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Opinion: Zynga's headaches - did we not see this coming?
Opinion: Zynga's headaches - did we not see this coming? Exclusive
July 26, 2012 | By Leigh Alexander

July 26, 2012 | By Leigh Alexander
Comments
    52 comments
More: Social/Online, Design, Business/Marketing, Exclusive



As Zynga's stock plummets and analysts arrive late to the conclusion that the social game giant's Facebook business -- 80 percent of its bookings -- is in decline, we're faced with a lot of questions. What can the company do now? What implications will this highly-visible nosedive have on other social investments, and on the landscape at large?

Also, how did anyone who's played a Zynga game on Facebook not see this coming?

Zynga has long operated on Facebook through a business model that saw quick and massive user acquisition early on. When a game's numbers began to decline, it launched a new game that frequently did better than the first, but rarely enough to make up for shortfalls in its predecessor.

That Bottleneck

Zynga launched its IPO amid investor concerns about the sustainability of its Facebook business, and on Gamasutra, I analyzed the significant user engagement bottleneck by which Zynga ramped up players with early plentitude, steadily increasing the friction until long-term players were forced to pay. The company must have been betting on the fact that although plenty of players would be deterred, the ones that remained would be the "whales" that would carry the game through their higher-than-average spend.

And when a game reaches a certain critical point where new user acquisition plateaus and long-term users finally get bored, Zynga has historically launched new games -- from FarmVille to CityVille, through FrontierVille to Empires and Allies and CastleVille.

The company's network was enormous enough that it could cross-market, and it's not hard to see how players who are tired of one setting might be lured to a new one by the promise of sparkly design evolutions and fresh styles. As SimCity Social launched on Facebook, Zynga countered with The Ville, a trend-chaser that quickly gained popularity as CastleVille continued to bleed.

It'd be interesting to see the metrics-master's data on how many Zynga games on average an individual plays. But since the business model is basically the same across the entire portfolio, even its most loyal players will cross a threshold by which they can no longer be sold -- whereby if they've reached fatigue with the required microtransactions and notification spam of one title, they won't expect a new title will offer much more. Social game players are surprisingly savvy strategists, and it's not hard to conceive of them becoming inured.

I've compared the business model to that of drug pushers before -- start with freebies, make access easy, and then make gratification increasingly unavailable as the customer gets hooked. Drug dealers, though, try not to let their customers die. Zynga, I believe, was so focused on driving metrics that its games lost any relationship to fun and entertainment, and now nobody on Facebook wants what it's offering anymore. Even social gamers that like to spend money are finding much more appealing opportunities on the mobile platform, where they have much more control over their social network and can gain a much more significant experience value for minimal spend.

Do Analysts Play?

I wonder how many industry analysts took time to really understand the experience of playing a Zynga game and why its userbases aren't sustainable in the way a game like World of Warcraft's is. This isn't the first time that the investment landscape around games has been harmed by analyst and suits' poor understanding of how the game industry works. It often seems investors are putting money in the wrong places thanks to incomplete information on the "death of core games" that excludes digital, or due to big gold rushes toward charismatic gamification pitches that don't have measurable real-world impact yet.

It would be a shame if this massive mis-estimation of Zynga has a negative impact on other social game investments that might offer the alternative approaches that Facebook so desperately needs. It continues to amaze me that these notification-grinding engines are thus far the biggest part of what game design has had the opportunity to do with some 900 million eyeballs.

Finally, there's the question of potential for Zynga's own Zynga.com platform. Correctly recognizing that users were balking at having to constantly send out notifications to friends without being sure which friends really wanted that much exchange, the company's own network aims to alleviate that bottleneck for serious users who can exchange gameplay goods and tasks with one another, even if they aren't Facebook friends. The Zynga.com interface is a little overwhelming, and for most players to transition onto it, they have to be actively playing one of the Facebook games anyway, so it's unclear how much this solution will help Zynga bolster its lagging books.

