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FarmVille Now Worth More Than EA 344

tekgoblin writes "Zynga, the creators of the popular hit Facebook game FarmVille, should be happy today as the company's worth has passed that of EA (Electronic Arts)."
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FarmVille Now Worth More Than EA

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  • Social games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by weachiod ( 1928554 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:24AM (#34048592)
    This just shows the power of casual games and social interaction within them, similar to Wii but even better.

    I can already see how many posts here will be about how dumb the game is and how only dumb people play it, but I don't think it matters. People like it and the company is making more money than EA. They don't have piracy problems, they have lower development costs and a have HUGE untapped market to gain that will most likely grow a lot more in the future as this all is still so new. But that they already passed the industry giant EA really shows something.

    And good for them and the people who play FarmVille and other social games on social networking games. I think it has been over 20 years that we have talked about how to get gaming to be more "normal" and how to get girls to game too - this is it. Let people enjoy the games they like.
    • Re:Social games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:41AM (#34048812) Homepage

      I can already see how many posts here will be about how dumb the game is and how only dumb people play it

      This was my knee-jerk reaction when I first heard of Farmville.

      Let people enjoy the games they like.

      After I got over my indignant nerdrage, this was the line of thinking I took. To me, a game like Farmville is a waste of time...but then again, I'm sure there are plenty of people that think putting 100+ hours into Oblivion or lord knows how many hours into MMOs is also a waste of time.

      "Different games for different lames", as a fellow gamer in my office put it.

      • Re:Social games (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NevarMore ( 248971 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:50AM (#34048952) Homepage Journal

        My wife likes to point out that me playing Civ III is just about the same as her playing Farmville. The only difference is that in Civ III I get to kill people.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by headbulb ( 534102 )

          There is alot more strategy to Civ III then Farmville.

          • We desperately need someone to do a +1 Godel and arrange their farm like a Go board.

            It would give entire new meaning to "Life or Death" questions for your farm!

          • Re:Social games (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:19AM (#34049402) Journal

            Does it make it less enjoyable for her? I'd say she probably is happy it isn't as complex and she can just poke around for a few minutes a day and be done with it.

        • I've just had a read about Farmville on Wikipedia to see if it's any more in depth than I expected, but it's not. It sounds like typical RPG style gameplay where the key element to success is simply playing a lot to rack up some XP, though I don't think there is actually any end goal.

          Civilisation might be similar overall, but it definitely requires a bit more skill and has more goals to aim for than simply the research and building more advanced units. Having to compete against CPU or human opponents certai

        • Re:Social games (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:13AM (#34049278) Homepage

          And you use strategy and planning, and actually think. Versus simply clicking on what's flashing. There is a huge difference between "traditional" games and Farmville type stuff. The majority of "casual" games are made for people who don't like thinking and just want to... do repetitive things I guess.

        • Minecraft's another good example. It's basically a 3D Farmville, or an antisocial Animal Crossing, and operates on much the same set of drives and play cycles.

        • Re:Social games (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:01AM (#34050140) Homepage Journal

          The difference is that Civ III is a game. Farmville is a drug. Zynga employs full-time psychologists and their "games" serve one purpose: Make you return and return and return.

          There've been some excellent articles including some with real research and investigative journalism. Anyone who still thinks that Zynga makes games has been living under a rock.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            The difference is that Civ III is a game. Farmville is a drug.

            All good games are drugs, and Civ ranks pretty damn high on that list. I mean, have you never experienced (or at least heard of) the dreaded "one more turn" syndrome?

      • Farmville has what I call "the catnip factor" which is a seriously strange but powerful effect. It reminds me of back in the old shop I worked at where the boss bought a whole box of Age of Empires I and Sims discs at a time when AoE II was long out. I said "WTF Doug? why do I gotta install this on everything?" and he said "Just do it and make sure the window units are all running it" and sure enough it wasn't 30 minutes after we opened that women started walking in going "Ohhh..Is that Age of Empires? And

    • Re:Social games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:42AM (#34048836)
      I think that this really shows that tying your game to the most popular social networking website in the entire world is a profitable thing to do. I seriously doubt that any of Zygna's games would be popular without Facebook, even if Zygna took the time to set up their own system of social networking for the games.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Xest ( 935314 )

        Probably not as profitable, but profitable all the same.

        It was almost 10 years ago now that Popcap figured out that casual gamers are one hell of a money spinner so it's certainly not a new realisation. Facebook just helped change the degree to which they could make money- Popcap now (or a year or two ago at Facebook's game spam peak) would also probably have achieved the level of income Zynga has.

