Jul 13, 2012

[The End of Zynga?]

  Medium Difficulty weighs in on the decline of Zynga and the FB game fad:

"Zynga stock is already down more than 45 percent since its December 2011 IPO. Maybe becoming publicly traded meant that Zynga finally exposed itself to some smart money, which meant its game design began to be scrutinized by people whose profits depended on it. In 2009, before the IPO, Forbes uncritically accepted Zynga’s claim that part of its strategy was to make games in a variety of different genres, while CNN called Zynga “more than a one-trick pony” because it had not only produced Farmville, but also Mafia Wars, YoVille, and CafĂ© World. But now that investors have wizened up, Zynga has learned that it can drive its share price down just by announcing a new slate of awful games, as analysts “questioned whether Zynga’s new offerings were diversified enough” and raised concerns about the quality of the games."

  It's good to know that people besides gamers have started to 'raise concerns' about the quality of Zynga's titles. The apologists for that type of 'social game' can't claim it's just hardcore sour grapes anymore (if they're even still around at this point).

  Hopefully the fact that Zynga so openly pushed the entire Skinner Box-style game mechanic to the furthest level possible while maintaining only a veneer of 'gameplay' has encouraged future MMORPG developers to move past the tired grind and RNG-based carrot-on-stick standbys into creative, new (and less toxic) gameplay systems. Because I think one reason why Zynga games are so reviled by gamers is because they are, at their core, disturbingly familiar to many of us as exposing the type of mechanics at the core of many our own superior 'real' games, and on a certain level we resented having to acknowledge it.

Related Reading:
Zynga's Stock Fail Was Sadly Predictable
Zynga's Headaches -- Did We Not See This Coming?


Doone Woodtac said...

I think you have a point about the way Zynga bragged on the Skinner techniques. Bragging about how you manipulate players isn't flattering for the player nor the developer. But really, I think it was good that they revealed the kind of evil that goes into creating games for corporations. It's made it plainer than day to all who have seen it that money is the bottom line, not good games.

Pai said...

That and their rampant plagiarism sure didn't help win them any fans.