Many analysts have been quick to point out that Zynga's Facebook user attrition has become more grievous as social games transition to tablets and mobile phones, platforms much better suited to the quick-session, idle-time nature of modern social and casual play. In that respect, Zynga might be partially a casualty of its platform transition, something investors would do well to take into consideration lest the social gaming baby get thrown out with the bathwater.


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Comments


Scott Siegel
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I would wager that the majority of analysts have not sunk more than trivial amounts of time into Zynga's games, or Facebook games in general. And I'd bet the same's true even more so for those buying and selling on the market. The problem with this business isn't the business itself; it's that not enough people understand how the business works, or why it works.

Carlo Delallana
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Could also be a case of confirmation bias. "I'm a smart person, and my behavior seems to mimic the trend. So therefore it must be true."

E McNeill
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Scott: You once expressed a worry that social games as a whole may get defined into a corner based on the thin conceptions of existing popular games. I think that this may have already happened, but the waning of Zynga's Facebook business may present a new hope: perhaps that image of the social game will die quickly and make room for a replacement? Maybe there can be a second wave?

Carlo Delallana
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In the words of Eddard Stark.. "Winter is coming"

Jeff Stolt
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I think this is definitely the case. Analysts tried the game, found it incredibly easy and rewarding to players, then stopped because they're not gamers. In other words, they never saw the point at which the game becomes more time intensive, requiring micro-transactions to continue.

The biggest indicator that Zynga was going in the wrong direction was that none of my diehard gamer friends were playing their games, despite being active on Facebook. If gamers aren't playing the games, you should ask why.

Todd Boyd
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@Jeff: "Die-hard gamer" was never their target demographic.

Michel Desjardins
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@Todd I think what Jeff means is that "it needs to be fun".

Martin Sabom
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...and then online gambling....

Timothy Dernick
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There are larger problems at hand than just the "bottle neck" described in this article. First of all is that fact that Zynga began spending lump sums of money on competition, spending more money on proven teams to eat competition rather than hire individual designers and developers at a more steady base; they grew far to big much to fast and are just now slowing the pace and hiring young designers at a lower price point. 2) Facebook has implemented a plethora of changes that are not necessarily game friendly in the hopes of becoming larger than a social network with games. Biggest of all is the timeline, which mixes game updates into the convoluted user interface of time line itself. More than anything though, the botched public release of Facebook has hurt the not only Facebook but all the major players that depend on it, so when Facebook loses users and its share fall, Zynga's fall as well. I do not see Zynga as an empire in trouble, but rather a large game company that is slowly falling back into the reality of development and reworking its production process to accommodate the changes around them. One only need look at the fact that Zynga is shuffling their studios around to know that they are making required changes to regain stability.

Scott Siegel
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E: I'm concerned that with this latest news, we've reached a critical mass of "chicken little" reactions to the social games business model. Second waves are always possible; I think there's still good business to be had in social, but good luck convincing shareholders and investors.

I think that unless you're profitable and/or comfortably bootstrapped, it's a dangerous time to be a Facebook-focused game developer.

Javier Arevalo
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Replace 'social'/'Facebook' with 'console' and you just described the past few years.

Michael Joseph
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I think this brings us full circle to the newspeak phrase "social gaming."

We know that a so called social game is NOT simply a game that is played on a social networking site. The defining feature and objective of social games are one in the same - virality. In a way, this makes them trojan horses. It makes them fundamentally dishonest.

http://trekmovie.com/2011/02/21/viral-video-angry-birds-take-on-s
tar-trek/

I don't think the impact of a lot of the negative online discussions about social games in forums all over the web can be discounted either. "Game X is uncool" too can become viral.

Scott Siegel
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"Social Gaming" is not a newspeak phrase. It's a phrase born out of the development side that is frequently misused and misunderstood.

I've been in the social game industry since 2008. I've always defined "social games" as "games designed to be played on social networks." And the key feature of a social game is not virality, but rather RETENTION.

It's like this: virality is worthless if your game can't retain its players. Retention means getting your players to not just play, but to replay. Social game design is about finding ways in which players can engage and re-engage with a play experience over a long period of time.

It's about following the same usage patterns as social networks. Light-touch, shallow experiences that reveal depth through continued engagement over a longer timeline. That's how Facebook works. That's how Twitter works. That's how the best social games work.

I shouldn't have to argue why no genre or style of game is "fundamentally dishonest," so I won't.

Michael Joseph
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Surely at least

"games designed to take advantage of social networks"

Not simply "played" on them.

As for retention, what good is retention if nobody knows about the game? So in my view, retention comes with virality. Virality is key to investing players in the game which otherwise on their own mechanics aren't really worth playing. When your friends play, your mom plays, your sister plays, you all keep playing.

Retention without virality on the other hand really is worthless when you need massive numbers to make the 2% (or whatever it is) of purchasing customers significant.

That said, i will concede that "virality" winds up depending on a lot of things. However as far as social network games are concerned, all of those things serve and depend on the built in game mechanisms that promote dissemination of the game.

Nobody has to argue anything around here... yet we do. And in the case of social games being dishonest, there are tons of critics with far more credibility than I who've said as much.

---
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/26433/Virality_Discovery_Persi
stence_The_Foundation_For_Social_Games.php

"Virality is the key reasons social games work otherwise they would simply be known as casual games..."
http://justingibbs.com/2010/01/07/facebook-looking-to-squash-the-
virality-of-social-games/

http://blog.trialpay.com/2009/07/top-5-elements-for-virality-of-s
ocial-games/


---

Jonathan Murphy
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Imagine what that $200,000,000 could have gone to. It could have fully funded hundreds of indie companies. There's a theme these past few years with CEOs. Get an insane amount of cash and horde it.

Most likely the bulk of the cash will sit in a vault for a couple decades rotting like food past expiration. Meanwhile people bicker about the morality of what they would have done. Not what should have been done.

Sean Hogan
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I am not claiming to know anything about that that 200m, but I wanted to note that it's funny what sums of money can do. 200m could result in 1,000 innovative and creative games....$200,000 is enough for a decent living making games for 3-4 years for two people, I'd say $25k/year per person keep you living just fine in some areas.

Or, 200m could create one big blockbuster game that doesn't really do anything for the medium...

Chuck Bartholomew
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@sean

Since when is $25k/year enough for a "decent living" that you'd like to maintain for the next four years? You must be single and splitting rent with a couple other people to pull that one off.

Though I agree with the spirit of your statement. $200M could fund a great many indie game projects.

Christopher Juriansz
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'Most likely the bulk of the cash will sit in a vault for a couple decades rotting like food past expiration.'

i dont know where you keep your money, but typically when you have money sitting in a vault it collects interest. and such a large sum usually gets invested in something or other. i agree that it could definitely be put to better use, but it's hardly 'rotting'.

Jonathan Murphy
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Let's say my country makes $100 a year and I alone hold $50. How much have I devalued the currency of my country? Horde x amount and the value goes down. $200,000,000.00 might not harm the US as a country, but it will harm the Game Industry as a whole.

Please stop making the excuse, rich people need to be richer than god to stay rich.

Lance Trahan
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@Jonathan Murphy: Congratulations, your warped sense of economics got me to register an account to respond.

"Let's say my country makes $100 a year and I alone hold $50. How much have I devalued the currency of my country?"

It only devalues if you stuff it under your bed or toss it in a cookie jar. If you take the money and "horde it" in a bank account, that money is used by banks to fund loans and invest, which puts that money into circulation. Your description of hording it takes it out of circulation, where the value will be eroded by inflation.

You should go brush up on basic economics. Anyone can become rich if they stopped spending their money on useless stuff, stayed out of debt, and invested some of their money saved into either a business of their own or another person's business (aka purchasing stocks). Most people will keep themselves in debt buying the next new thing, then quickly discarding it to buy something else that catches their attention. It's a cycle many people need to break.

