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VC Defends Farmville, Touts Virtual Tractor Sales 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-the-economy-is-fine dept.
theodp writes "In a blog post, venture capitalist Fred Wilson gives his thoughts on ripe areas for tech investment in 2010 — mobile, gaming, new forms of commerce/currency, Cloud platforms/APIs, education and energy/environment. Asked to comment on scams and social gaming (he is an investor in Zynga), Wilson defended Zynga's Farmville: 'Zynga makes almost all of its revenue on virtual goods. I said in my etsy/san telmo post the other day that more tractors are sold every day in Farmville than are sold in the US every year. That's where the money is in social gaming. The "scammy ads" thing is total red herring that everyone got excited about but is almost entirely irrelevant.'"
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VC Defends Farmville, Touts Virtual Tractor Sales

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  • Re:So? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @11:34AM (#30631872)
    Very good game if you like turn-based strategy. Just one more turn...
  • by Wolfraider (1065360) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @11:40AM (#30631908)
    Easy, the tractors are basically free but to get fuel to farm more than half a screen costs farmville cash and that costs real money.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2010 @12:00PM (#30632004)

    In Farmville things either cost coins or FarmVille Dollars (FVD). Coins are easy to get: whenever you harvest something, you get coins. Coins are spent on the "mundane" things. Crops, some decorations, tractors, barns (red only), a small pond etc.

    FVD are difficult to get. You get one FVD every time you level. Or you buy them. FVD's are used to buy more exotic things: barns (in a variety of colors), a large pond, special purpose seasonal stuff, a different class of decorations, fuel for your tractor, etc.

    Now, you don't strictly need to have all these goodies, but as people play, they have the oppurtunity to get more stuff (of course), and you need to have a place for your stuff. The only way to get more room for your stuff is to expand your farm. Now, you can expand your farm by either having lots of friends that play FV, and then it only costs you coins, or you can buy a bigger lot, which costs FVD. If your the type of person that buys a lot of the specialty stuff, your already buying FVD so buying the larger farms isn't that big of a deal.

    Now, to specifically answer the question: Although tractors, seeders and harvesters are coin based purchases, the fuel refills are not. Now, you don't need to buy the fuel, you can wait a day and get a free refill, but if you have one of the larger farms, you will not be able to harvest, plow and seed all of it on the one refill. And since you have a very limited supply of FVD that you earn.... It becomes a habit that must be paid for.
     

  • Re:So? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @12:02PM (#30632016)

    AI is better but the interface is a pain. I don't need zoomable 3D battles of units, that's only interesting the first time you see it (like friggin' Battlechess.) I still say Firaxis peaked with Alpha Centauri.

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2010 @12:10PM (#30632060)

    The scam part is not in buying tractors or trading gifts, but in the "offers" that give you FarmVille currency in exchange for handing over your cell phone number, to which monthly subscription charges begin accruing without your knowledge. This usually comes hidden in a survey or game of some sort in which you either hand over the cell phone number directly (in the case of some surveys) or after playing, in order to get a PIN to let you access results from the survey or game. There's clearly no need for a PIN, as the results could just be displayed on the computer without one—the scammer just wants the cell phone number.

  • Um, tractors (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrslacker (1122161) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @12:15PM (#30632092)

    Except that tractors cost 30000 coins, which is easily obtained with patience, and doesn't cost any real money at all, certainly not the "FarmVille cash" - unless they've changed something recently.

  • Re:Um, tractors (Score:3, Informative)

    by karnal (22275) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @12:27PM (#30632166)

    I think the scam is that you have to use their in-game cash (Farm Cash) to buy fuel refills for the tractors/harvesters/seeders. They don't have a current way to either get fuel as a gift or to purchase it with coins - the in-game currency that you gain by planting and harvesting crops.

    Similarly, expanding your farm's area can be done two ways - with coins or with their Farm Cash. But - for those of us without 200 friends that play farmville on a casual basis, if you want to expand the farm you need to have X number of neighbors for each upgrade if you use coins.

    Also, I haven't found a way to get Farm Cash without actually spending real money. Hence, I haven't spent the money on it because like others here, it's just a nice break away from reality for a few minutes. If that means I'm slightly hindered in my "progress towards nothing" then so be it.

  • Uhh... (Score:2, Informative)

    by segin (883667) <segin2005@gmail.com> on Sunday January 03, 2010 @12:36PM (#30632230) Homepage

    I said in my etsy/san telmo post the other day that more tractors are sold every day in Farmville than are sold in the US every year.

    Well, at least you know why the economy is down the shitter, everyone's busy playing Farmville and not doing something productive.

    But who am I to judge, all I do is sit around and read Slashdot all day, so...

  • Re:Um, tractors (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrslacker (1122161) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @12:38PM (#30632238)

    Yes, fair enough. But the immediate suggestion elsewhere that buying tractors helps Zynga is false.

    I admit it, I'm level 40 - have been playing for a long time. I've never spent any money on it. You do get given FV cash occasionally on levelling up, but not enough to make a difference. I think I have 15 neighbors or something. I do my wife's farm too, which has helped with various bonuses, etc.

    Yes, the fuel thing is frustrating, since a tank is nowhere near enough to harvest/plough/seed, and you are reduced to thousands of clicks. However, some of the "holiday gifts" still available contain 1 or 5 tanks of gas, and next week is "free fuel week", whatever that means. No doubt of course as a promotion to encourage people later to buy it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2010 @01:29PM (#30632582)

    Did you read the article? Hell, even the first sentence of the Slashdot synopsis mentions it:

    "In a blog post, venture capitalist Fred Wilson gives his thoughts on ripe areas for tech investment in 2010 — mobile, gaming, new forms of commerce/currency, Cloud platforms/APIs, education and energy/environment."

    Good try, TripMaster Monkey, but you totally fail at being a smartass, like usual.

  • Re:So? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CrankyFool (680025) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:59PM (#30633738)

    It's worth noting that fuel is one of the things that you naturally collect over time in Farmville -- it takes about 8 hours for my fuel gauge to refill completely. Does mean you can't always use the tractor (or harvester, or seeder), but for me, given that the only real reason I have for using the tractor is to earn the King of the Plow ribbons, I'm OK with just using the fuel as quickly as I 'distill' it (partially because I have no intention of giving Zynga any actual money).

  • Re:So? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:37AM (#30637536)

    The "Scam" is in reference to some recent articles involving how the advertising works. Despite a lot of hype and "controversy", it turned out what they were really referring to is scamming the people who are advertising. For example, the advertisers were being told that when people clicked their ads it was because the ads were "targetted" and thus the advertisers felt they got a good bit of value because people were actually interested in their products. In reality, people were clicking the links because they'd get free bonuses in their games if they clicked the link.

    The scamming had nothing to do with micropayment systems.

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