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Why Do You Want To Kill My Pet? Zynga Shuts Down PetVille, 10 Others 377

Dr Herbert West writes "Executing the cost-reduction plan CEO Mark Pincus announced in November, Zynga has shut down, pulled from the app stores, or stopped accepting new players to more than 10 games such as PetVille, Mafia Wars 2, FishVille, Vampire Wars, Treasure Isle, Indiana Jones Adventure World, Mafia Wars Shakedown, Forestville, Montopia, Mojitomo, and Word Scramble Challenge. Comments from gamers on the shutdown notices included things like 'my daughter is heartbroken' and 'Please don't remove petville. I been playing for 4 yrs. and I'M going to miss my pet Jaime.why do you want cause depression for me and others. Why do you want to kill my pet?' For players that have invested a lot of microtransactions and/or time, this comes as a heavy blow."
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Why Do You Want To Kill My Pet? Zynga Shuts Down PetVille, 10 Others

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  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:08PM (#42444067)

    Let this be a lesson to people that haven't learned it yet.

    In other news, you're a heartless bastard... And so is Zynga. True as it may be, teaching our children and teenagers (the main market for Zynga games), and to a lesser extent young adults, the harsh reality of capitalism by inflicting emotional pain is not socially acceptable. They don't know any better and have had precious little opportunity at this point to learn that. The "lesson to people" attitude is mean-spirited and absolves Zynga of its higher level of social responsibility because its primary audience are people who simply don't know any better. It's no different than scammers preying on the elderly to extract money from them; It's going after people who are vulnerable and defenseless.

    Saying this is just a "lesson" is a moral justification for predatory social behavior.

  • Re:Virtual Money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:15PM (#42444133)

    These constructs in games are very similar to financial products, which are also logical constructs and virtual products:

    1) "A financial product is about as conceptual as you can get,” says Wilson Ervin, a senior adviser at Credit Suisse. “You just need paper and ink.”-- The Economist magazine []

    2) "In an even more blunt description, Tourre calls the CDOs he produced "intellectual masturbation" and likens himself to Dr. Frankenstein.

    "When I think that I had some input into the creation of this product (which by the way is a product of pure intellectual masturbation, the type of thing which you invent telling yourself: 'well, what if we created a 'thing', which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?")" -- CNN / Money []

    Be wary of those who tout the financialization of society, as it results in a "house" which generates these logical constructs, which it then sells to people. They have value because people value them, like Petville pets or Farmville tractors. All of these things are neither goods, nor services, but logical constructs. They're inherently volatile. The financial world is built on logical constructs - currency is a logical construct, as are stocks and bonds. Currency is durable construct because it makes life easier for people versus barter. Stocks are volatile - "Shares of ownership in a company." Bonds are volatile - "Promises to pay."

    Anyway, just wanted to point out the similarities.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:17PM (#42444165)

    And why should we care about this fluff, anyway?

    You clearly don't have children. You will learn what a Bieber is, and why iTunes gift cards and not the President, is the current incarnation of the anti-christ. You will discover the joys of cleaning out a malware infested computer in your teenager's bedroom on a biweekly basis, to the point that you, in a fit of anger, spend a weekend building a vm image with a pxe server and restoration image so your solution to their pepetual inability to listen to you and then try to actively override any security features designed to keep them from screwing it up is "press f12 and wait an hour, and no bitching about your 'lost music', dumbass." And you will also learn why a random sampling of teenager's glowy rectangles show that Facebook is almost always on it... and thus, Zynga is as well.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:20PM (#42444205) Journal

    At least this should serve as a warning to those who trust such a shitstain company as Zynga, the biggest bastards in the gaming industry (to their own employees at least...Ubisoft and Nintendo may be worse to customers).

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:27PM (#42444299) Homepage Journal

        They've stepped up their bastardery too. I got a spam today where a "friend" (someone I'd never heard of) invited me to play "Ruby Blast", which is on of their games.

        The links are legit, they go to their game, so it's not a phisher. It's just them being rude. I've been blocking all their apps, as people start spamming me with FB invites.

  • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <> on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:33PM (#42444355) Journal

    Did Zynga hire some jackoff from an 'enterprise solutions' firm, who thinks that customers will just have to migrate to the shiny new product because support is no longer available for the old one?

    My guess? Yes. May this turn out to be a lesson for everyone involved:

    • — To consumers: Vendor lock-in always bites you in the ass. ALWAYS. Learn to identify forms of lock-in and avoid them wherever possible, or know up-front that what you're spending your money on today can be taken from you tomorrow and be okay with this prior to the transaction.
    • — To corporations: When you screw your customers, or make them feel like you're screwing them, you lose them. The trick to keeping customers and extracting more money from them over a longer term is to keep them happy; underpromise, overdeliver, and never take away what has already been delivered (with legal exceptions, of course). A secondary lesson to take from this is: If you've been in the industry for any length of time, nobody knows your industry as well as you or your competitors; an outsider can not help you and a competitor will not help you; consider all offers of assistance with this in mind.
    • — To "Enterprise Solutions" douc^H^H^H^Hfirms: If you have fewer years of experience in a given industry than the company you're trying to "help", insist on payment up-front; you'll likely be near the bottom of the list of people to pay after the liquidation.