[User Banned]
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Chuck Bartholomew
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I performed an experiment about a year ago. I'd never player FarmVille, which had been out for some time at that point. So I started the game up for the first time (or maybe it was the second time after I'd played through the tutorial section) and it took me five minutes to close all the popups that appeared before I could even play. In a casual gaming environment, that could be all the time I have to play.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Kevin Alexander
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Wow, well, i don't really like the way you choose to have fun either!

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Gavin Koh
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I have been playing social games to death (so I can review them) and find all of them rely on the following gimmicks. Here they are, and in no particular order of merit:

1. Initial Engagement - The first thing that pops up on a Facebook wall / email (or in the advert section) must be something visually appealing that will make him click on and install the game. The recommendation from a friend may make it easier in getting a potential player to give the game a try.

2. Underlying Theme - There must be that special something to catch the attention of a player - be it a theme close to heart ("Wow, I can build up my own gang?") or a genre that he likes ("Wow, that looks like Simcity on Facebook steroids!").

3. Addictive Game Play - The game play must give daily rewards - lots of shiny baubles to tempt players to return the next day.

4. Social Virality - The abilty to spread news about the game like wild fire comes next. The more easier it is to spam friends, the greater will be the number of players flocking to the game.

5. Change, the only constant - Once a growth spurt dies down, the only way to level up the virality factor is to introduce new game play items/objects or even something new and novel.

6. Ego trip - There should be a way to boast about how well you're doing in a game. A leaderboard chart goes a long way for those who love such things. If not, why play it?

7. Reward Preview - There must be a way in the game to see the rewards at a higher level. This is why all Facebook games have a high level BOT player waiting for a player to visit.

8. Reward Desirability - There must be a set of innovative rewards that will entice a player to work towards. The Shop Menu should show all the things that a player can buy and unlock in the long run.

9. Feature Announcements - There must obviously be a way to announce to the players about new rewards - usually at the start of a game play session. You could call this a "nag"-tastic way to hook players.

10. Arena Game Play - Games that allow you to compete in friendly matches will help to enrich the game play experience. You might look forward to turning up at your local bar and talking about the memorable match up arena battle you had with a friend over a beer.

11. Return on Investment - When will a player hand out his hard earned cash? If he finds the game addictive and fun, has a whole bunch of friends to play with, has a means to boast about his current standing, and the game is constantly updated with lots of rewards. You've then got your potential "whale" - and up goes your ARPU/ARPPU.

12. Retention - If a game has done all of the above correctly, it will definitely result in the retention of players.

The problem with Zynga (and all other Facebook games) is that everything is starting to look too formulaic and predictable. All the steps from 1 to 12 are being repeated in every new Facebook game that players keep seeing countless clones (and "clones of clones", plus "clones of clones of clones"). The only thing that can break this vicious cycle is to strengthen points 3, 4, 5, and 8 and throw in new features to buck the trend. For example (like in some MMOs) allow a player to sell/auction in-game items to friends within the game.

I am all too bleary eyed and dread to try another Facebook game that goes by the book. Too much of point number 9 is also driving me away from some games (and Zynga games are a big-time culprit). There is simply no longer any perceivable ROI and therefore no way you're going to retain me as a "whale" for your Facebook game unless you truly innovate to the next level.

Kevin Reilly
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@ Gavin: Shouldn't "Goes by the book" really be "Doused in Secret Sauce"? Thanks for the 12 point analysis.

Eric Schwarz
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Great list. I have a few issues with most social games that tend to keep me from returning to them after a week or two.

1) Art style. Very few social games have a distinct identity. They all tend to use the exact same sort of cartoon look, a mix between anime and Western animation that rarely comes across as genuine. This is partially a limitation of Flash and other platforms, but either way it can be hard to tell one game from another.

