appropriate quip is "News at 11".

Re:Zynga (3, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about 9 months ago | (#44430513)

I agree about transient crowd whims - that's precisely the way to call it. Calling games pointless is what I have a bit of trouble with. Is entertainment really only to be valuable to person A if it submits to some random person B's values?

Most days I don't play any computer games. Some days I feel like playing KSP running cargo missions to resupply some stations. Other days I feel like trying to do gravitational assists without any mods. Some other days I may feel like playing the almost mindless but nevertheless fun Papa's Freezeria or Quake IV. Both are equally almost mindless, although one is more violent than the other :) Yet some other days I may do some zooniversing. All of those activities are equally entertaining to me, yet involve vastly varying levels of intellectual engagement. Just because I'm not doing orbital mechanics, but rather simply transcribing old ship logs doesn't mean it's pointless to me.

I'd strongly debate the pointlessness of entertainment in general: if it makes you happier, it presumably has some value. I doubt the humanity would go very far with zero fun along the way. We'd all end in suicide, sooner or later.

Re:Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429929)

but other developers have subsequently realized they can utilize many of Zynga's tricks

Couldn't Zynga benefit from this too?

Zynga's tricks include copying other developers' ideas, games, graphics, etc. I'm not sure they'd do well copying themselves.

If they're smart and quick

But they're not. They're poorly managed, not agile, and won't be able to react to this option (a polite way of saying "returning to their old tricks") until other developers have succeeded.

Re:Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429941)

[Start of] long answer: As we know from the study of economics, in entrenched industries the matter of Barriers to Entry is blah blah blah blah

Real answer: Submitter/editor knows that Slashdot hates Zynga, so a story about something that might cripple Zynga will get more views than a story about how Zynga will be getting a new IDE.

Re:Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44430055)

But Zynga already has a few platforms to build their games on. They don't need these tools, the absence of these tools protected them before.

Sure, this might make some things a little bit easier but like the article says, it'll allow a lot more people to compete who previously could not.

Re:Zynga (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#44430063)

I'd assume that it's bad for Zynga in two ways:

By handling more of the backend work, it presumably increases the risk that some good-at-games, not so good at scaling web backends, indies will crop up, and increases the risk that more 'doesn't even pretend to put Zynga-level work into their 'games', just doubles down on the evil' developers/spammers will take advantage of the increased ease of use to slash-and-burn what remains of user trust and willingness to pay even faster than Zynga was doing so, and with less up front investment and personal risk.

Zynga is a horrible schlock merchant, so having actually good games creep in would do them no favors (especially if those actually good games are directly beholden to Facebook, and so House Zuckerberg makes money if they succeed); but they've also made nontrivial investments in backend expertise to support their ever-shifting lineup of high-peak-traffic games. If cynical crap peddlers can enter the market with near-zero costs upfront, people just as evil, and twice as hungry, as Zynga will probably start gnawing on the bottom edge of the market.

Oh yay, as if FB needed MORE pointless bullshit (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429811)

Because what I think when I log into FB is, "y'know, this is great, but it would be even better if there were 10X MORE bullshit spam postings from my friends on my wall written by games."

Librarians across the country (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429817)

if FarmVille shuts down, there will be mass suicide of Librarians across the county

Re:Librarians across the country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44430809)

No worries, these days there are plenty of Solitaire alternatives - you dont even need to run FacebookOS to play them

Troub? (5, Funny)

Baby Duck (176251) | about 9 months ago | (#44429841)

Sad Day In Slashdot: Headline Is Incompl

Re:Troub? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429899)

http://www.hark.com/clips/fzfwdkwxgt-falling-in-love-with-a-super-villain-is-trouble-with-a-capital-troub

Re:Troub? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429903)

Facebook's newest game sensation? Candlej-

Re:Troub? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44430435)

You did it double wrong.

Re:Troub? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44431307)

You have to say Candlejack first. And then he's polite enough to subm

FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429901)

FUD, FUD, FUD

Re:FUD (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 9 months ago | (#44434503)

I see people replying "FUD" to every Slashdot story these days. I'm not sure what it means anymore. Oh, I know "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt" - but it is how it's used in context that I don't get.

Re:FUD (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#44436201)

I see people replying "FUD" to every Slashdot story these days. I'm not sure what it means anymore. Oh, I know "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt" - but it is how it's used in context that I don't get.

Zynga is publicly traded.

If Facebook is doing something which might lead to eating Zynga's lunch (so to speak), that's the issue -- it's certainly doubt it you own stock in Zynga.

And since the entire summary is about how this relates to Zynga, I assume that's the people the FUD applies to.

To me it's more "company gets successful on Facebook, others follow suit with Facebook's help, film at 11" kind of story. But, the long-term future of Zynga has zero interest for me.

This just means that Facebook is planning on helping develop more stuff for their platform in exchange for a cut of the money. And since Facebook want to make as much money as they can, it's pretty much what you'd expect.

Players? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429913)

"We will be collaborating deeply with developers in our program by helping them cultivate high-quality, long-term players for their games"

I thought the developers job was to develop high-quality long-term game play.

Zynga... (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 9 months ago | (#44429931)

The is the biggest software pirate I know. I don't feel sad for them.

Pirate how? (-1, Flamebait)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44430561)

How is Zynga a bigger pirate than FSF and Linus Torvalds, who cloned UNIX and made GNU/Linux?

