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Google Social Networks The Almighty Buck Games

Zynga Investment May Herald Google Games 186

Posted by Soulskill
from the getting-off-on-the-wrong-foot dept.
A post at TechCrunch claims knowledge of large investments from Google into social game company Zynga, makers of FarmVille and Mafia Wars. The amount of money involved is not small — somewhere in the $100-200 million range — and could facilitate Google's expansion into the games market. Quoting: "The investment was made by Google itself, not Google Ventures, say our sources, and it's a highly strategic deal. Zynga will be the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year, say multiple sources. Not only will Zynga's games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games. And I wouldn't be surprised to see PayPal being replaced with Google Checkout as the primary payment option. Zynga is supposedly PayPal's biggest single customer, and Google is always looking for ways to make Google Checkout relevant."
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Zynga Investment May Herald Google Games

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  • Relevant. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:49AM (#32866510)
    Personally, I'm always looking for ways to make Paypal less relevant.
    • Re:Relevant. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SquarePixel (1851068) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:53AM (#32866548)

      Personally, I'm always looking for ways to make Paypal less relevant.

      The funny thing is, PayPal is mostly just relevant in the US and other western countries. Other countries have better online systems with full encyption, added security and several ways to use their system, and people happily use these to pay their phone and tv bills and everything else. You can also top up your account by buying one of the several coupons from the kiosk near you.

      It's actually quite funny how US people put up with PayPal and their shitty and insecure system.

      • It's actually quite funny how US people put up with PayPal and their shitty and insecure system.

        It's actually quite funny what people in other parts of the world put up with that we do not. However, in Paypal's case I think it's more a matter of ineffective regulation than anything else.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sortius_nod (1080919)

          That's why I laugh at US citizens crying about PayPal. For PayPal to operate in Australia they have to adhere to Australian regulations, so I've never actually had any real problems with them. We have strong consumer protection laws (providing people are willing to use them) so screwing over customers isn't a huge option.

          Maybe instead of crying foul in PayPal, cry foul on your consumer protection laws. Oh wait, you want small government. The prices you pay for your supposed freedoms.

          • by yoyhed (651244)
            I'd rather have the choice not to use PayPal here in the U.S. than be forced to follow the laws of a government like Australia's. Censorship of media is one thing that comes to mind.

            I also use PayPal for hundreds of dollars of transactions each month. I've had no issues - I pay the 3% fee for incoming payments, and I pay the $1.00 ATM fee to get out my money in cash as soon as I can.
          • by mrmeval (662166)

            A government that can give you everything you want can take it all away. We're something like 12 trillion in debt. Paypal is trivial compared to that.

      • by moreati (119629)

        Well lets make them more relevant :). What are the names of some please?

      • by hey (83763)

        Do you have any examples or URLs?
        Maybe us Westerners can use something else.

        • by citizenr (871508)

          what URLs? every bank has online transactions, money are transferred few times a day/immediatelly (depends on the bank/system). Online Banking is free and dead simple.

      • by jonwil (467024)

        Here in Australia, I can transfer money from my bank account to any other bank account in Australia with ANY bank and I dont pay a cent. (other larger and greedier banks may have different fee structures)
        And I dont have to worry about my account being frozen or transactions being reversed because the other guy filed a complaint.

    • by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:56AM (#32866566)

      Right now some of us in California are looking for ways to make Meg Whitman less relevant.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kyrio (1091003)
    • What's wrong with PayPal?

      I'm not arguing, I'm genuinely curious.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kyrio (1091003)

        Everything. Locking accounts to make up money that they lost. Having money stolen from you because someone decided to keep what you've sent and also file that they didn't receive it (or other types of situations like this). Massive fees. No contact information. Stealing donation money.

        • Everything. Locking accounts to make up money that they lost. Having money stolen from you because someone decided to keep what you've sent and also file that they didn't receive it (or other types of situations like this). Massive fees. No contact information. Stealing donation money.

          That's a good start.

  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:54AM (#32866550) Homepage

    [Google Search] World of Warcraft

    Did you mean: World of Googlecraft?

  • Crap Flash Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Sunday July 11, 2010 @10:56AM (#32866564) Journal

    This is more likely to herald the entrance of Google into crap, very buggy flash games with unsubtle ways to get children to bug their parents to pay for very expensive pixels to put in their crap flash game.

    • Re:Crap Flash Games (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zerth (26112) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:06AM (#32866634)

      I'm rather surprised Google would invest in Zynga, considering their reputation for working with spyware, scam deal sites, personal information harvesters, and other things that Google would warn you about if you clicked on them in Chrome.

      Not that it matters much, but this actually tarnishes my opinion of Google a bit.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Aliotroph (1297659)

        Perhaps they took that into account, thinking they might clean that up a bit while they go along. It would make no sense at all for most businesses to do something like that, but Google makes strange business decisions.

      • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Sunday July 11, 2010 @12:10PM (#32867060) Journal
        The terms of use are also very slimy [zynga.com]

        You waive your right to sue, to join others in a class action or other collective lawsuit, to filing an injunction,

        Their privacy policy also sucks [zynga.com] - remember how facebook leaks your personal data - zynga admits it:

        . We may offer you the opportunity to submit other information about yourself (such as gender, age, occupation, hobbies, interests, zip code, etc.), or we may be able to collect that information from social networking systems on which you have used Zynga Games or SNS Apps ...

        We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services, Zynga games and other users of Zynga, to supplement your profile.

        Yes, zynga is a spyware business.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cylix (55374) *

          Well being as how they publicly admit to do everything awful in the universe to make a buck and stay afloat I'm not surprised.

          To the guys credit he was pretty much right on. The people who would read the article and actually worry are the ones they were not targeting. Basically, any informed viewer of their applications they knew they were already going to make less on.

          He was also a bit prophetic and wagered that the scum bugs would be pushed out of the business as it legitimized. It's a bit like a wave in

        • Waive your right to sue? That's pretty outrageous... Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract?
      • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @07:14PM (#32869962)

        I felt the same way when I read this.

        I guess it's "Don't Be Evil... just invest in someone else to be Evil for you."

      • by dangitman (862676)

        I'm rather surprised Google would invest in Zynga, considering their reputation for working with spyware, scam deal sites, personal information harvesters, and other things that Google would warn you about if you clicked on them in Chrome.

        Well, Google also bought Doubleclick, so I don't think they have any reservations about buying dodgy companies.

    • by Beale (676138)
      It's okay that they'll be buggy, though, since they'll just be beta versions.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Ill go one step further and predict if they stick with this path, it will be their eventual undoing.

    • by jadin (65295)

      My first thought was that this is a sneak attack on facebook.

      First they buyout facebook's most popular app(s), then add them to Google products, and discontinue the facebook versions. Offer a 'bonus' for using it on Google if needed.

      But if I had to guess, people who have spent $100+ on their farmville game etc, will have a strong desire to not throw away that "investment", including following it to a competitor's social network. Especially since google's buzz or wave is free, and it's not like they force yo

  • With Zyngas past indiscretions I am surprised that Google partnered with them.
  • by mr_lizard13 (882373) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:07AM (#32866642)
    Wow, how many experience points did they get for that!
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I imagine they got around 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 XP or so.

      .

      .

      .

      (Blargh, stupid repetition filter is stupid.)

  • I can't wait for the pointless shit games to hit the Android market.

  • I feel (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:16AM (#32866708)
    I feel sort of out of touch I have no idea who zynga is, did they do something important at any point in time?
    • Re:I feel (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tukz (664339) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:35AM (#32866820) Journal

      Don't know if it's important, but they had a significant impact on casual games (and possibly also micropayments in same category).
      As the article states, they made games like Mafia Wars and FarmVille on Facebook, which are extremely popular.

      Zynga has a higher revenue than Facebook itself.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Google would've probably been better off buying Popcap, the games are quite good and a worthy show piece for HTML5 based gaming.
    • Re:I feel (Score:4, Informative)

      by Surt (22457) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @12:15PM (#32867108) Homepage Journal

      They became the dominant provider of social games, to the tune of being able to pay about a thousand salaries, and are close to becoming the largest gaming company in the world (I think they only have 2 ahead of them, and they are closing in fast).

    • they waste loads of time and energy. satan is very much pleased with them.

    • by jandrese (485)
      IIRC they're one of the largest game companies in the US. They're also made out of pure evil, which makes the google investment puzzling at best.
  • by shway (1614667) * on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:24AM (#32866756)

    This probably sheds some new light into Google's sudden defense of Flash blog post from June 29

    http://apiblog.youtube.com/2010/06/flash-and-html5-tag.html [youtube.com]

    Investing in a bunch of Flash games means they have to now start propping up the Flash platform instead of only touting the virtues of HTML5.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by trapnest (1608791)

      This probably sheds some new light into Google's sudden defense of Flash blog post from June 29

      No, no it doesn't. Why do you people refuse to accept that HTML5 is simply not ready for primetime and get over it. No, it's got to be some secret plot from microapplegooglesoft.

      • Uhhh... Apple refuses to support Flash on its mobile devices. I think your Megacorp should have been Micro'dobegooglesoft.
  • Perhaps their intent is to help them port their games to HTML 5 and showcase it. I am not personally one who plays these types of games (ever), but they certainly have huge followings. Getting these to HTML 5, then saying "Gee, I suppose you need an HTML 5 browser. Oh, IE doesn't work? You don't say!" seems to be what I'd say is Google's motivation. With their rabid followers who need to keep their farms healthy and mad cow free (or whatever it is they do), they could really push a LOT of people to HTM
    • by selven (1556643)

      Google has been getting pro-Flash lately, with their recent blog post [youtube.com] and the integration of Flash into Chrome. It looks like a strategy against iPhones and iPads more than anything else.