    Also, why the fuck do unordered lists on /. not get bullets?

  • by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:42PM (#42444451)

    While they provided the game for free, it did take some manpower to make..

    Not really. Zygna is all about copying other people's games in order to minimize the need to do any actual work.

    From the CEO himself: "You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @05:02PM (#42444647)

    Its education, in that it provides a small example for a kid to roll around in his head without as much pain as any bigger real world example I can think of. I ask again, whats your superior suggestion to teach "the harsh reality of capitalism" with superior defined as causes less pain to the kid?

    Your standard /. car analogy was not very good, although I respect the effort to uphold /. tradition (seriously). I'm guessing your point is you don't like bankruptcy laws, no-fault insurance, or the existence of uninsured motorist coverage because of payout disparity depending on wealth?

    The "toughen up a bit" is not to make me feel better (none of that stuff ever happened to me, although I suppose if it did I'd be tougher now) the point is to make the kid less brittle when something bad happens to them. The old argument of "make sure you have a pet, so the first death in the family the kid experiences is merely his goldfish, not grannie"

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @05:35PM (#42444909)
    Another reason why abandonware should immediately lose copyright protection.
  • by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <> on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @05:37PM (#42444919) Homepage

    Ever heard of how they strong-armed third-parties back in the NES days?

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @05:37PM (#42444925) Journal

    See the 3DS EULA and remote bricking.

  • by Joe Branya ( 777172 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @07:03PM (#42445619)
    I'm almost 70 and never post here. Two-or-three years ago I knew a very warm-hearted young woman going through a very hard time in her life. She discovered Farmville and I started getting the Zynga message stream... a picture of a sad little animal and a message saying "An abandoned little baby llama has just been found and it needs to be adopted... so lost and lonely". I knew the incredible effort my friend put into fostering real animals, the insane hardships she had seen and how little money she had. And now some of that miniscule amount of money was going to Farmville. She was living in her car here in Austin scraping by with her two pet dogs and a coutimundi she was fostering (I kid you not). One afternoon we took one dog and the coutimundi out for a walk on leashes near the U. of Texas, where I live, and ever since I've been elevated by the frat boys to "The Coutimundi Dude"- a serious promotion. I didn't really know what Farmville was costing her, so after the"baby llama" emails I looked at Zynga and how it worked. What they were doing- carefully and systematically preying on the kind and the needy like some sort of hyper-evolved emotional shark while the tech press politely applauded- made me madder than anything I'd seen on the internet in years. Today I emailed the following to my now much happier and more settled young friend: "I saw thew following story and remembered the time in your life when Farmville was so important to you. I never said anything at the time, because I know how much you loved animals, even virtual ones, but I did look at the company that made Farmville, Zynga, and got incredibly upset at the tactics they were using to make money. The idea of charging for add-ons didn’t bother me at all, but the way they systematically targeting the needs of people who were both kind-hearted and vulnerable because of the way they loved without reservation and yet felt so alone really pissed me off. I’m so glad that today you are in a much better place. I just feel sorry for those who created and so generously loved those disappearing virtual pets." I'll make no comment on Zynga and its well-deserved fate. But the rest of us (including me) should remember with love and respect the sheer neediness of some of those we make for and sell to... or just meet on the street,and try to do a little better by them in 2013. Happy New Year.
  • by Mabhatter ( 126906 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @07:07PM (#42445641)

    I believe the point is that adding $15 to an MMO is pocket change if an average person making $15 per hour plays the game more than a few hours a week. The "cost of time" to play the game (versus doing something else) is way more than $15 per month for many players.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @07:27PM (#42445837) Journal

    Oh, it can be an "investment" all right. Take my parents, for a start. No, seriously, take them ;)

    They used to take trips into France and whatnot every weekend, buy the most expensive cameras to photograph stuff, etc. It cost a bunch, lemme tell you. They used to be in the red as far as their credit card limit went every month end.

    Then I got them addicted to WoW. Fast forward some years of being on WoW every waking hour when the servers aren't off for maintenance. No really, they do most of the shopping on Wednesday mornings. And now they actually have money for a change :p

    Sounds to me like getting to keep one's money would technically qualify as a return :p

    Plus, with Blizzard skipping maintenance on some Wednesdays, I think they even lost a few kilos. Think of the health benefits, man. Surely that counts as a return :p

    Or take my getting them addicted. Sure, I had to sink some time into answering stuff like "HELP! I'M DROWNING!" followed by (I swear I'm not making it up) "WHAT CAMERA TO TURN UPWARDS? NO, I DON'T HAVE A CAMERA! I LOOKED IN ALL BAGS AND I DON'T HAVE A CAMERA!!!!" But after that? They've been out of my hair for years now. Plus now mom has more interesting stuff to talk about when she calls. Not that she calls as much, either. Those newbies aren't gonna just kill themselves in the warzones, you know?

    I don't know about you, but I'd say that's worth something. That's my return on investment right there :p

  • 2012 Worst CEO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cpaglee ( 665238 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @11:01PM (#42447193)

    Probably why Pincus was voted the 4th worst CEO in the USA in 2012 []

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright