“Farmville 2” to become zynga’s new cash cow

Farmville 2" is the successor to zynga’s game. As in the first part, there is virtual plowing and harvesting, but in a more hubscher graphics. The game is now online worldwide. "Farmville is not just any game. Zynga has made a breakthrough with the simulation, with more than 80 million users logging on each month at peak times.

The startup from san francisco even established a new game genre with it, several developers built virtual farms after its rough success. And even today, the title is still a cash cow thanks to a number of expansions: around 18 million users still log in every month; by buying virtual good, they account for almost one-third (29 percent) of zynga’s revenue – the most important source of revenue for free games.

In the meantime, however, many users have moved on, tim letourneau, top manager at zynga, told the dpa news agency. "That doesn’t mean they don’t like farm games anymore – they just don’t want this game anymore."That’s why the company has rethought virtual farming from the ground up with farmville 2.

The supplier wants to score points on the one hand with more sophisticated graphics. "Our goal was to bring the farm to life," said letourneau. Based on flash technology, zynga programmed a title completely in 3D for the first time. "There is no other game like it on facebook," letourneau said with conviction. The animations are pleasing, but far from the quality of games that can be bought on a PC or console.

On the other hand, the developers have tweaked the game mechanics. The simulation has become more complex: wheat and blueberries, eggs and milk don’t just turn into money like in the first part, but can be processed further. And if you encourage your facebook friends to get involved, you’ll make faster progress – and also spread the game virally.

What hasn’t changed: zynga deliberately adds delays in many places. Impatient users can bypass this by spending real money, such as on fertilizer, which makes the seeds in the field grow faster. This business model is called free-to-play in the industry: the game is free, but those who spend money can advance faster or upgrade their farm.

Zynga is urgently dependent on the success of its best-known brand. In the core business with facebook games – social games – the newcomer to the stock exchange has disappointed with losses, the share price has rushed from 14 to under 3 dollars. Investors have doubts that zynga can continue to attract and retain so many new users and persuade them to buy virtual items.

Because the competition for users’ attention and wallets is fierce. Heavyweights such as ubisoft and electronic arts are now also involved in social games, working with popular brands such as "siedler" and "command&" conquer" to end online games around. The boom in smartphones and tablets is also hurting zynga. The mobile devices are popular game consoles. Here, however, the startup is only one of many providers. A mobile version of "farmville 2" is not announced yet anyway.

To spread the word about the new "farmville" like weed, zynga activates its rough player network. And to avoid a language barrier for new users, zynga offers the concise texts in 16 language versions, including german – a novelty for americans.

By the way, the new "farmville" is not meant to be a replacement for the old game: part 1 will not be discontinued, letourneau promised: "we will continue to make content and expansions."Who would sacrifice a cash cow?

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