  • by Sowelu (713889) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:27AM (#32866774)
    If my Google account starts showing up in random places like my Facebook used to (back when I still had a Facebook account), and if I ever see a single Farmville style friend request show in my email, I'm dropping my gmail/whatever account and not looking back.
    • Me to. Have considered this for a while. Never been comfortable with how much they know about us.

      Can anybody recommend a good paid email host?

      It's not going to be fun changing all my account's email addresses but could set up a redirection while still changing over. It's not as if I even use the Gmail interface, which is slow.

      • When you do switch, pick an email address based on stability and longevity, don't just take what the next email host offers you. People often fail to recognise that these to are separable things.

        As an example, lots of people in Finland use iki.fi, a non-profit society that exists just to provide stable private email addresses for people living in Finland (they don't do hosting or anything it's just about the addresses). I assume this awesome invention has been made elsewhere as well... I purchased my own d

    • Google cares. Honestly.

      Money is the language of corporations, and Zynga / Bookface generate more per hour than you make in a year. They're not going to miss you. They're not going to miss the entirety of Slashdot. We are the informed minority, and our protest will be drowned out by the sound of 30m $0.99 digital livestock purchase, or a $0.59 pixel rake.
  • Zynga are evil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gozu (541069) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @11:48AM (#32866918) Journal

    But Paypal is also evil.

    I feel the same about this that I felt about the Iraq war and Saddam Hussein.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Enderandrew (866215)

      How is PayPal evil?

      Full disclosure, I'm a PayPal engineer.

      • by trapnest (1608791)
        PayPal has locked the accounts of me and a few of my friends for bullshit reasons and refused to do anything about it. Together we've lost close to 5,000USD.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Enderandrew (866215)

          I have a friend who has worked in Fraud for years and years. I wouldn't call him evil or a dick. In fact, he's one of the better people I know. He went through training to become a Sheriff so he could help people even more, but PayPal ended up bringing him back to work for them.

          When people tell me their account was closed for "bullshit reasons", the most common cause for that is someone putting up a PayPal donation link, claiming their site is a non-profit/charity, and not getting off their ass to file pape

      • What would help things is if paypal decided to link up with a network of "real" banks and have accounts backed by a real banking account.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Enderandrew (866215)

          PayPal did have a proper bank before way back in the day. It was the first online bank, called X.com I do believe. X.com is now used for developer tools.

          Banks are regulated differently. I know PayPal has looked at trying to either have a proper bank back end again, but hasn't yet. Banks aren't seen in a very positive light right now, which may be part of the decision Walmart also stopped their efforts at forming a bank.

      • Arbitrarily stealing users money with no recourse? you got a lot to learn
      • by gozu (541069)

        They overcharge for transactions. Paypal's commission should be a flat 1% on all transactions. Not 3-4% + fixed charges.
        They have a horrid customer service with a "fuck you" attitude.
        They do not protect the sellers of services or electronic goods (redeemable coupons, product keys, etc.)

        But the engineers who work there are very competent people. I have no technical complaints so rest easy on that front.

        Pro-tip: Paypal doesn't care about you and you shouldn't care about them, much less defend them.

  • Don't be evil (Score:4, Informative)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @12:14PM (#32867104) Homepage

    It would seem that "don't be evil" doesn't include not doing business with the likes of this asshole [techcrunch.com].

  • What a deal, the creators of Farmville and Mafia Wars, two games that would be a better fit for the early 90's.

    There are some funny YouTube videos on both of those games.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odBDAcOEKuI [youtube.com]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kNjC50BzB0&feature=channel [youtube.com]

  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday July 11, 2010 @01:36PM (#32867630) Homepage Journal
    since advent of cds and industrialization of gaming, games increasingly became brutal capitalism products, purely made to make the maximum profit over them without paying much attention to the gamers' desires. all games, gaming studios either have gone the way of becoming extremely bloated, little gameplay - max visuals, max gore/extremism range, or gone the way of maximum simplicity, minimum effort way. all are done to target the general populations most exploitable characteristics to just make the box sell. rest is not that important. and the studios who were doing real games have either had to go the same way, or got bought by conglomerates and made to choose the same way.

    thus some google influence may be good in this sector. we need more gameplay, more fun, entertainment in games.
  • by drachenstern (160456) <drachenstern@gmail.com> on Monday July 12, 2010 @12:18PM (#32875444) Journal

    How is it that nobody has mentioned that this is just the sort of thing to help launch Google Me? Google needs someone on their social network to bring people over, and as many people as like playing these social games, it won't be that hard to get people onto Google Me from using this.

    So between Zynga leaving Facebook but people loving the games and people being upset with Facebook, now's the perfect time for Google to make deals to get people onto their social network.

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