Monday, November 2, 2009

Getting tired of Facebook games

My excursion into the world of Facebook games was a short one, I'm already quickly losing interest. While Teut let me know that social network farming games are all the rage in China, I still have problems understanding what the fun is supposed to be. I click once to plow my field, once to plant, and once again to harvest, and that is where the gameplay ends. Multiply that with 200 fields on a 14x14 farm, and you'll get a big click-fest, but still not much fun. And the only "strategy" consists in choosing what to plant, with me having a preference for slow crops, because then I need to do those 600 clicks only every 3 or 4 days.

If I continue that for a while, I'll be able to afford a tractor, which presumably will save me some clicking. But the fuel for the tractor can apparently only be bought with "Farm Cash", which you can only get with real money, or by signing up for "free" FarmCash from advertisers. Surprise, surprise, mbp warns me that many of these "free" offers are scams, with users involuntarily signing up for some subscription they didn't want, and ending up paying more for the "free" Farm Cash than if they had just bought it.

No wonder people are increasingly suspicious of the microtransaction business model. While there are lot of good examples of microtransactions being used in a transparent way to buy access to more content in a good game, the frequent use of microtransactions in opaque scams for "games" that don't really have much gameplay, and where you are basically just wasting time and money to advance in a meaningless social competition makes people wary. But then of course a lot of people think that monthly subscription MMORPGs are also just a waste of time and money to advance in a meaningless social competition. So maybe I'm biased when I say that interesting gameplay is the minimum I expect from a game. Apparently for some people it is sufficient if they just get virtual rewards, even if the game doesn't amount to anything much.

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