        So I think Zynga would've still been succesful without Facebook, but I agree not to the extent they have been w

    • Re:Social games (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:50AM (#34048948) Homepage Journal

      My obligatory response to any mention of Zynga games:

      "Addicted to Fake Achievement" : []

      I was hooked on MafiaWars and Starfleet Commander for a spell. Quit cold turkey a few months back.
      I do have a whole new understanding of my hamsters on their treadmills now.

      • Re:Social games (Score:4, Insightful)

        by somersault ( 912633 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:34AM (#34049664) Homepage Journal

        Pretty much all computer games are about fake achievements - apart from possibly the drums on Rock Band/Guitar Hero, and soon the real guitar playing on Rock Band 3, which translate to skills that could actually have real world applications. The worth of real world achievements is probably pretty hard to define too though.

        For example you could learn how to do a backflip. It looks cool, and is certainly an achievement as it requires getting over your fears and perfecting your technique. But it is essentially useless. Is it a fake achievement? I'm not sure. People certainly think it's cool anyway. But, plenty of people must think Farmville is cool too.. if someone is happy with virtual achievements, then I suppose just let them be. They'll get bored eventually. Even what you consider real achievements will get boring eventually if you don't vary it up.

    • nah, it shows the power of psychologically manipulative games that are on an exploitative website (facebook), and how the two together can exploit users' own money.

      That's not success, it's more unethical success.

    • Re:Social games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Freedom Bug ( 86180 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:58AM (#34051210) Homepage

      Actually, a lot of people who play farmville DON't like the game. They feel trapped and socially obligated to help their friends out. That's why Farmville is evil. It's OK for those who like the game, but for those who don't but still play, it's pure evil.

      By the same measure, Civ V is partly evil. I love the game, but dragging at work because of "one more turn" hitting 4AM is just nasty.

  • Someone will say "hardcore gaming is dying" soon...

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:26AM (#34048618) Journal

    ... the company's worth has passed that of EA (Electronic Arts).

    Sort of nitpicking but if you click through to the businessweek source [] article, you'll notice that Zynga Game Network's value is an estimated worth while EA's value is a stock-market value. You should note that the former is estimated by SharesPost Inc. while the latter is determined by the Nasdaq Stock Exchange (in the past year EA has slumped almost 20%).

    That's not to say Zynga isn't worth this much, I had a very shocking realization one day as I went to 7 Eleven to pick up some milk. Zynga has partnered with 7 Eleven [] in selling and marketing FarmVille, Mafia Wars and YoVille items and 'currency.' That's right, like a phone card you can get a prepaid Farmville card at any 7 Eleven (at least in my area) and they were putting free items on Slurpees, Big Gulps, coffee, candy and fast food they sold in the store. So you'd get this little peel off thing giving you a bulletproof vest in Mafia Wars and then it'd tell you how to log in to use it. I bet that alone got a lot more people hooked on Facebook -- just to get to their free item in Zynga's game (and this is why I feel borderline justified to call it a stratagem instead of strategy)!

    For sometime now you've been able to buy WoW prepaid cards at 7 Eleven and there's been a handful of Xbox/PS/Wii games behind the counter but when I saw the shelf space and signs devoted to this stuff I knew it was going to dwarf all other forms of gaming very quickly. I know there are plenty of other reasons [] but when you see something completely outside the realm of where you think you should see a social game (I was going to 7 Eleven to pick up some skim milk), it really hits you right in the face how big this is going to get. Put yourself even spread out across the entire United States with ~10,000 locations of advertising and insertion and you're going to beat anything EA can put out with its billion of dollars. In order to compete with this, EA would have to put a demo disc of four different games targeting different ages for free on the counter of 7 Elevens (like a separate AOL disc for three different consoles and CPU). Despite how relatively inexpensive that would be for them, they aren't going to do that. And that's how Zynga wins out, the illusion that it's 'free' paired with efficient mass distribution of the free concept.

    • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:09AM (#34049224) Homepage
      Just for a bit of context, this "shocking" business model is imported from South Korea [], where pre-pay cards and promotions for Space Rabbit Teeny Witch Bikini Adventures have shared the behind-the-counter space with cigarettes, fizzy-rice-pisswater and rotgut for at least 5 years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aceticon ( 140883 )

      Three points:
      - There is more to the world than the US. Partnering with 7-Eleven does nothing to sell their stuff outside North America. The US is only 24% of the world economy and EA sells their games everywhere.
      - 7-Eleven will give loads of space to anything if their comissions are big enough. If for example they got a 50% cut on the action from Zynga while Blizzard would only give them 5% on WoW top-up cards, guess who they would give more space to? All things considered, if their profit is 10x as much pe

    • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:24AM (#34049506) Journal

      I ultimately wonder what that means for Facebook's privacy issues - knowing that essentially the developer gets a lot of un-needed info, Zynga essentially has as much power to abuse Facebook's privacy policy as Mark Zuckerberg but everyone just likes to hate on Z since he's the one who started it all.

