After Freddy Got Fingered, we really shouldn't be surprised at the junk Hollywood will cast on the silver screen. Yet somehow we're still a little shocked that Farmville is making the move from Facebook to the local cinema, or at least that's what IGN was able to extrapolate from a recent interview with Toy Story writers Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen.
Zynga was founded in 2007, and then proceeded to sap as much productivity from Facebook users as was possible. The maker of games like Farmville and Cityville filed for an IPO back in June, but reports are claiming that the company is now backing off, and could delay the offering until November or later.
Getting bombarded with notifications from Farmville, Cityville, or any of their mutated clone offspring can be annoying, sure, but Braid creator Jonathan Blow thinks that's not even the half of it. Yep, someone's calling games evil again, but this time, we actually agree with them.
Everyone at the Max PC headquarters is busy getting ready for the Holidays and CES, so you'll have to forgive our slightly-shorter-than-usual No BS Podcast #159. In the ring this week, Gordon and Nathan tag-team some of your hardest tech questions. Then, during the Rant, Gordon deliver's the metaphorical People's Elbow to Farmville, the grocery store, and Jimmy Wales' face.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are not standing by.
Show of hands, how many of you play Farmville? Now keep your hands up if you own or plan to purchase an iPad. Everybody else, go grab a gun and shoot everyone in the leg that has their hands up. We kid, we kid -- natural selection will take care of itself.
In the meantime, all you iPad toting, Farmville loving miscreants can have the best of both worlds, as Zynga announced its popular game is now available on Apple's magical tablet.
Farmville is already being played by more than 60 million people around the wold, with players receiving in excess of 500,000 virtual gifts in the game every 24 hours, Zynga says. But for all its success, Farmville has been tied to privacy concerns on Facebook, with the Wall Street Journalclaiming it's one of the titles blatantly ignoring users' privacy settings by sharing personal info with advertisers. Prior to that, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus admitted to sleazy business tactics early on in attempt to earn a buck, such as offering "users poker chips if they downloaded this zwinky toolbar" that he himself said he "couldn't get rid of it" once installed.
Who said the Internet is for porn? According to a recent study conducted by the Nielsen Company, nowadays the Internet is predominately used for two things: social networking and gaming.
Unsurprisingly, a whopping 22.7 percent of online time is spent on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which actually sounds like a bit of a conservative estimate to us, seeing as the magic of cell phone technology means that – for us, at least – Facebook is always only one five-second stretch of boredom away.
Online games, meanwhile, snagged a silver medal in the time-devouring contest with 10.2 percent, catapulting them ahead of email's 8.3 percent.
Interesting stuff, huh? What we're wondering, though, is how long it'll be before all our web activities are rolled into one writhing, Katamari-like conglomerate. After all, tools like Facebook are already replacing email, and games like Farmville encourage you to bug your buddies until they embark on an addiction-based journey of equal parts self-loathing and rural discovery, all so you can have your crops fertilized one time. It's a big loop. Games are becoming more social, and social networks are becoming more game-like. Meanwhile, everything else that Nielsen listed – instant messaging, email, videos, etc. – is getting gobbled up by social media's giant, unhinged jaw.
And that's just the present. It's all at once exciting and utterly terrifying to imagine what our media-centric, almost-disturbingly interconnected future holds if things continue at their current pace. Or, you know, you could just read Snow Crash.
Google isn't particularly well known for keeping secrets, but according to TechCrunch the search giant has quietly pumped anywhere from $100-$200 million into Facebook developer Zynga to help develop a new "Google Games" web portal. If the rumor proves true Zynga would most likely play a key role in running the service, and provide Google with critical social graph information that would no doubt be beneficial in the development of "Google Me". The micro transaction approach taken in most Zynga products presents a huge revenue opportunity for Google in the gaming space, and would give them another application for Google Checkout, a PayPal competitor that has never gained any kind of critical mass.
Neither Zynga or Google responded to a request for comment, but branching out in this direction only makes sense for a company that recorded over $350 million in revenue during the first 6 months of 2010 and forecasts sales of over $1 billion by 2011. Even if you aren't a fan of Farmville, it's hard to not be impressed with Zynga's performance. With more than $500 million in seed capital raised over the last 12 months alone, we wouldn't be surprised to see virtual farms start popping up not just at Google, but even Yahoo or Microsoft portals as well.
It would appear PC Gaming is alive and well, and flash won't be going anywhere anytime soon. Sorry Steve.
Facebook was reluctant to setup a payment platform in the past due to security, resources, and third-party competitors. However, that’s all out the window and they have got their sights set on the big bucks now that they’ve teamed up with Zynga, makers of Farmville and Mafia Wars.
Zynga’s games have hooked over 75 million monthly active users, with a third of those people online harvesting or “pulling jobs” on a daily basis. Facebook’s plan is to pull a 30% fee off every transaction made using the Facebook payment structure. The virtual goods market in the US alone is forecasted to reach $1.6 billion dollars in 2010. $835 million of that comes from social gaming products, such as those developed by Zynga.
It is unlikely Facebook needed another revenue stream, but they aren’t going to ignore the low hanging fruit dangling from the social gaming money tree.
Facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars carry a rep for being diabolically addictive, but who knew they were just downright diabolical? Apparently, the productivity-whacking timewasters were birthed in a hive of scam and villainy. Straight from the horse’s mouth:
“I knew that I wanted to control my destiny, so I knew I needed revenues, right, f***ing, now. Like I needed revenues now. I funded the company myself but I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away," said Zynga CEO Mark Pincus. "I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this zwinky toolbar which was like, I don’t know, I downloaded it once and couldn't get rid of it.”
Fortunately, Pincus recently vowed to turn his games into sleaze-free zones, which will involve removing offers that ask for players’ addresses, phone numbers, and things of the like.
“We have worked hard to police and remove bad offers. Nevertheless, we need to be more aggressive and have revised our service level agreements with these providers requiring them to filter and police offers prior to posting on their networks. We have also removed all mobile ads until we see any that offer clear user value,” Pincus said.
As a result, other Facebook/MySpace gaming companies -- like Offerpal -- have begun cleaning up their acts as well. This is especially surprising for Offerpal, who – before a recent CEO switcheroo – was vehemently denying its involvement in any backdoor dealings.
Honestly though, people, if you willingly gave your address and phone number away to a game called “Mafia Wars,” you only got what was coming to you. Just sayin'.
Your Econ class probably never covered Facbook, but maybe it should. According to the Silicon Alley Insider, Facebook is "beating the s--- out of its numbers," and it's all thanks to Zynga's virtual goods.
Farmville, Texas Hold'em, and other social games are turning out to be cash cows. By some estimates, Zynga is pulling in a staggering $580,000 per day, with a good chunk of that coming from selling its users virtual goods. To ensure the well doesn't dry up, Zynga has spent a reported $50 million on Facebook ads.
"Zynga is an aggressive player in this space … possibly the most aggressive," writes AllFacebook.com. "There is two parts to their strategy. The first is to fund developers that have game ideas, promote them, and for those that are successful, they snatch them up, often at pennies on the dollar. The second is outright acquisition of successful application that they didn’t fund."
While Zynga has proven that selling virtual goods can be booming business, the future looks even brighter. There's talk of Zynga and Facebook teaming up to build a "Pay With Facebook" payment system that would both take on Paypal, and allow the companies to cash in twice on selling virtual goods.