Saturday, June 12, 2010
Facebook games evolve
I'm currently playing FrontierVille on Facebook. As the name suggests, this is from Zynga, the same company that makes FarmVille. And to me it is a sign of hope against the doomsaying pessimism some people have towards Facebook games. You see, Zynga is losing players on FarmVille, they are down 20% from 82 million to 67 million, and in response they make a game which is *more complicated* than FarmVille. So much for the continuous dumbing down to the lowest common denominator theory.
Now don't get me wrong, FrontierVille is still far from being a full game. But compared to FarmVille it is a huge step up. There is actually some gameplay! It reminds me a bit of Harvest Moon, just with a Wild West theme. You still just click on stuff and things happen, but there is more of a "working towards a goal" feel to it. And in full screen mode it actually is pretty enough.
Like all Zynga games, FrontierVille is also rather spammy. But it is far more collaborative than FarmVille. There are big advantages to helping your friends and receiving help in return, because now the gifts aren't just decoration, but might be useful for solving your quests or constructing a building.
So the trend I see is that Facebook games are getting more interesting, more complex, having more gameplay now than the very first generation. And that is an encouraging sign.