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Scott Jennings on the Zynga Phenomenon

It doesn't look like the apocolypse

The title: Farmville Killed Gaming, V-Worlds, And Your Dog (tongue-in-cheek)

The premise: “…it seems the talk of GDC 2010 was… Farmville. Specifically, how metrics-driven game design (such as what Farmville uses) will destroy fun as we know it.”

The response: “i take particular exception to your statements about killing dogs. zynga is a dog loving company named after my dearly departed dog zinga.” (Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga)

Other luminaries, such as Raph Koster, wade into the discussion at the comments thread at Broken Toys.

For what it’s worth, I personally agree with Jennings’ conclusion that games aren’t cannibalizing themselves as we know them in order to cater to new markets. I think metrics-driven development is a useful, exciting tool that helps developers better understand their audience. No-one can ever claim Zynga’s game lineup is not catering to some segment of society. Just because we’re used to The West Wing, doesn’t mean other people can’t enjoy American Idol, whatever you think of it.


About the author:  Chris Lewis is a British PhD student researching the intersection of software engineering and video game development. Read more from this author


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2 Comments

  1. Games Up
    Posted August 24, 2010 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

    I actually cant stand Zinga games most of them are based around mindless grinding and the only reason people play them for any length of time is because they dont want to lose their progress and hard earned items. Saying that tho Zinga has become a massive leader in the free online games industry and must be worth millions by now… congratulations to them!

  2. Iulian Jocuri Caini
    Posted June 11, 2011 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

    I’m of same opinion with games up. But Zynga has done a great job with their games. Anyway the player is the main part of these kind of games, and, after all, it is a business and Zynga knows how to manage this using the weakness of players. Please post more articles.