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Sad Day In FarmVille: Facebook's New Game Developer Program 52

Nerval's Lobster writes "If struggling online-games developer Zynga thought things were bad before, they could be turning a whole lot worse: Facebook is rolling out a pilot program for small- and medium-sized game developers. 'Through the program, we will work with select game developers and provide promotional support for their games in placements across our mobile apps,' reads a note on the Facebook Developers Website. Facebook is promising those developers access to the social network's '800 million monthly mobile users,' a variety of analytics tools for measuring their games' impact, and a 'unique targeting ability' for finding the right audiences — all for a cut of the games' revenue. 'We will be collaborating deeply with developers in our program by helping them cultivate high-quality, long-term players for their games,' the note added. Zynga benefited mightily from its relationship with Facebook, but other developers have subsequently realized they can utilize many of Zynga's tricks — and the social network's enormous audience — for their own ends. King is now Facebook's top app developer, largely on the strength of its Candy Crush Saga game. If Facebook encourages more small- and medium-sized developers to jump into the social gaming, it could fill the arena with even more competitors, which could prove bad news for the already-reeling Zynga. But for Facebook, the benefits are obvious: if any of those tiny-for-the-moment developers create a hit game, the revenues will come flooding in. That would supplement the social network's ad revenue, all while ensuring it doesn't need to overly depend on a single large developer with a set portfolio of games. Zynga has already been suffering from gaming-studio closings, games being shut down, and a declining user-base."
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Sad Day In FarmVille: Facebook's New Game Developer Program

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  • by leon.gandalf ( 752828 ) <> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:35PM (#44429807)
    so I can block that app as well.
  • Zynga (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:37PM (#44429809)

    Couldn't Zynga benefit from this too? If they're smart and quick, and able to develop new games using these tools, then they could eliminate some of the heavy lifting of developing a game and benefit from this stuff too.

    Maybe my question seems sort of obvious, but I guess I'm more pointing to is there something with the way that Zynga is that prevents them from using this toolset? It's bad for Zynga because of increased competition, but it can also be good as it may strip away some of the layers of stuff they had to do on their own such as analytics tools, while they still retain significant resources to focus on game development. So is this really bad for Zynga?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:37PM (#44429811)

    Because what I think when I log into FB is, "y'know, this is great, but it would be even better if there were 10X MORE bullshit spam postings from my friends on my wall written by games."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:00PM (#44429979)

    I ended up deleting my account last month. (Or at least I think it is gone now, got an email saying something bout 14 days)
    At some point the app decided to disturb me when someone shared a picture or whatever. It used to be only when some wrote to me or replied in a thread I also had commented on. So I disabled notifications which also ment I would not get notified about a message to me.
    Facebook also decided some time ago to send me emails if I had not checked my account for half a day, saying "someone wrote something!!! Go check it out", which I also had to disable.
    So it seems that they have been working really hard at making sure that we have to check the damn thing all the time. Nagging you if you don't and if you try to disable the nagging you don't get the stuff you care about.

    So I ended up saying fuck it, why bother trying to figure this shit out and closed my account.
    And as I expected, only a handful of my "friends" noticed I was gone.

    Also the last time I logged in. Two of my videos had been deleted due to copyright violations. As I remember, it was shot with my phone and was extremely uninteresting 20 second family party stuff. But the stereo was playing music so that might be the reason. Jesus Christ.

  • Re:Zynga (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:11PM (#44430063) Journal

    I'd assume that it's bad for Zynga in two ways:

    By handling more of the backend work, it presumably increases the risk that some good-at-games, not so good at scaling web backends, indies will crop up, and increases the risk that more 'doesn't even pretend to put Zynga-level work into their 'games', just doubles down on the evil' developers/spammers will take advantage of the increased ease of use to slash-and-burn what remains of user trust and willingness to pay even faster than Zynga was doing so, and with less up front investment and personal risk.

    Zynga is a horrible schlock merchant, so having actually good games creep in would do them no favors (especially if those actually good games are directly beholden to Facebook, and so House Zuckerberg makes money if they succeed); but they've also made nontrivial investments in backend expertise to support their ever-shifting lineup of high-peak-traffic games. If cynical crap peddlers can enter the market with near-zero costs upfront, people just as evil, and twice as hungry, as Zynga will probably start gnawing on the bottom edge of the market.

  • Re:Zynga (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrNaz ( 730548 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:13PM (#44430075) Homepage

    So the headline should read:
    Company selling pointless games running on a platform wholly based around the idea of transient crowd whims faces long-term strategic challenges.

    I think the appropriate quip is "News at 11".

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:54PM (#44430327) Homepage Journal

    Zynga's market share is declining not because of the competition from other game vendors, but because people are waking up to the fact that Zynga really only has three games under a bazillion brand names: the click and grind "adventure" that gives you little leeway to change the game's outcome; the farming game; and gambling games.

    Zynga has never invented anything unique. They've just relied on their special arrangements with Facebook to get a leg up, and now that those special arrangements are coming to an end, they're finding they've wasted their time on same-old-same-old that no one wants to bother with anymore instead of actually innovating by developing and deploying new game concepts.

    People get bored with click-and-grind once they realize they can't "win" unless there is something else about the game to keep their attention, like a real RPG offers with it's character development and choices along the way. Zynga offers you little to no such choices.

  • Re:Zynga (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @09:22PM (#44430513)

    I agree about transient crowd whims - that's precisely the way to call it. Calling games pointless is what I have a bit of trouble with. Is entertainment really only to be valuable to person A if it submits to some random person B's values?

    Most days I don't play any computer games. Some days I feel like playing KSP running cargo missions to resupply some stations. Other days I feel like trying to do gravitational assists without any mods. Some other days I may feel like playing the almost mindless but nevertheless fun Papa's Freezeria or Quake IV. Both are equally almost mindless, although one is more violent than the other :) Yet some other days I may do some zooniversing. All of those activities are equally entertaining to me, yet involve vastly varying levels of intellectual engagement. Just because I'm not doing orbital mechanics, but rather simply transcribing old ship logs doesn't mean it's pointless to me.

    I'd strongly debate the pointlessness of entertainment in general: if it makes you happier, it presumably has some value. I doubt the humanity would go very far with zero fun along the way. We'd all end in suicide, sooner or later.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!