Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There are a number of ways in which Zynga stands apart as a game company and manages to gain an edge over other such companies. However the most important aspect of Zynga's strategy is the fact that the company's games are integrated into popular social networking sites such as Facebook. The games are free to play, and offer people a fun new way to interact with friends, as well as meet new ones. The interconnectivity between players in these games gets people addicted and keeps them coming back for more; whether it be a larger, more flourishing farm in FarmVille, or taller, more impressive skyscrapers in CityVille. Zynga's partnership with Facebook allows them to reach many more people than traditional game companies. People that would normally not play games may see that their friends have started playing a game on Facebook, and in turn may decide to try it out for themselves. Zynga's games also allow players to invite other Facebook friends to play, which is another way that these games reach people in a way that other game companies simply cannot compete with. Zynga is able to monitor current trends among their users, which allows them to make a profit by giving players what they want. Some examples of ways that this has proven to be successful include the changing of colors and other features of in-game objects, then repackaging them as items to be sold. This has been done with everything from translucent fish from FishVille to the white tiger from MafiaWars. I have personally never bought virtual goods. In the debate between game choices based on data and game choices based on game designers, I would side with the designers. While I understand the importance that data has played and will continue to play in the gaming world, I believe that basing games strictly on data robs developers of creativity and instead we are left with games that boil down to little more than point and click. With all of the progressions being made by the rest of the video game industry today, the simplified, retro-nature of Zynga's games seems to be a step backwards for games in general.

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