The end of Zynga?
Perhaps I should have titled this post “A gamedev you’ll loathe,” because of the simple fact that Zynga is as close to the spawn of Satan I have seen in this world (besides whoever thought up “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” of course. What a bastard). Zynga, if you don’t know them (and you should), is the company that makes all of the “ville” game, most notably Farmville. They also are in charge of Words with Friends, Zynga Poker (duh), and more recently, Draw Something. They pretty much have a corner on the Facebook game market, and they certainly use their powers for evil. Listen to this quote by Farmville creator Marc Pincus:
“I knew that I wanted to control my destiny, so I knew I needed revenues, right, fucking, now. Like I needed revenues now. So I funded the company myself but I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away. 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.”
Wow, what a jerkwad. Not only are you the maker of some pretty dubiously legitimate games, but you also encourage your users to download, I dunno, MALWARE? Jeez. Sauron looks at you and just says, “Dang, dude.”
But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those of us who loathe Zynga with a flaming, fiery passion: they’re dying.
Yessiree! There has been news of Zynga’s stock tanking after the 2nd quarter profit reports came in. Not enough people are playing the existing games that Zynga made, and I guess they’re just not putting out enough new ones. What, Farmville, Cityville, Frontierville, Castleville, Yoville, Fishville, and Petville have saturated your market? AW, SHUCKS! That’s just too bad. Now, as for the 3 or 4 of you who are wondering if Zynga’s (hopefully) inevitable downfall is a good thing, let me explain some things to you about the company.
First of all, I think it’s clear from the above quote that they’re money-grubbing bastards. But there’s more to it than prompting you to install malware. The games themselves are all designed with a system in mind: you have a certain amount of “energy,” which you accumulate over time, that allows you to complete tasks. For instance, in Farmville, you plow fields, plant crops, harvest crops, and build structures (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong), with energy. As you expand your farm, energy becomes increasingly scarce, and you must either shorten the length of time between your play sessions (to get the maximum benefit from energy regeneration), or, in a more appealing route, you can pay REAL MONEY to buy energy. Yep. Paying real money for nothing. There are also tasks you must complete by getting an obscene number of friends to help you out on FB OR by paying real money. There are premium items that you can collect your coins and cash and pinch pennies over months to buy… or pay real money for them. Lots of these “pay to play” aspects have worked their way into all of Zynga’s games.
Now, I know that there is a fundamental disagreement about “pay to play” games. Many people say that they’re just fine, because you don’t HAVE to pay to play, and if one chooses to pay, they’re not paying for “NOTHING,” they’re paying for ENTERTAINMENT. While this is true, the amount of money you have to shell out to continue playing these games increases as you get through them. They are repetitive, and if we factor in how much work it took the developers to make said premium items versus how much you’re paying to unlock them, we get an hourly salary that even makes Blizzard employees drool. I believe strongly that if one is going to pay extra money to play something free, the additional gameplay and experiences you get to enjoy should be directly related to how much you pay for it. Consider the following:
Unlocking tomatoes, eggplant, and peas in Farmville is roughly equivalent to a month’s worth of World of Warcraft? Or perhaps it’s equivalent to an extremely kickass DLC for your favorite Xbox game?
Nope. Not a chance. These games are designed to suck you in (and your friends, through the incessant mass-delivered requests), and then, once you play often, you start running into everyday predicaments that are most conveniently solved by paying for the game. They don’t stop once you start paying, either. Eventually you run out of FarmCash (or whatever), and you must pay more to continue your lavish agrarian lifestyle. Utter balderdash, I say. If a game is free then make it free. If a game is worth paying for, ask people to pay for it. None of this “free to play, pay to win” nonsense.
So their business model isn’t working out anymore. Facebook is worried about it because they get 12 percent of their revenue from Zynga. Zynga is worried about it because they’re greedy sons-of-you-know-whats. But if their entire company goes up in flames? If I never see another Farmville (or any other ville) request in my entire life? If I download a mobile game I can play with my friends and I DON’T have to be bombarded with messages demanding my money? Well… there’s at least one person who WON’T be worried about the end of Zynga.
P.S. I’m sorry that I’m not as funny when I’m pissed off, but I’ve hated Zynga for a long time and vengeance is sweet.
Posted on July 27, 2012, in Miscellaneous and tagged Blizzard, blizzard games, Entertainment, Facebook, Facebook Games, Farmville, Flash Games, Gaming, Money-Grubbing Bastards, Online Games, Online Gaming, PC Games, PC Gaming, Video Games, World of Warcraft, Zynga. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.