Farm Living Is The Life For Me

1 07 2010

As much as I despise social gaming sites cluttering up my Facebook news feed (by the way, I have hidden all of them now, so I will no longer hear about your goats, mafia scuffles, family feuds, etc.), I realize that there is an enormous future in the genre. In fact, I have gone on record as saying the pot of gold at rainbow’s end is filled with not only a delightful user interface online, but also apps for every portable device we own, as well as an app for the emerging internet TVs we will soon be buying.

In other words, we will have access to these popular games at every turn, no matter where we are. No longer will we need to be anchored to a desktop or laptop computer. And it is Farmville that is taking the biggest step in this direction.

Announced back in April, Farmville owner Zynga just released apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod. This automatically spreads the game into a myriad of out-of-home or -office locations. With 70 million active users each month, Farmville just endeared itself to its constituents. And made itself more attractive to those who want to abandon city life.

All that’s left are those TV apps. For TVs we have yet to buy…but will no doubt scoop up as our current sets expire.

Well, and one more thing: Monetizing all of those eyeballs.

Once games become playable from every room in the house, in cars, in buses and on trains, the opportunity to send highly targeted ads becomes one that cannot be overlooked. But there are some considerations. Even Facebook has not yet figured out how to weave ads into the the smartphone apps that so many of us use in lieu of a desktop computer. But I bet Zuckerberg has had many sleepless nights over that one, and is working on a solution. I bet FB could double their ad revenue (rumored to be about $1 billion already) if they could cram ads into those apps.

Words With Friends and similar games have already started to tap into this market opportunity, but it is Farmville who stands to be the lion king in this jungle. With so many dedicated (even fanatical, hopelessly addicted) users, these apps are the great enabler. It’s as if crack cocaine suddenly became available on every street corner.

As the ability to play these games (either alone or socially) expands, expect an onslaught of marketers beating a path to your app. It’s hard to resist 70 million people glued to an application for hours. Because they aren’t going to change channels.

Just don’t send your goats over to my farm. And I don’t play games.

Dr “Apropos Of Something” Gerlich



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