Monday, 28 November 2011

Social and Freemium Games

I wanted to do a post about freemium games. Although obviously they are nothing new with Farmville and Cityville having topped the leader boards of the most active Facebook games for quite a while now.

So what I find most interesting about games such as this is that they're unique in the way that they've bought gaming to a sector of the market that had previously been considered non-gamers, middle-aged women. However now the maker of these games, Zynga, is a multi billion dollar corporation making money through in app purchases and most recently cross promotion with other brands.

So much so have social games taken off that you can now even buy Facebook credits in physical stores with real money, buying virtual items. I can imagine that if this concept was explained to someone not even a particularly long time ago (Zynga was founded in 2007) they would not have believed that these games, which aren't even really games, or even particularly fun, could be making billions of dollars.

Again what is interesting are the games bad reputation, from what I can see is that they are generally disliked, their game mechanic is classed and 'boring' and 'sad' and few people would openly admit to having the biggest farm in their friends list is something to be particularly proud of. Yet social games continue to grow in popularity.
What is also worrying about these meteoric rise to fame that social gaming has had is that its players may be just as easy to leave as they were to join. Zynga seems fully aware of this and is developing more and more innovations to keep their players interested and most importantly spending money!

One of their newest releases is Castle Ville described as:

"The newest “Ville” in Zynga’s arsenal is CastleVille, a social game set in medieval times. The game, built by Zynga’s Dallas office, employs many of the social game dynamics apparent in FarmVille, but also includes a virtual marketplace and a soundtrack created by a 75-piece orchestra and full choir."

A 75 piece orchestra and full choir really shows Zynga's production values and how they believe it worthwhile to invest so heavily in their new products.

Do you play social games, or think they're a waste of time? Leave me a comment and let me know. :)

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