Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Zyngas numbers are scary

Lets look at how many people are logged into steam right now, in the middle of their BIG summer sale:

2.3 million

Wow etc. Lets all say how huge the steam audience is. It certainly shows how much bigger valve is than positech, that’s for sure :D. But hold on…

Zyngas IPO means some real stats on the people playing zyngas games:

148 million unique monthly players

Holy alphabeti spaghetti batman. That’s a lot of people. Even though the majority of them never give Z any money, it’s still a staggeringly good business. Granted, Zyngas profits aren’t that high given the silly value the company has been put at, but even so, lets forget the money for a moment, and look at the fact that there are 148 million people prepared to play zyngas games.

That’s incredible.

It’s just a pity that the company was founded by a guy who didn’t give a fuck about his customers, and even bragged about it. I don’t care if my next game sells 1/100th of GSB. I still won’t bundle some shitty toolbar with it.

I hate it when companies like that do so well, mostly because it sends out signals that encourage the good guys to do the same thing. That’s whats so cool about successes by minecraft, frozen synapse, world of goo etc. It’s so cool when game devs who are nice guys and genuinely love games do so well. You don’t have to be like zynga to make a career from making games :D

5 thoughts on Zyngas numbers are scary

  1. With Steam, you have a company who are trying to make gaming better by building a decent online community, enabling better multiplayer games and even doing sales/events to get people into playing games more


    With Zynga, you have a cynical company who’s customers are primarily NOT people who play games and who flit in and out on a whim.

    End of the day, Zynga are no-more a gaming company than Kelloggs (who include ‘games’ in/on their cereal packets) or McDonalds (with their toys and promotional deals) – they’re more of a virus that just happens to include some games :)

  2. Most of Zynga’s audience sits on Facebook. Those “games” can’t even be called games, they are shallow tools for bored housewifes who have no clue about the better stuff that is out there. I once tried to play one of their games on FB and it couldn’t even keep me interested for two minutes.

    Today, to make lots of money you have to do shitty and shallow mainstream stuff that every complete retard understands. The same applies to other media, just look at music or movies. Zynga is only in it for the money and doesn’t care about games just like Britney Spears isn’t interested in making good music.

    Quality was and will always be a niche for a few selected parts of the civilization. I’m glad you and me are among them!

  3. I wouldn’t say it is shitty. It does a wonderful job of creating relatively random rewards in an attempt to get the endorphins at a high level and make the game addictive. :) They write addictive games. They happen to be mindlessly addictive, but there is something that draws people to play.

    Of course, Zygna is using that addiction to drive people to keep on play, like a crack dealer.

    It depends on your goals and how hard you aim for them. Steam is interesting in money, just like Zygna, but Zygna is willing to set everything else aside, simply to make that money.

    I’d rather make less money to make people happier.

  4. And this, Cliff, is why I buy games from you, and why I bought Frozen Synapse, and Minecraft, and World of Goo, etc., but would never send my money towards Zynga. Being a publicly nice person and obviously emotionally invested in the games you’re making and wanting to make a game you’d want to play yourself is something that massively increases my chances of buying a game from you, and has definitely been a deciding factor when I’ve been on the fence in the past.

    Also, in my experience, games companies that have that positive attitude towards their games and customers rarely make bad games. They might make games with some flaws, or games that I’d not want to play because of a matter of taste (e.g. genre I don’t care for), but the games are never /bad/ overall just because if they were, they never would have been made/released.

  5. The thing with Zynga (which I realised when I played a couple of their older offerings) is that (1) they only have a few templates which all of their games follow, so if you pick a couple of them then they’re likely to be the same game reskinned, and (2) the games only keep you there because they give you something to click on. A lot. Procrastination is really easy when you just have a button sitting there that you click over and over again for some arbitrary and meaningless reward.

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