Zynga Levels Up Social Gaming

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If you have a Facebook account, odds are that you have heard a Zynga. Zynga has turned itself in to the leader in social gaming. With such popular Facebook games as Farmville and Mafia Wars, they are changing the way that people play games on their computers and along the way they are changing the way that gaming companies do business.

It used to be that game developers created games for different consoles and then sold them to either a game company or sold them directly to the customers. Once the user had the game in their hands, their business with the game developers was complete. With so many people using file sharing sites to get illegal copies of games, many developers are struggling to give players a reason to buy.

This is where Zynga perfected a completely new way to get users to pay. Their secret? Making the games free. It may sound counterproductive, but it works. Basically what they do is this; they provide the game for free but have additional content that can be purchased with special in-game cash. This in-game cash is most commonly acquired by purchasing them with actual cash. Using this method, over the course of a year, an average player may spend $30-$40 dollars, compared to spending $20 for a game they can keep forever.

Mark Pincus and a Farmville Character
This pay for content strategy isn't exactly new. Second Life, the virtual world started the trend by selling in-game dollars. Many other games have followed suite and have met with varying degrees of success. Where Zynga is different is that the games are fully functional without ever having to buy a single dollar of in-game cash. By using a social media platform, players are able to work cooperatively with their friends to complete challenges and “level up”. This type of cooperative play seems to encourage players to invest in building bigger and better farms or mafias.

As Zynga “levels up” as a company, it will be interesting to see the mark they leave on the gaming world. Over the past couple of years, the company has grown quickly. They seem to be trying to emulate some of the larger internet companies like Apple and Google by providing employees with amazing perks like free lunch and snacks, dry cleaning service and even in office massages. Not a bad deal for Mark Pincus, the founder of Zynga who says that he was “chased out of some of the best companies in America”.

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By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

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