Whenever I see my News Feed on Facebook I see a lot of people playing Farmville, Frontierville and now Cityville. With various requests like “Friend is out of energy!”, “Friend has stopped by your homestead with a hand drill” and “Friend has wood to share!”
Over the years I have had numerous requests to join and play these social games and I have always refused. “Why?” Mainly because I cannot see the point and see it as a total waste of time. That leads me to the question “So why are they so popular?”
So I asked my friends who play these games and they said “It is great for chilling out.” And “I like seeing how my friends are doing.” and “I like helping my friends out.”
So by creating virtual villages, cities with avatars and being asked to carry out tasks for rewards and helping friends out is being very sociable. There seems to be various reasons why people play these games but everybody I spoke to was passionate about how they could grow their homestead or city and expand!!!!
A study by NPD that revealed that 20% of Americans spent time playing social network games like FrontierVille. The games are produced by a company called Zynga which makes online social games. Zynga which has 235 million monthly active users. Produce the games FarmVille, FrontierVille and now CityVille. Impressive statistics!
Why produce the games for free?
Each of the games use a 3D matrix model for playing the game. Mark Pincus co founder of Zynga Game Inc. The games are found on Facebook. In addition to making their own games, Zynga has created a network which allows third party developers to become part of the Zynga network.
According to analysis carried out by Steven Carpenter. It is estimated that Zynga generates $180 million per annum in profit. He also estimates that Zynga single handedly makes up over 45% of the market for social gaming.
Carpenter credits Zynga with being the first company to achieve large scale financial success on the virtual goods model, which allows Zynga to make millions out of the %1 to 2% of its users that are willing to buy items.
So here is the answer: Zynga create the games for free they make them very socially interactive, offering incentives to players to post to their Facebook wall and most importantly offer users the ability to purchase virtual goods. This generates over $15 million per month for the company from the small percentage of millions of users who purchase virtual goods.
The games are addictive and have a very large captive audience. With a small percentage willing to spend money on virtual goods for their virtual world in turn making Zynga the largest and most profitable social gaming company on the planet.