Watching Charlie Rose the other night shook my world. He interviewed Mark Pincus, the CEO of the greatest social gaming network. Zynga has just been voted Best Overall Startup Product of 2009. FarmVille was voted their Best App. (application for the uninitiated).
Farmville is at the top of their popularity list. Over 60 million "farmers", more than in the real world. Grow delicious fruits and vegetables and raise adorable animals on your very own farm!
Where does this virtual interest come from? Because you can grow and harvest in no time? Without sweat and risks like bad weather? And you won't get your hands dirty? So here I am on my blog telling you how we toiled the soil, brought lambs into the world, and plucked chickens.
My Avatar: the New Virtual Farmer's wife.
Zynga was founded in July 2007 with the vision of connecting the world through games. Since then they've dedicated themselves to making fun and social games for people to play with their friends and have become the largest developer of social games on the web in the process. Zynga games provide a platform for players to express themselves and form deep social connections with their friends. Farmville is a game where you can farm with your friends, a social network. Got it? What's wrong with that?
All these games are playable on Facebook. No wonder people withdraw from the real world and chose an online, virtual --may I say Ersatz-- world? Remember the Tamagotchi of the late 90s? Where you could raise, feed and walk a dog? Sounds familiar? You probably guessed that I'm not a gaming or virtual reality person. "People really need to do something with each other" (Mark Pincus). Right. Other games include
Apps or phone application have become a big business. Pincus' guess is that approximately 8 billion apps have been downloaded worldwide. We have quite a few on our iphones: Get directions, and cheap phone lines, download books, or find a restaurant near you. Some people are certainly making some money on that.
To get started you link into Facebook. That's probably where you have your friends anyway. You create an avatar. That seems to be of utmost importance. How about a tanned, big-eared brown haired guy with a green goatee in dungarees with a purple Mohawk?
You start off with crop ready to harvest. For that you get gold coins - without having to bother going to the market. Fallow land is plowed in a second. You can buy new seeds at the market and sow immediately. After ten minutes, soybeans are 2% grown: Hey, Presto! Instant gratification!
You can actually spend money per Paypal or your CC and when you do a percentage goes to the Haiti relief fund.The background music is rather repetitive and annoying but there must be a way around that.
Interestingly enough, Zynga has no obligation to monitor or enforce your intellectual property rights, but has the right to protect and enforce its and its licensees' licensed rights including, without limitation, by bringing and controlling actions in your name and on your behalf (at Zynga's cost and expense, to which you hereby consent and irrevocably appoint Zynga as your attorney-in-fact, with the power of substitution and delegations, which appointment is coupled with an interest). Here in the nitty-gritty, it gets somewhat confusing.
agree that your User Content will be treated as non-confidential and
non-proprietary and will not be returned. You should also be aware that
submissions of User Content may not be secure, and you should consider this
before submitting any information to Zynga (Terms of Service).
No Posting Cheats, Hacks, Trojan Horses, or Malicious Programs! There, you have been warned. Posting Unreleased Content / Hacking Data Files and no real life threats!
According to my networking savvy daughter, your data are not secured: They steal from you. But with a warning along those lines here on site under Rules, there must a real risk.