2) Advertisements. Many social games are incessant in giving pop-ups, stealing the player's focus away, and generally just putting things in the way of actually playing them. This is almost always ads for microtransaction items. I have no problem with free games offering paid content, but sometimes I just want to sit back and play for more than 3 minutes without the game telling me to whip out my credit card.

3) The moving bar. Almost all games relying on retention have goalposts that move over time, ensuring players can never, ever complete or master the game. Success isn't a matter of skill or learning the mechanics, it's a matter of logging in every day for long enough until your numbers hit the next checkpoint. There are a few social games that do actually test players' skill (D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter, for instance, has fairly good tactical combat), but they tend to be pretty rare.

The fact is that even if many of these games are good in their own right, the adherence to formula and these one-trick-pony sorts of ideas is not good for social gaming in the long run. It will only keep people interested so long, and the long-term players, I suspect, rarely play for fun, but rather out of a gambler's mentality.

I think it is absolutely possible to make social games that go beyond this model, and there are plenty if you go looking for them, but there needs to be more variety and more skill levels and markets that need to be catered to to keep the market fresh and take in new demographics.

James Margaris
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I like how this is running concurrently with the piece about GDC Online Awards and is completely contrary to the numerous Zynga nominations there.

Kind of seems like I should ignore one of these two pieces.

Nooh Ha
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What many seem to often forget on gamasutra when discussing Facebook gaming is that Zynga and most other leading Facebook games developers make most of their games for 25-55 year old women whose gameplay and games design interests are fundamentally different to MMOG and console gamers (and i would wager most of the commenters on gamasutra). That the bulk of Facebook gamers' interests are relatively superficial compared the the hard-core player base means that the games are by necessity relatively superficial, that the barriers to entry and exit for these games are low so the players are more fickle in their choice of games. The primary audience Zynga is targeting is still there and spending increasing amounts but is doing so on other FB games and on other platforms such as smartphone and tablet.

Jacob Germany
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Do you have data supporting this? Is there any evidence that a female demographic is more fickle than a male demographic? Or casual gamers are more fickle than "core" gamers? Or that other FB games are picking up Zynga's playerbase?

Bob Johnson
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Zynga was never worth what its stock was priced at.

They also started overpaying for these games and game companies.

And forgot that videogames are gimmicky by nature. They are novelties. And can die out as quickly as they heat up. Or they didn't forget and instead tried to stay ahead of this inevitably as the article outlined.

Hell Facebook and the entire so-called "social game" genre are novelties right now. They are new to people and that is in and of itself entertaining. That only lasts for so long. The new and exciting becomes old and tired or been there, done that. And use levels dip, level off or sometimes completely die out.

Lewis Pulsipher
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Zynga's fundamental problem may be the fundamental characteristic of the video game industry as a whole: video games are designed to be played for a while and then discarded. You "beat the game" or you learn the story, or you get tired of "the grind", because there's an emphasis on the destination, not on the journey.

Good board and card games are played over and over again, over the course of many years. I know people who have played five hour board games five hundred times. I may have played D&D that many times. Video games do not match that, though MMOs may approach it. But social network games are nothing like MMOs.

Inevitably, in a video game that more or less constantly asks you for money, that builds in frustration so that you'll spend money to stop being frustrated, the player will get tired of the game and quit playing. And when the next game is practically just like the last (as is typical of Zynga Facebook games), the player is going to get tired of the next one that much sooner.

Yet Zynga is so big, every incentive is to avoid risk, hence the games are the same over and over again.

I'm glad I don't own Zynga stock.

Lewis Pulsipher
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Arcade games were so hard you couldn't beat them, so many players kept going until they could no longer improve. But this is a new century, people don't want hard games, they want entertainment and time-killing, so SNG are stupendously easy to play.

Tony Ventrice
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Lewis, I think you hit on the fundamental issue. Each successive game that takes inspiration from the previous needs to innovate in a meaningful way if it hopes to recapture the audience. This is true in console games as well as casual games.

