Sunday, October 25, 2009

Farmville phenomenon

Jon Swartz (USA Today online) reports on the rising popularity of game applications on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Bebo. Farmville created by Zynga has 56 million monthly users. Social gaming is a fast growing market and appears to be successful because people like to be social while playing games.

Games generate profit by selling virtual goods to upgrade the players experience. They also make money by selling advertising space. Zynga's most recent game Cafeworld attracted 10 million users in a week.

Virginia Nightingale argues that the internet is becoming increasingly popular as a place to socialise and form identity (303). People used to get together in their homes or a public place to play games. Now an individual can play a game for 5-10 minutes anytime, anywhere. I find it reassuring that even with the rise of networked individualism people still like to be social.

Reference: New Media Worlds. Ed. Virginia Nightingale and Tim Dwyer. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2007.