Adobe shuts down Flash software today, bringing with it Zynga’s original 2009 FarmVille game.
It ends a time of social play that will be remembered in history with mixed feelings. Some people hated the spotty nature of Farmville and the boring gaming, while others appreciated what it was trying to do to make gaming more social and appealing to untapped demographic groups such as older women.
As of today, Flash will no longer be supported by browsers and Facebook, since it has been surpassed by web technologies such as HTML5. And that means Flash-based FarmVille will no longer run. Instead of adapting the original game to run on HTML5, Zynga chose to shut down the social game. Those still playing can migrate to FarmVille: Tropic Escape or play games in the browser, such as FarmVille2: Tropic Escape, FarmVille 2: Country Escape and FarmVille 2.
Zynga stopped accepting payments in the game in November, and it offered a bonus package to those migrating to FarmVille: Tropic Escape.
Mark Pincus, co-founder and former CEO of Zynga, remembers the 1
Tomorrow, Zynga FarmVille closes on Facebook after 11 years. I wanted to share the story of how we created it and why it has played such an important role in the development of games. 1 / x
– mark pincus (@markpinc) December 31, 2020
“FarmVille demonstrated that a game can be a living, ongoing service that can deliver daily surprise and joy, much like a favorite TV series,” Pincus wrote. Games can also connect groups of people and bring them closer together. FarmVille unleashed a new category of ‘invest-and-express’ games, where players could invest time and express themselves to friends and family. Busy adults, especially women, so that games could have a valuable place in life and offer you more than empty calories. ”
How FarmVille came to be
Before FarmVille, Zynga’s most successful game was Zynga Poker. In May 2009, Zynga bought MyMiniLife and turned its four engineers – Amitt Mahajan, Joel Poloney, Luke Rajlich and Sizhao Zao Yang – to create a social farm game. Other titles such as Farm Town, MyFarm and Happy Farm saw success on social platforms, so Zynga was late for the social farm party. And it will long be criticized for cloning other games and making them more successful than the originals.
The MyMiniLife team moved quickly, led by Mark Skaggs and David Gray. The team was sitting in an alcove by Pincus’ office. He met them daily. Within six weeks, they launched the original game on June 19 at 8 pm The Facebook game was a spammy title that filled your news feed with the farm’s achievements. It alerted you when your crops were ready, and you harvested them simply by clicking on them with the mouse. But it was easy to play for people who did not have much time. With simple mouse clicks you can plow, plant and harvest. The catch was that you had to come back, otherwise your crops would wither. So players got stuck in an addictive loop.
“In recent weeks, I’ve had players reach out to me from all over the world to share their stories and thank me for the game,” Skaggs said in a message to GamesBeat. “It is humbling and heartwarming to see how much the game affected people and became a part of their lives. When I started making games in 1993, I had no idea I would ever be involved in something as big, or played around the world, as FarmVille was. We did it at a special time, 2009, right after the recession and early summer, just as Facebook really got big, as Zynga was able to support it, when the Amazon cloud was mature enough, as women and random players over the whole world was ready for something new. ”
It was an immediate viral hit and reached one million daily active users in its first week.
“The moment we realized what we had shortly after launch was a highlight of my life and career,” Mahajan said in a message to GamesBeat. “We really got lightning in a bottle.”
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, had asked Pincus to send all the content he could, as Facebook had just opened the news feed to app developers.
“Farmville became the first major game to take advantage of the news feed as an extension of the core game,” Pincus said.
At one point, in 2013, FarmVille had 17 players in the Vatican. Zynga beat all the other farm games – at least until Supercell’s Hay Day came in 2012 – because the game was far easier to play and much easier to share with friends. It was a lesson in accessibility.
In a message to GamesBeat, former Zynga engineer Yang said that MyMiniLife’s intangible property was in the game engine, which could drain the cloud. This made it easy to scale up the computing resources as the game’s user base skyrocketed. The MyMiniLife engine became a staple in Zynga’s new game.
The game grew to more than 83 million players by 2010. It made it possible for Zynga to keep the game running (apparently) forever, and Zynga’s mission was to produce an “eternal franchise”. It had an advantage over others because it could market its new games in the news feeds of FarmVille players, at least until Facebook decided to limit this practice.
“A special team of individuals came together to do it,” Skaggs said. “I smile when I think about it all. I am grateful to all the players and that the game was part of an incredible piece of game history. ”
It helped propel Zynga to the top of the pile of Facebook games, and eventually enabled Zynga to be listed on the $ 9 billion stock exchange in 2011.
“FarmVille became a training ground for a generation of entrepreneurs and product managers,” said Pincus.
In a way, the end of Farmville is a lesson for players. Proponents of blockchain – the secure and transparent decentralized ledger – say it can be used to establish ownership of digital objects. If gaming companies make blockchain-based games, players can actually own the goods they buy. If a game is turned off, the player can take the digital items and use them in another game if possible, thanks to the blockchain confirmation. Only now are some of these games created where users can actually own what they buy.
One of these games was recently created by a team led by Eric Schiermeyer, co-founder of Zynga.
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