From the start, Zynga was built on 'borrowing' and polishing the designs of others. They don't have sufficient practice designing games from the fundamentals up (all their practice is in polishing and tuning existing designs).

I spent time working for both Zynga and Playdom and my great hope for the Social Games space was that it would evolve a whole new audience into games-consumers. Yet, now in retrospect, it's obvious that the dominating companies in the space were so risk-adverse to alienating players that they never strove to introduce real multiplayer, real tactics, real emergent gameplay experiences. It wasn't the annoying popups and viral tactics that killed social games (believe me, we A/B tested the hell out of these), or even the 'pay to win' model (tested that too), it was the stagnation.

So now the prophesy from the sidelines is coming true - the 'fad' is spinning down. Zynga has a lot of money, and a lot of smart people who I'm sure are checking out every possible pivot, so don't count them out yet, but it's hard to see anything interesting coming out of a company that's proven they don't know much about games.

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Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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There were plenty of people who warned that Zynga's revenues were very vulnerable to minor changes in Facebook's policies, but their voices were drowned in a flood of "social games are the future!" articles and comments.

Leonardo Ferreira
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http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/27754/Opinion_Fear_and_Loathin
g_in_Farmville.php

Oh how the world turns.

Patric Mondou
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Awesome :P

Patric Mondou
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I think there's good and bad in Zynga's downfall.

The good: it's clear now that social platform games are not *the* way of the future for the industry but merely a platform among others. Hopefully we'll see the return of balance in media coverage between all platforms.

The bad: some "more responsible" social game devs (there are good ones out there after all) might suffer unjustly of lack of funds for the next few years.

Maximillian Eglasias
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Gamers everywhere saw this coming a mile away. Lots of good reports were written on the generally ethics-free environment at Zynga long ago.

Most analysts only really look at the stock market from what I can tell, and general sales figures. The see a line going up, and so they base their logic around that.

Kevin Fisk
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So true, reading through the comments of this old news bit is pretty entertaining now:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/31168/Report_Zyngas_551B_Valua
tion_Higher_Than_RetailCentric_EA.php

As a long time gamer it's easier to scoff at the latest fads and call them what they are from the beginning. I think people see their friends/family get hooked and their enthusiasm for something like FarmVille colors their perception of whether or not something is sustainable in the long run.

Also, I think because this site caters to industry insiders that many are/were employed by social gaming companies and Zynga supposedly had the winning model so they would defend them. Afterall, their welfare is dependent on growth in this area. In reality the winning model is going to be more conservative and safe.

I still think there is plenty of room within social networking for gaming to be successful.

GameViewPoint Developer
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Zynga through Facebook tapped into a huge unused pool of players, which for the lack of a better term are called "casual gamers", a lot of Nintendo's success also stemmed from the same pool of players, but it needed Facebook to come along to really introduce casual games to the masses. The term then changed from casual to social, because all the games were on a social network, but the terms basically means the same.

The point here is that regardless of what happens with Facebook or Zynga, that audience still exists, will always be much larger than the hardcore player audience, and will be more willing to spend money in games. Whether it's a hardcore player paying for new DLC in MW3 or someone upgrading their farm in a farm game, it amounts to the same, people paying money in games they are having fun playing. And that really is a seed change in the games industry, people willing to keep on paying within a game.

The problem with Facebook and Zynga is that there tent poles are firmly rooted on the web, and this is a huge problem because going forward it's all going to be mobile and nothing else. The good news is that there is still huge potential for new players to make an impact in the mobile sphere, games or otherwise, but the people behind Facebook and Zynga have lots of cash, which they can use to come up with new IP's on mobile.

Marc-Andre Caron
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"Also, how did anyone who's played a Zynga game on Facebook not see this coming?"

