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FarmVille
FarmVille logo.png
Developer(s) Zynga
Platform(s) Internet
Release date(s) June 19, 2009[1]
Genre(s) Simulation, RPG
Mode(s) Single-player with multiplayer interaction
Media Web browser
Input methods Keyboard, Mouse

FarmVille is a real-time farm simulation game developed by Zynga, available as an application on the social networking website Facebook. The game allows members of Facebook to manage a virtual farm by planting, growing and harvesting virtual crops and trees, and raising livestock.[2] Since its launch in June 2009,[3] FarmVille has become the most popular game application on Facebook, with over 82.7 million active users and over 22.5 million fans in February 2010.[4] The total FarmVille users are over 20% of the users of Facebook and over 1% of the population of the world.[5][6] FarmVille started as a clone of the popular Farm Town on Facebook.[7]

On February 4, 2010, Microsoft's MSN Games has also launched Farmville on its website [8][9], requiring a Facebook account but not a Windows Live ID in order to play the game.

Contents

Gameplay

Upon beginning a farm, the player first creates a customizable avatar.[10] There are six plots of land, two of which are in the process of growing, and two (eggplant and strawberries) which are fully grown.

The game is based around the market, where items can be purchased: seeds, trees, animals, buildings, decorations, vehicles, and more land using "farm coins," the generic money of FarmVille (which is earned by selling crops) or "farm cash". (which the player earns at a rate of one dollar per experience level). A player can also choose to buy FarmVille coins or cash from Zynga. The player plants seeds, which grow into crops, which can be harvested to earn farm coins. Animals and trees can also be purchased and can also be harvested for profits. The player earns experience points (XP) by purchasing items, and regular tasks such as plowing, planting and harvesting. Earning XP increases the player's level, unlocking more items. Most items can be bought with farm coins, although some (e.g., certain decorations) must be purchased with farm cash.

Each plot of land costs 15 farm coins to plow and depending on the crop planted, new seeds can range from 10 to 220 farm coins. Each crop sells for a set price that is greater than the price paid for the seed. The ratio of seed cost to coin yield for crops varies based as a factor of harvest time and initial seed cost. For example, raspberries, with a two hour growth time, cost 20 coins and yield 46 coins per plot, with a ratio of 1:2.3. Watermelons, with a four day growth time, cost 130 coins and yield 348 coins, for a ratio of 1:2.68. Depending on the plant, growth time can vary from two hours (raspberries) to four days (artichokes, watermelons). If the crop is not harvested within the amount of growing time, it will wilt and must be plowed again, unless the unwither feature is applied. For example, pumpkins will grow in 8 hours. If the pumpkins are not harvested within 16 hours of planting, they will begin to wither and die, and the player will not be able to harvest them for farm coins or XP, unless the unwither feature is applied.[11]

As a player progresses, they can expand their farm (for a payment of farm cash or farm coins) to allow for more room for farming, animals, and decorations.

Like most Zynga games, FarmVille leverages the social networking aspects of Facebook. Along with their own farm, players can invite their friends to join and be neighbors. Acquiring neighbors has benefits in gameplay — not only can one earn money and experience (by visiting and helping on neighboring farms), but with eight or more neighbors, a player can expand their farm and own more acreage. Gifts (such as trees, animals, and decorations) can be sent to both confirmed neighbors and any other Facebook friends even if they do not use the application. The Gifts received from neighbors usually have relatively expensive buy prices in the market; so getting gifts from friends is one of the best ways to get relatively expensive items. Many of the items available to gift to friends are not available in the FarmVille market. This includes many themed decorations.

A variety of "Ribbons" are also available to players, representing the player's achievement of a series of set tasks. The player first obtains a yellow ribbon for completing a simple version of the task, then progresses through white, red, and blue ribbons by completing progressively more difficult versions of the same task. For example, the "Fenced In" Yellow ribbon requires that the player purchase and display on his farm 5 sections of fence. The white ribbon for the same task requires 50 sections of fence be set up, and the red and blue ribbons get progressively harder and more expensive to complete. There are presently twenty-eight different tasks, for a total of 112 total ribbons available to be earned. In addition to bragging rights, a player earning a ribbon gets a tangible reward for his efforts, which may include a gold item, experience bonus, the award of a special item, or some other benefit.

Controversy

FarmVille had given its users virtual cash for various advertising offers: for instance, the player would get some virtual currency for signing up for Netflix. However, FarmVille has been accused of scamming its users through misleading offers, such as filling in bogus survey or IQ tests which in fact subscribe the users to an unwanted service which appears on their phone bill.[12][13] In a video posted November 9, 2009, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus says "I did every horrible thing in the book too, just to get revenues right away. I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this Zwinky toolbar which was like, I don't know, I downloaded it once and couldn't get rid of it," in regards to business practices.[14] Michael Arrington of TechCrunch accused Facebook of allowing Zynga's FarmVille to continue these practices because a great deal of the money it gets from such leads is reinvested in ads inside the Facebook network.[13] In response to this negative publicity, Zynga removed all virtual cash offers on 8 November 2009. [15]

References

  1. ^ Market Watch (August 27, 2009). "Zynga's FarmVille Becomes Largest and Fastest Growing Social Game Ever". Press release. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/zyngas-farmville-becomes-largest-and-fastest-growing-social-game-ever-2009-08-27. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Facebook farmers want India flag". BBC. October 9, 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8298840.stm. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  3. ^ Gardner, Jasmine (September 29, 2009). "Futurology: FarmVille on Facebook". London Today. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/article-23749479-futurology-farmville-on-facebook.do. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Facebook's Farmville Application Page". Facebook. January 30th, 2010. http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=102452128776. Retrieved January 30th, 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/welcome-to-farmville-population-80-million-1906260.html
  6. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/mar/06/jacques-peretti-indie-videogames
  7. ^ "Zynga Launches "FarmVille". Does it Look Familiar?". All Facebook. June 22, 2009. http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/06/zynga-farmville/. Retrieved November 3, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Zynga’s ‘FarmVille’ Facebook Game Debuts on MSN Site.". Bloomberg. February 5th, 2010. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-04/zynga-s-farmville-facebook-game-debuts-on-msn-site-update1-.html. Retrieved February 4th, 2010. 
  9. ^ Farmville
  10. ^ Dexter, Jamie (October 9, 2009). "Facebook's 'Farmville' not a laughing matter". The Leaf-Chronicle. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20091009/COLUMNISTS17/910090311. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  11. ^ "How long does it take for a crop to wither?". Zynga. 2009-10-01. http://zynga.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/583. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  12. ^ "Are You Getting Scammed by Facebook Games?", Time, November 6, 2009
  13. ^ a b Michael Arrington, "Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell", Washington Post / TechCrunch, October 31, 2009
  14. ^ Michael Arrington (6 November 2009). "Zynga CEO Mark Pincus: "I Did Every Horrible Thing In The Book Just To Get Revenues"". Techcrunch. http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/06/zynga-scamville-mark-pinkus-faceboo/. Retrieved 14 March 2009. 
  15. ^ http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/11/08/zynga-to-stop-all-in-game-offers/

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