Ten years ago, mobile game developer Zynga laid the groundwork for a new kind of ‘social game’ with its hit FarmVille, a farming simulation game that was at one point the most popular app on Facebook. . As the game that allows people to virtually cultivate gardens, raise farm animals and become farmers has fallen from its dizzying heights since then, Zynga hopes the third title in the farming simulator series will introduce a new generation. users in the world of “FarmVille”.
Speaking to indianexpress.com on a call from San Francisco, Kishore Kichili, who runs Zynga’s Indian market, revealed that the company’s Bengaluru studio has been instrumental in the development of FarmVille 3, which is available to play on iOS, Android and M1 Mac desktop. “A large team has contributed to the development of FarmVille 3 and so has CSR Racing 2,” he said, adding that the team in India “not only builds games but also contributes games. global ”.
Kichili says India is not only an important market for mobile game consumption, but also the key to the development of the company’s recent games available on smartphones and social platforms.
Zynga is keen to use its Indian studio to develop games of global interest and it already is, although Kichili has not disclosed the range of games currently in development. “We have a huge team working on big titles… small teams working on newer titles and a very small team testing concepts in hyper-relaxed fashion. Kichili cites access to talent as the main reason global developers like Zynga are expanding their local presence in India.
Zynga rose to fame with FarmVille when the game debuted in 2009, when it was designed to play on Facebook. Instantly it became the most popular game on the social network with millions of players. The mobile version of the social game was introduced a year later when Steve Jobs invited Zynga CEO Mark Pincus to launch FarmVille on the App Store alongside the debut of the iPhone 4. Although the original FarmVille had to be closed in 2020 at the end of Adobe. Flash Player support for web browsers, the franchise still has a cult following with 700 million installs to date.
FarmVille has been a successful attempt to create a market for social games, and Zynga and Facebook have both reaped benefits. In fact, a lot of people jumped on Facebook in the 2010s to just play FarmVille and the proof was that around 19% of the social media giant’s revenue in 2011 was directly linked to Zynga. But times are changing. The game on a digital simulation of a farming community finally started to fade, and after a while, many Facebook users complained that they had received an unwanted notification from a farmer.
The rise and fall of FarmVille shows how mobile gaming has evolved. While many like to take a critical look at the FarmVille phenomenon, the truth is that gambling has not only put the terms ‘casual play’ and ‘free play’ in the limelight by reaching out to a wide range of players. users, but also opened the doors to advertising and in-app purchases, which has now become the main business model of the entire gaming industry and the application market.
FarmVille 3 is not available to play on Facebook unlike previous titles in the blockbuster franchise and it shows that mobile platforms like iOS and Android are the way to reach a larger user base. Kichili agrees that growth comes from mobile platforms and that India is at the center of the revolution. But the gaming market has evolved along with mobile gamers.
“FarmVille 3 is not a hyper-casual game; it’s the next level of hyper-casual where the levels of engagement, as well as the social aspects, are a bit higher, ”he explained. These games generate revenue opportunities through in-game purchases and in-game advertising.
Zynga’s FarmVille bears similarities to games like Fortnite and Animal Crossing where players build their own worlds, although Kichili did not say if the developer wanted to look for opportunities in the metaverse, the new buzzword in the world. technological space. Zynga recently appointed a vice president of blockchain games, Matt Wolf, who will work on integrating NFTs and blockchain systems into Zynga’s existing games. It is assumed that the US-based developer might also consider integrating NFTs into FarmVille.
While the FarmVille franchise is an integral part of Zynga, the developer looks forward to launching its first cross-platform title next year with Star Wars: Hunters, which will be available on mobile devices, PC, and Nintendo Switch. In recent months, Zynga has taken the mergers and acquisitions route to expand the user base and reach new markets.
He agreed to acquire StarLark, a Chinese games developer, and the mobile golf title Golf Rival from Betta Games for $ 525 million in cash and stock. The company has also acquired the Chartboost ad technology platform that will help the developer grow its audience at a time when there is uncertainty over Apple’s rollout of its AppTracking Transparency framework, which requires apps to obtain permission from. track user behavior.