      I remember there was a big issue a while back when EA wanted to put adverts into its games (I believe Battlefield 2142 was their prime pilot candidate) - and everyone made a big deal because it was like they were able to target you better because they knew what kind of games you played and it would be another venue for kids to get bombarded. There was a supposed rumour that the game was going to go through your browsing cookies looking for info but ultimately that wasn't the case (I don't think EA was stupid enough to try pulling that off without some backlash).

      But here you've got what essentially amounts to an even bigger invasion of privacy - and people don't even notice because the blame game currently points at someone else. Many sources have supposedly caught Pincus (CEO of Zynga) saying that scamming users was part of their business model, though its usually small articles on places like techcrunch, so I take it with a bit of salt. Anyways, the point is that everyone seems to be mad at Zuckerberg for creating this monstrosity designed to pluck your personal info - meanwhile someone else who is probably worse in moral integrity also has access to it.

      See this is where people say Facebook is the next Myspace. I don't think they've realized that Facebook elevated the game entirely, it's not just 12-30 year olds using it now - it's not just a fad social network for teenagers - its everybody, in almost every age group, and simple applications built into the platform have made their way into 711. So Facebook Apps are too addictive for most people to drop, so they don't want Facebook to go down. If Facebook isn't in threat of going down, Zuckerberg doesn't have to worry much. If Zuckerberg doesn't have to worry, then Pincus doesn't have to worry. Its a vicious circle where they both support each other and no one can stop them.

  • ...that quantity is not the same as quality.

    • Are you implying EA is making high quality games now?

    • Is it sad that I don't know which company you're talking about?
  • Facebook has an application blocking feature which keeps me blissfully oblivious that there are more Farmville users than citizens in my country.

    Not that I'm saying there's anything worse with playing Farmville compared to some other random game online, but I _just don't care_.

  • by TimHunter ( 174406 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:39AM (#34048792)

    "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." - H.L. Mencken.

  • Misleading at best (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whiteboy86 ( 1930018 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:42AM (#34048848)
    Facebook's change of policy could make Zynga worthless overnight. EA on the other hand holds hundreds of IPs, studios etc. These two are not even comparable or in the same league..
    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      Unless Zygna buys out EA. Which is something that could actually occur under the current situation.
    • As hard as it may be for many to believe (and despite the media hype), people are NOT leaving facebook in droves over privacy policies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SleazyRidr ( 1563649 )

        I think he's not so much talking about people leaving FaceBook.

        FaceBook are currently allowing third parties to put games on their network. They probably won't change that, but they could decide to try and make their own games and block every one else. Having your companies entire livelihood depend on someone else (who has proven themselves to be fickle in the past) is not a good long-term strategy.

  • I've always felt that one of EA's greatest challenges has been recognizing disruptive technology and capitalizing on it.

    This played out numerous times with the PS3 vs. Wii, PSP vs. DS, and especially regarding micro-transactions. There is a producer at EA who, since at least 2005, was not only aware of how important MTX was in Asia, but that we couldn't keep believing that cultural barriers wouldn't keep games on the pay-per-month subscription model forever here in the U.S. I remember going to his brown-bag

  • ..can you farm freely without limitations, inspections, and land usage restrictions.
  • Farmville may be worth more than EA but only because Farmville's worth is measured in these stupid coins that you can't use for anything.

  • My mom is retired and came to visit for a couple of weeks. I know I was pretty shocked seeing her play farmville, she's not someone who I would have ever envisioned playing videogames and yet there she is, a decent amount of time everyday playing Farmville. I have to give Zynga and Facebook credit here, that's where she got hooked. I don't even have a Facebook account myself and never tried Farmville but props for them for making a game that can be addictive to someone a gamer never thought he'd see pla
  • by oakbox ( 414095 )

    Farmville is worth more than EA like AOL was worth more than Time-Warner.

      . . . it's not.

    - oakbox

  • (can't remember the actual source) I heard that last year or so that Zynga made (grossed?) something like $240 million from Farmville et al.
  • oblig (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WhiteDragon ( 4556 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:08AM (#34050258) Homepage Journal []

    "Best trivia I learned while working on this: Man, Farmville is so huge! Do you realize its the second-biggest browser-based social-networking-centered farming game in the WORLD? Then you wait for the listener to do a double-take."

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken