Why The **** People Play Farmville?

I tried Farmville facebook game after hearing that there’s like millions of players or whatever. I tested this Tamagotchi game and came to the conclusion that those 29 seconds were more than enough.

To me, Farmville design is like:

  • Grow stuff to get more stuff to be able to grow more stuff

I guess that hits the nerve of every Diablo player (like me). Now they add a social aspect in Farmville and you can:

  • Invite your friends to loan their stuff back and forward so that you can do stuff.

That’s it, in all simplicity. (Based on my solid 29 seconds of experience).

Add fancy graphics, customization, tons of content, loads of players…. and so on and you have Farmville.

I think the game core mechanism is bloody simple (which is good, I like simplicity). It also gives people way to progress… and apparently the social aspect and sharing must be fun too. But still it puzzles me a bit that why the heck there’s like million fans (or something) playing this game.

Seriously. Millions?

Is it really that darn addictive?

Anyone really played it for longer than me – what you think about the game?

(Hats off for the developers: darn good job in designing the game, executing the game design and marketing the game.)

22 thoughts on “Why The **** People Play Farmville?

  1. Farmville is boring and repetitive. I’ve played it only to see what’s it all about (and help my friends who needed neigbours). After a year of playing it daily I had everyting possible, my farm was overcrowded, had to move stuff from here there to try and make a free spot for a new building and it hit me: this game is so boring! No matter what zynga introduced new, I didn’t go back because I knew it was all the same: click-click the pigs, click-click the fields to seed, come back in 4 hours.

  2. David Maranon

    Ok,4 all of u ppl who think farmville is boring ,LISTEN UP.U cant just play it a minute and say”this is crap”. u have 2 play for a month or days 2 make progress.i thought it was boring at first,but then i started playing.after 2 days, i thought”im about 2 get off this game” when i only played a little.but then i visited m friend’s farm,and he has alot like fairy ponies,stalions,foals(baby horses)purple horses,purple mini horses,gnomes,sheeps,rams,ewes(female sheep)pandas,snow leopards,chickens(even gold ones)mustangs,ordinary horses,ordinary ponies,tree mansions,llamas,goats,yellow pigs,2 farms,even sheep,rams,and eweswith patterns on their coats.and alot more things.give farmville a couple weeks or months and then change ur opinion.

  3. How can you last just a minute? You have to come back in 4 hours to make progress. This process of sending people away to have them come back early on is sooo smart.

    Here are 7 other tactics they use beyond the simple idea of collecting & trading:

    http://www.philmichaelson.com/user-generated-content/8-design-tactics-farmville/

  4. Agree completely to Christian! (28th Nov. 09)

  5. I think Danc put it best (http://lostgarden.com/) in his essay on false constraints. Farmville is just the ‘pong’ of an emerging genre of games. Farmville is mostly popular due to it meeting an audience that is looking for diversion, and it being one the first major ones to serve that need. The story was similar when the app store was first released and they had their share of overnight successes of fart apps, etc. I think developers should be excited as it’ll only get more interesting in the coming years…

  6. I think Farmville is very similar to Harvest Moon. It does’nt matter how long you play or how fast you play, you can design your own world and you can personalize it (some male friends of mine who play it build with hay bales the emblems of their favorit soccer teams to show it off).

    Farmville is a proof for me that socialized games work pretty well together with web 2.0 technology like facebook. I doubt that it would be that popular if it would be standalone. I can’t stand the fact that you guys neglected it just because the implementation is poor or because it is boring for you.

    From a theoretical point of view Farmville is super exciting and is very different to all other socialized games I think. Look, Monopoly City Streets is nice but it feels more like “anonymouse combat” than “working together”.

    Maybe that is the point.

  7. Orlin Doutskinoff

    I know a bunch of people playing that game…and guess what, they are all women.
    I think, that this game somehow affects a lot the female part of the world and this can explain the millions playing it.

  8. I couldn’t get it to run without allowing a ridiculous number of things through my scriptblocker/adblocker/facebook permissions (can’t remember which) so I left it alone. I shouldn’t have to do that to play a game. The mini DnD game on Facebook is alright, but not gripping enough to keep me away from real games.

  9. I think it’s also entertaining to “design” your own farm. It’s like Playmobil.

  10. I think there’s two factors:

    1. Facebook! To have a game in facebook with a good marketing will get you tons of fans. It is just impressive, and it’s just ’cause people in facebook like playing games.

    2. Games for noobs (casual gamers) This community doesn’t expect the next AAA game. They want something simple, fast, that they could play in a little break of their dutties, and this simple game mechanism makes an addiction to this kind of gamers.

    I hate this kind of game a lot because they are crap but they work so well for most of the people that it makes me sick >__<.

  11. Great article thanks Mariusz

    @Juuso: how about making a facebook version of your game? :-)

  12. I did the same thing, Juuso. a few weeks back I went in there to see what all the hype was about; lasted about a minute before closing it down and forgetting all about it. The annoying thing is now some friends on facebook who are playing it, have seen that I’ve installed it and keep sending me random things I can’t wait to delete.

  13. Since nobody mentioned this yet:
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/10/31/scamville-the-social-gaming-ecosystem-of-hell/

    In a few words: Farmville is profitable because it is a cover for scam offers. The developers aren’t just good at marketing, they are also willing to do anything to make money.

  14. It’s just the next bubble. Wait 1-2 years and will blow up :D

  15. I’ve played Farmville for some time (longer than 29 seconds). It can be addictive to do stuff to do more stuff. The downside is, you are rewarded for the number of clicks you make – you have to harvest every single thing one by one (I know there are tractors etc., but that only makes 4 on one click). I stopped playing altogether when I noticed that the flash programming behind the scenes must be so absolutely crap, I can’t stand that. Just a few hundred things on your tiny farm bogs down my biggest PC, having jerky scrolling and just about 1 frame per second is just not OK.

    For the same reasons I stopped playing all other games on facebook except Mafia Wars btw, and even there I’m close to giving up, because even that does crash my IE occasionally.

    If this is the future of game development, i.e. churning out crappy games with crappy updates at a rate of 1 per month, thank you very much. I’ll stick with my old games then…

  16. Maybe also lack of good competitors in facebook?

  17. I gotta agree with you, I tried playing after receiving many invitations but stopped playing after around a minute. It’s one of the most boring and ridiculous things I’ve ever seen.

  18. The thing is that most people do not have constructive hobbies and they will do anything not to be bored, especially the youth.

    Take for instance the female youth. The only thing current society and media has deemed for them as an acceptable hobby is …. shopping and it is spilling over to male youths.

    Most youths never develop the skill to keep themselves constructively busy, and thus, faced with boredom, will do the least constructive thing, no matter how nonconstructive.

  19. Well, it has the basic “pull lever get candy” game design mechanism down pretty well. It’s one of the first breakout games on (arguably) the fastest growing broad interest web apps running. And player success is (annoyingly) public. I agree with DtD tho, Facebook is a time sink for a lot of folks. Consider Farmville the Mine Sweeper of The New World Order.

  20. I´m reading a lot of reviews trying to figure out why this game is a hit.

  21. lol, Facebook is an object of boredom for most people, I’m sure Farmville looks awesome when you have to do homework or create binding for CEGUI and GameMonkey XD

    ~DtD