Re:Pirate how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44430615)

You did not just go there, did you?

Re:Pirate how? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44430915)

If going there is the only way to encourage someone to explain exactly why Zynga's copying of function is any less defensible than FSF's and Linus's copying of function, then I have no choice.

I am so tired of Facebook (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44429979)

I ended up deleting my account last month. (Or at least I think it is gone now, got an email saying something bout 14 days)
At some point the app decided to disturb me when someone shared a picture or whatever. It used to be only when some wrote to me or replied in a thread I also had commented on. So I disabled notifications which also ment I would not get notified about a message to me.
Facebook also decided some time ago to send me emails if I had not checked my account for half a day, saying "someone wrote something!!! Go check it out", which I also had to disable.
So it seems that they have been working really hard at making sure that we have to check the damn thing all the time. Nagging you if you don't and if you try to disable the nagging you don't get the stuff you care about.

So I ended up saying fuck it, why bother trying to figure this shit out and closed my account.
And as I expected, only a handful of my "friends" noticed I was gone.

Also the last time I logged in. Two of my videos had been deleted due to copyright violations. As I remember, it was shot with my phone and was extremely uninteresting 20 second family party stuff. But the stereo was playing music so that might be the reason. Jesus Christ.

Economics 101 (2)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 9 months ago | (#44430133)

I think the business lesson here is clear. Whenever you're trying to evaluate the likely success of a business, ask yourself if the business is efficient for the market it covers or not. In the case of facebook games, a bigger company is less efficient, because there's no benefit to throwing dozens of developers at a tiny browser game for casual players. 2-3 people can develop a top tier game in this market, the trick is coming up with the right mechanics.

There's also no natural monopoly in browser games, unlike, say, a connection network like facebook.

Zynga should have stayed small, and just enjoyed it's huge profits from the early hits.

Can't all this just go away, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44430245)

I think I always hated Zynga, but now I'm realizing that I actually hate Zynga-like behavior. These games are not even meant to be fun. They're meant to make you feel bad enough to actually spend money. They are hurting humanity psychically. They must be destroyed.

Users with a functioning brain cell trouble Zynga (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#44430327)

Zynga's market share is declining not because of the competition from other game vendors, but because people are waking up to the fact that Zynga really only has three games under a bazillion brand names: the click and grind "adventure" that gives you little leeway to change the game's outcome; the farming game; and gambling games.

Zynga has never invented anything unique. They've just relied on their special arrangements with Facebook to get a leg up, and now that those special arrangements are coming to an end, they're finding they've wasted their time on same-old-same-old that no one wants to bother with anymore instead of actually innovating by developing and deploying new game concepts.

People get bored with click-and-grind once they realize they can't "win" unless there is something else about the game to keep their attention, like a real RPG offers with it's character development and choices along the way. Zynga offers you little to no such choices.

Re:Users with a functioning brain cell trouble Zyn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44430863)

Even "bad" games have followers. My issue is not with the games themself, their gaming-quality (which will be of different value to different people) or their likenss to other games (some of the most popular games are just "rehashes" of others - think Wolfenstein, or the was majority of the older (and very popular) point'n'click adventures), Tetris (and other puzzle-game) clones) it is with the underhandednes of their business.

So in other words, if they just made horrible games that somehow got popular, that would be just fine. its all the shady stuff that is bad.

Two dead men arguing with each other (4, Interesting)

assemblerex (1275164) | about 9 months ago | (#44430397)

Both Zynga and Facebook are doomed and clueless.

Social media is not multi generational. Sites become unfashionable.

Already young kids shun facebook and it's only a matter of time before facebook morphs into a 50's and over dating site.

The problem with getting unpopular is huge swaths of users are effectively dead ends for active users, so just like myspace you can message 50 people and get 2 replies.

Any social media site should be seen as having a maturity point, and a falloff to where it must morph into something else, like a dating site for whatever generation still uses it.

Re:Two dead men arguing with each other (2)

codepigeon (1202896) | about 9 months ago | (#44430647)

You bring up a point I don't seem to hear from any pundits or industry watchers (though I don't listen very hard either).

The excitement around facebook and mobile gaming is starting to drain on people. The smart phone revolution is over. People have gotten used to the new shiny and are starting to go back to their former entertainment.

When my mom says she is tired of the farm games and tired of facebook (of which only a year ago she would never spend more than a few minutes away from), thats when I know they are on a downhill slide. ....probably to a stable point, but definately not the peak they saw when it was all new tech to the 'non nerds'.

Re:Two dead men arguing with each other (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44430891)

I believe this is termed "the bubble bursting". It happened to the entire freakin Internet back in 2001. Everything that's overhyped eventually meets reality.

You can't stop the sig-er, bubble?

Sad day for non-game-players (2)

tverbeek (457094) | about 9 months ago | (#44430553)

Sounds like a sad day for anyone who doesn't play stupid games on Facebook, and just wants to use it for communicating with friends/family. More games means more annoying invites to block.

Strange title (1)

azav (469988) | about 9 months ago | (#44435529)

What does "Facebook's New Game Developer Program Could Troub" mean?

Is some guy called "Could Troub" the new game developer, or is there a missing ellipses in the title?

N.S.A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44436151)

there you have it as the masses get wind of it all they start not partaking
have a great spying fucking penis filled cock ridden day

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