Zynga should realize that (most) people have had enough of their childish WhateverVille games, their incessant spamming and all the bitching for money. If they don't change their style, even with a gambling giant such as bwin.party backing them, they'll fail over and over until they - and hopefully Facebook - go broke.
From what my friend told me, Farmville got annoying with the repeated "reminders" to share his farm with others and do more social networking. They made it so you pretty much had to bother your friends with spam in order to get stuff for the farm, or pay for it using money.
It was a smart strategy in the beginning to get people to share their farms because nothing makes people spend money more than "keeping up with the Joneses". My friend has a cow, I guess I have to buy one too plus extra barns and stuff to make my farm look as nice as theirs.
However Zynga took it too far and made it too blatant which turned people off. I think they would've been more successful had they just allowed people the option of upgrading their farms and making purchases without outright pushing them to do so.
Gambling will always be pretty successful, billion dollar casinos are built for a reason. But I think the whole Xville concept has reached its peak.
Great article. thanks. I gotta say, my favorite part of the article is still the headline. You referred to this type of gaming as "gamling". I'm very happy to see that you are calling it, what it really is. Because all of these games that use real money, really are just gambling.
Hopefully there are more truthful people out there just like you.
People who buy coins for these slot games are wasting their money. I have played zynga's slot game and all it does is take the money down to zero every time. Ohhh but you can buy coins for $100.00. Why would I buy coins for a game that I can't cash them back in for. My wife and I go to the casinos often but I would never in a million years give these guys a dime.
I am not sure what they mean by "real money" but if you ask me they are bordering on ilegal gambling.
The business model is perfectly fine, it's the execution that's absolutely terrible. I'm a flash game developer by profession, and small teams are extremely profitable. It doesn't take a company the size of Zynga to run Farmville, they simply do so anyways, because they don't know better. Buying out words with Friends for that ridiculous amount was also a horrible business strategy, it simply didn't regain the cost before the fad of the game died out (yes it's still played, but not nearly as much as it was, which was obviously going to happen).
Bottom line, flash games can be made by 1-4 people, and maintained by even less once released, Zynga is too big for what it does, and loses money by paying salaries to too many people.