This is exactly the opposite of what I've been thinking the last few days. Of those who've tried their games, I'd say a big part saw it coming. But voicing this in the workplace could be dangerous. Never cast doubt on the latest fad when your bosses bet the house on it.

Alan Rimkeit
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http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/07/law-firms-investigating-zyn
ga-for-insider-stock-sell-off/?comments=1#comments-bar

Law firms investigating Zynga for insider stock sell-off. It is official, the investigation has begun. My bet is someone is going to the slammer.

Ron Dippold
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'What can the company do now?'

If we're lucky, die horribly.

Eric Schwarz
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If it wasn't Zynga, it would have been someone else. The gold rush on social games was inevitable, as was the collapse when too many parties got involved. It could have been any games developer, really. I feel bad for Zynga and its employees, but I think it was the sort of thing that needed to happen as part of social gaming's growing pains.

Timothy Ryan
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LOL. DIE, ZINGA, DIE! FREE-FUN < REAL FUN.

Cody Scott
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How is this a shock. Users on this site have been saying before they went public it was going to crash and burn.

Geoff Yates
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My personal opinion is if the stock of an IPO is hyped to buggery than there is a really good chance you will be taken to the cleaners. In other words "If it seems too good to be true, than it probably is". Use that guiding principle through life and you won't look back wondering where you squandered your money.

Marc Schaerer
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Its shocking to see that analysts, people that shoul know their field, didn't see this comming, when many indie developers said for years now that the dumbification that zynga started either will drown zynga or the whole game economy.
As the game economy survived the early 1980s, it in the end was rather rational to assume that a near trillion USD business would not die just cause a single greedy and freaking stupid company like Zynga lost any interest in what it was meant to do as a game developer, creating fun.
Zynga started out with interesting ideas and then wasted an absolutely insane amount of time on how to monetize every fart from an animal instead of focusing on creating longer term fun and engagement and try to monetize basing on this as the real game developers do it.

I personally do not wish Zyngas management any less than going bancrupt while their more talented starts to realize that they likely had great ideas the past years when being forced to do these absolutely bad games, which they could bring to life.

And as we are on it: I wish EA the same for absolutely destroying the sim city and sims experience their their social rippoffs. Any so called social games that has a money wall earlier than a few hours into the game experience (sims had it at 11min, sim city at 6min) simply should be trash voted by the whole gamer community to ensure that no poor 'new soul' gets dragged into that utter greedfilled darkness just cause it shows up at the top of the popularity rankings :(

EA might have some real genius working for them on the game design side but they seem to have management layers that do their best to force upon them decisions basing on monetary factors that 10 years ago would have kicked them out of business within a year if they offended any 'thinking' being to the degree they do it currently with their whole social gaming - origin 'business model and decision making'.

I hope that zyngas downfall will send a serious signal through the dev world and their management 'trashers' that this kind of rippoff attitude is not even tolerated in social games (in other genres it never was tolerated. hellgate london didn't go down the toilet financially for no reason after all and anyone else trying to go that path will have the same fate), cause the 'facebook dumbification' game style approach has been flodding android and ios for a too long time out of my view and I doubt that any of these 0 game experience titles with 'near instant money walls' will survive 2012 in the 'greens', yet I fear that the lack of longer term user experience there might even allow these dev to push another generation of 'top grossing list crap games' hits ...

Ramin Shokrizade
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This analyst does play games, and when 2K Games asked for my analysis of Zynga's market potential more than a year ago, I *did* almost perfectly predict all of Zynga's market trends and gave the reasons for these trends. I published my analysis in the public space a full year ago. Anyone following my work was well prepared for the changes in the social gaming environment. So I would propose that it is not correct to say that no analysts successfully predicted the Zynga implosion. It is more correct that Gamasutrians were following the wrong analysts, just like the rest of the industry that put 57% of all interactive media investments into Facebook game development last year, and another 30% into mobile game development.

You can find that original report here: http://gameful.org/groups/games-for-change/forum/topic/zynga-anal
ysis/


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