I’ve never really got into Farmville despite being invited by an old school friend (Hi Clare!) who clearly really got into it if Facebook is anything to go by. Maybe I don’t have the patience or something.
Then I saw this article which helped explain its popularity:
people are playing Farmville because people are playing Farmville
Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations.
The most important thing to recognize here is that, whether we like it or not, seventy-three million people are playing Farmville: a boring, repetitive, and potentially dangerous activity that barely qualifies as a game. Seventy-three million people are obligated to a company that holds no reciprocal ethical obligation toward those people.
So what’s interesting is that Farmville is about respecting and reinforcing social bonds – now I feel bad for not actually responding to Clare (sorry, was in a travel week…) but also that Zynga are cleverly using this to line their own pockets. I’m not too sure how I feel – that so many people are using to socially groom each other is a wonderful thing, but that the economic surplus is going to one entity seems a little bit of a shame.
Anyway, at least I understand why people play it, even if I can’t actually get engaged with it myself!