Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Zynga: sweet, cheap, frequent, and easy.

MIT Technology Review has an article that looks into Zynga's business model beyond "freemium."
...what makes Zynga stand out is its success in mining an aspect of behavioral psychology: playing in shorter bursts can be more addictive in the long run.

Unlike companies that spend years crafting elaborate, $60 video games whose stories rival or even exceed movies in their complexity, and which are designed to be played for hours on end, a Zynga game generally asks players to perform quick activities: click here to plow a field in FarmVille; click here to fight a rival in Mafia Wars.

The games are also meant to be conversation starters: you are encouraged to invite your Facebook friends to play with you and team up on various tasks, though you don't all have to be online at the same time for it to work. At nearly any given time, if you stop playing, it's easy to pick up where you left off. In fact, Zynga's games sometimes give you cues that it's fine to stop—for example, by telling you that some plot of farmland won't be ready to harvest for a few more hours.

By making it easy for its games to be consumed in sociable, nugget-sized increments, Zynga hopes to get you so accustomed to popping them into your days that eventually, you'll have no problem spending real money to enhance the experience.
 It's addictive because it creates an illusion of achievement. With Zynga, it is easy to get started and get something done in a very short period of time. Unlike the real life, playing Zynga frees people from the need for planning. Activities are chunked in sweet easy bites. Just like sugar drinks and candy snacks that help proliferate the obesity epidemic.

tags: control, psychology, business, model, content, behavior, games, 10x

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