back to article Farmville maker Zynga delays new games after losing 57 MILLION users

Zynga has slashed its financial forecast for this year and delayed the launch of several new titles after reporting weaker-than-expected second quarter results. The company, best known for its FarmVille game on Facebook, has lost 57 million monthly active users since the same quarter last year, dropping to 130 million from 187 …

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FAIL

Zynga has always been synonymous...

with the definition of bubble - only a matter of time before people get wise and the thing collapses.

Pretty obvious really, so get out whilst you can.

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MrT
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Zynga has no USP...

... just a bunch of copycat games that add nothing to the various genres. The whole business stems from following a trend, aggressively pushing their seemingly carbon-copied version until the originators curl up and go away. They might stand a better chance if they changed their track and created something worthwhile, instead of knocking off Madden and Scrabble.

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Re: Zynga has no USP...

It's hardly *that* simple or else everyone would've done it. Zynga did spot a market in Facebook games, made a compelling Sim format game (I guess, as I haven't played it but believe plenty have) and were some of the pioneers in generating significant in-app purchasing spend.

Racking in half a billion dollars a year from little more than repackaged games might not make their games have a particularly significant USP but their initial business model did that's what got the investor's attention.

It was never going to be easy to keep this up and I would agree with the bubble comment - this model was easy to replicate and also easy for players to get bored of, they had a definite primary-mover advantage.

I don't like this model of in-app purchasing and creating a player 'addiction' rather than compelling content, but for those that are happy with it would be very pleased to have been an early investor.

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...and nothing of value was lost, except whoever's pension fund was invested in them

It's been pointed out that Zynga's products probably don't even deserve to be called "games", since they involve little skill beyond the ability to push a button at certain intervals, and to shell out money in order to overcome deliberate limits on this.

In short, Zynga's "games" are little more than themed Skinner boxes designed to exploit humans' addictive behaviour without requiring any accompanying skill. (*)

Incidentally, I remember (circa 2007 after checking) a site called "MyMiniCity" that was superficially a SimCity clone in that it let you sign up for free and create a "city". However, the only thing that affected your city's size and status was the number of (presumably unique) users you got visiting your city's page! This resulted in users posting intentionally mislabelled links to various message boards and forums in an attempt to con people into visiting their city's page.

Of course, they were doing it in an attempt to do better at the talentless "game", and the designers must have known this would happen, since the site offered little to non-participating visitors except the ability to view ads- which, I'm assuming, was the whole point.

Even though the "game" itself was worthless beyond belief, it struck me as a sort of evil genius to exploit talentless, stupid and/or lazy people's need for a sense of achievement (however bogus) as a mechanism to con other people into viewing web ads.

At any rate, that was (to me) the first time I saw a Skinner box-like mechanism used for an online game, and even that required a modicum of skill to spam links and disguise what they were.

(*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning_chamber

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Re: Zynga has no USP...

Wrong problem. I'm familiar with all the accusations you've made. Back when I was playing their games on FB, they made no difference to me. I doubt they would now if I were still playing. Just before I quit playing I had finally cleanup my own finances enough that I was willing to cough up $25 a month to purchase some in game stuff. (I'd also figured out a way I figured my CC info was safe enough when I made the purchase.) So I ought to be exactly the sort of prime customer they are looking for.

So why did I quit? Two reasons:

1. Their server lag got to the point the game was simply unplayable. I'd log in and it would be five minutes before the playing field would display. As I'd be working along on something the server would suddenly reset. And I'd be back to the five minute wait while it loads bit.

2. Instead of letting the focus be on playing the game, it became farming friends to sell you things. Only, once you farmed yourself more than 35 friends playing the game, you discovered you couldn't send stuff to ALL of them, only 35 of them. Also a fair number of the rewards depended on visiting friends farms. That five minute wait listed above? Yeah, it happened each time you visited a friend's farm.

I've used Farmville here as an example, but the rest of their games had similar issues, except for Mafia and Vampire Wars where you didn't visit other people's playing fields, but the rest of the issues were still there.

My retired mother still plays. But they're never going to make a dime off her.

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Dear city financial types ......

...... We are running out of games we can copy but will work out a way to scam more cash from those we already have. Please don't dump our stock.

Thanks

Zynga

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but they have 'bookings'

Which seems strangely like the fantasy currency used in many of their games.

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Re: Dear city financial types ......

Ah.. I see you translated "unlock shareholder value"... IOW, the board wants to see it's shares before things crash.

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Are golfers...

... classed as athletes? I mean yes, you have to do some walking (unless you're in an expensive club which has karts), but it's hardly a triathlon.

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Re: Are golfers...

I suppose if we're getting technical, only people who compete in one of the athletic sports are athletes. Though in the US the term athlete seems to apply to participants of any sport.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are golfers...

In the Tiger Woods case - yes. You have to be quite athletic to deliver his levels of performance.

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Alert

King

Anyone stupid enough to invest in King should get out right now. One game and a valuation of $7bn - what could possibly go wrong...

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already

Surely there are many nouns left in the dictionary to be put in front of the word "ville"?

mind you, the games -unless you throw money at them - illustrate law of diminishing returns so why shouldn't the business....

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Zynga destroyed farmville through greed, they just kept adding more farms until it became impossible to play the game without paying for speedups.

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I was invited to play this shit once, and created a patch, iirc, then left, never to return ... not sure what is growing on my patch now, though.

When I was done with my patch, I thought, shit, this is the dullest I game I have seen.

Then they spam you to come back, so you silence them, then your friends spam you to come back ... some friends go as far as watering your shit or give you a cow or whatever .... and for the following year, I received an invitation to play from each and every new friend I added.

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f*ck web 2.0 and the millennials that fall for it.

>then your friends spam you to come back

Don't give your mates (or more likely passing acquaintances) too much guff about it. If its like LinkedIn then your friends never did anything. The greedy powers that be spoke on their behalf.

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Zynga made me quit Facebook

The fact that I could not turn off all the spammed friend-updates about Farmville and Mafia Wars was the final straw there. I guess I should say "Thanks, Zynga!"

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CEO Don Mattrick...

...he who made such enlightened and wise choices during his tenure as Xbox boss (XBoss?) that the console is lagging in sales behind the ps4 by a margin of 3:1? No wonder things look so bright for Zynga.

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Anonymous Coward

Second highest paid CEO of a tech company

Only Larry Ellison (at $78.4 m) takes home more than Don Mattrick ($57.8 m)

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/08/business/the-pay-at-the-top.html

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Re: Second highest paid CEO of a tech company

Larry has costs and has to pay for some skill. Don made a his fortune from nothing. % ROI for farmville should be approaching infinity.

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“Inside Zynga, we recognise that our products have the potential to live for multiple years and with nurturing, refinement and investment, they can grow and scale. We are purposefully competing, and while we would like to be further along, we believe we are making the right decisions to grow our business and unlock long term shareholder value," said chief exec Don Mattrick in a statement.

I hope it was in a statement. He doesn't really talk like that.

Does he?

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Inside Zynga, we recognize the panic and fail

>Inside Zynga, we recognise that our products have the potential to live for multiple years

Wow he started with that line? When your one/few hit wonders start to fade investors want to hear about the next big thing not how you are going to milk whats fading.

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Good

Good, this just shows you can't keep making money with poor products. You quickly burn all your customers and they never come back. I hope Zinga burns out entirely and King.com is next unless they learn from this.

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Spammy carp...

I've blocked any and all postings from Zynga on my feeds... it's so spammy it's ridiculous...

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TRT
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Re: Spammy carp...

Red dogs give you spam...

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