Zynga Crashing

Farmville still farming users?

I just read this arstechnica article on how Zynga is failing fast.  Revenues are down from last year, customer erosion is increasing, and they overpaid for OMGPOP makers of Draw Something.

I would say these results are predictable given the general issues I identified in the article on free to play.

I predict the slide to continue for zynga for the following reasons:

1. Draw Something Failed to Innovate, Instead it Infuriated


I admit, I once played draw something for 7 straight hours on a friday night.  I blame my friends who kept sending me drawings back during that time frame.  But I went totally cold on the game.  Why?

  1. The words repeated FAR too often.  My third time, in an evening, drawing “coffin” made me feel I was wasting my time.
  2. The ability to purchase colors is great for a while, but how many shades of blue do I really need?  They needed to evolve past this and make STAMPS and BACKGROUNDS available for purchase.  If I want a dog, or a person, or a table, I shouldn’t have to draw it for the upteenth time, just let me use a stamp and stamp it into my drawing.  This cuts down on repetitive drawing and keeps the game fresh, especially when new stamps and backgrounds are released.  Now if I can come up with one way to evolve the game after thinking for 5 minutes, why hasn’t zynga in 5 months?

2. Zynga is about the Money, not the Art

Play a zynga game and you’ll quickly see its about money pits not gameplay.  Early in its history it tried to create fun games that make money.  Now it tries to make games that make money.  The former is a strategy for success, the second is not.

3. Zynga Rips off other Good Ideas

Let’s say for a second that Farmville was innovative (it wasn’t), since then Zynga has simply been scouring the game-o-sphere for popular games and duplicating them with their own art and play style.  This was never more obvious than in the Tiny Tower Fiasco where after the developers refused to sell out to Zynga, they copied their game and called it Dream Heights.

4. Zynga is the Evil Empire of Gaming

All of the above equals: a bad brand.

Within my game development circles, as soon as you say Zynga, people immediately think “crap, rip off, time suck, profiteering”.  I applaud OMGPOP for selling to Zynga, Zynga got what it deserved: to over pay for a virtual good.  I also applaud Tiny Tower for not selling out and being a part of the evil empire.

As I shop the App store, if I see the Zynga dog in the corner, I specifically avoid it.  It is NOT a symbol of fun, I find it a symbol of derivative click-fest time delay game play.  I don’t think I’m the only one, and perhaps at the front of the pack.


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