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Farmville, Social Gaming, and Addiction 251

MarkN writes "Facebook has been trumpeting the fact that Farmville, the most popular game on its site, has more users than Twitter, with 69 million playing over a month and 26 million playing each day. Combined with Facebook's announcement that they have hit 350 million users, that means one out of every five people on Facebook is playing Farmville. Gamasutra has a post taking a critical analysis of Farmville, its deceptively slow level grind, how a number of gameplay features end up as simply decorative since they aren't balanced with the benefits of raising crops, and discussing why Farmville succeeds so well in virally spreading itself and addicting people."
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Farmville, Social Gaming, and Addiction

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  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:28PM (#30344118)

    Hey, 1 in 5 people use this application. Remember that once the application has more than a million users, it can access not only your personal information, but everyone's personal information you can access. So, in short, the creators of Farmville have access to most, if not all, of the Facebook database. Moo, moo.

  • by Phillibuster ( 1232966 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:32PM (#30344140)
    I think it's more accurate to say 1 in 5 accounts have Farmville. I know people who have created several dummy accounts to help their 'friend' quoata. This also benefits Facebook by inflating their user count - how many of the 350 'users' are distinct people?
  • by Dr_Ken ( 1163339 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:35PM (#30344168) Journal
    Kind of begs the question "who is farming and for what?"
  • by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @01:57PM (#30344324)

    Except, most "nerds" wouldn't be caught dead playing this game.

  • Harvest Moon! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:07PM (#30344410) Homepage Journal

    If only FarmVille approached even a fraction of the things you can do in the Harvest Moon series.
    I think saying it's a glorified version is being too nice.

  • Re:2 thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:11PM (#30344452) Journal

    Err, if you know you're going to be out for awhile, you simply plant stuff that grows slower, or don't plant anything.

    I (admittedly) do play this thing on occasion, and I don't really see anything in there that would make your classic 'gold farmer' ('scuse the pun) see it as worth their time. Few folks buy the bucks in-game as it is, and unlike Mafia Wars style games, a bot would be fairly useless.

    I could've summed the game down in two sentences: It's a cute-but-silly animated time waster that occasionally begs you to buy stuff. Its general appeal lies in the fact that unlike most games, you help other players to advance instead of beating them down.

  • Noob gamers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:11PM (#30344456) Journal
    A lot of gamers have played Runescape, Diablo 2 or similar and experienced enough "why am I wasting my time", "but it's so addicting" to learn to resist starting a new addicting game. A lot of Farmville players likely haven't experienced this, so they have no built up immunity and will waste their time without a second thought.

    While you could argue any game is a waste of time, Farmville's grind only earns you the opportunity to continue grinding- no end goal, no endgame sandbox. At least when you have a goal in sight you can tell when it isn't getting any closer.
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:12PM (#30344462) Homepage Journal

    I wouldn't even go on my facebook page if it wasn't for the games. The people that use facebook are BORING.

    I really don't care what any of my friends had for dinner, the new dress they bought or what their little kids did that morning. Yes, clicking random bullshit in Mafia wars is more interesting to me than those things.

    I attempted to steer updates into the things that interest me (programming and technology) but gave up after one of my "friends" just posted a "what?" comment on it.

    I then realized that the social aspect of Facebook is completely uninteresting to me. I'll just stick with slashdot, forums, newsgroups, IM and IRC for doing my nerd chat.

  • by cpscotti ( 1032676 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:18PM (#30344516)
    It ever occurred to you that facebook has complete control of/access to your facebook account?
    (Yeah.. I also feel like killing someone when I see those "John Cusak found a black sheep on his farm")
    If you are really concerned about the data at your account why putting it on facebook at the first place.. the problem with paranoia these days is that some people are still shy about their data... internet is here fellas... privacy is something from last century when REAL farm people could "do it" behind the barn for years without no one knowing it..
    I also have those apps and feel in some way like you but not bc they could get my data, I hate them because they are fucking stupid!
    Seems to me that farmville success is only due to "Idle" people wanting to be in facebook all the time (to check that new photo their ex has shared).. they keep playing just as killing time...
  • by koan ( 80826 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:30PM (#30344630)

    Everyone where I works plays it, except me, it's total cheese but they love it...why?
    Because to them it's better than working.

  • by jonaskoelker ( 922170 ) < minus city> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @02:42PM (#30344720)

    I really don't care what any of my friends had for dinner, the new dress they bought or what their little kids did that morning.

    When you visit your friends, you do say "hey, nice new dress!", or "how're the kids doing?", or "so how's that diet you're on working out for you?", right?

    Oh well, if they're geeks too, I suppose "So did you hear about this new smartphone that runs Linux?" is more appropriate, but it sounds like you're dissing small talk rather than dissing facebook as a medium for small talk.

    The latter I agree with, the former I don't---even though I'm not a particularly well-renowned practitioner of said art ;-)

  • Re:Levels! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Relic of the Future ( 118669 ) <> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:08PM (#30344942)
    Nah, dude; women play other MMOPGs, and have been for a long time. They just pretend to be men so that guys who post off-topic sexist remarks to /. (and the guys who mod those guys up) will stop harassing them.
  • Re:Levels! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:25PM (#30345092)
    Not really, there are lots of MMORPG-style games that attract a lot of women players (think pet sites like Neopets), its just Farmville has a large amount of players because of A) the incentive to recruit (you can get gifts from people) B) The need to come back constantly (otherwise your crops die) and C) Coming back regularly improves the game (even if your crops might not die if you don't get there right as they are ready, but you can plant more crops then). Mix all that with the social networking side of it (anyone can see the farm and you can post pictures) and the decorating side of it (lots of items to decorate) and you have an MMO that many women enjoy.
  • Relax (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kehren77 ( 814078 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @01:40AM (#30349614)

    I don't understand why people get all pissy when you mention Farmville. If you don't want to play, then don't. But you don't have to hate people that do and call them noobs or sheep.

    The reason people play is the same reason people buy the Wii. It's accessible. Anyone can fucking play. Anyone. I know that for the hardcore player out there that just seems wrong, but you know what? The gaming world doesn't revolve around you.

    If you don't what to see that shit in your news feed, choose to hide announcements from that app. Simple. Other people have other opinions. Learn to accept it.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I'm level 41 in Farmville and have never paid a dime for content.

  • by RKThoadan ( 89437 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @09:35AM (#30351938)

    Nothing that gives you an excuse to buy another PC is bad.

  • by AP31R0N ( 723649 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:19AM (#30352526)

    What about watching millionaires play sports?

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.