New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis
Gamification Research on the Game you don’t want to play but have to play
FarmVille is one of Zynga’s best performing games, and for some time was Facebook’s most popular game of all time. Currently, it still remains one of the Top 10 Games on Facebook.
The interesting thing is, FarmVille really isn’t that “fun.” It just mastered some very strong game mechanics to get everyone addicted to it, and then have them invite their friends to play with them.
When you ask FarmVille players whether the game is “fun” or not, you never hear people say, “Its SO amazing!” What you actually will hear is, “it’s okay… I play it every day so I guess it’s pretty fun. You should try it, and make sure you become my neighbor and give me these special crops!”
Similar to my post that analyzes the game mechanics of Diablo 3, this post analyzes the game mechanics that FarmVille uses to become Winning & Addicting.
Basic Game Mechanics
Virtual Reality and Fantasy
Like all sim related games, FarmVille allows the player to imagine herself living the life of someone else, in this case the exciting life of a – woopdidoo – Farmer!
Unfortunately, even though there are some applications in this within Gamification, it mostly ties into the concept of Serious Games, so we won’t be learning too much from this here.
Virtual Currency, Goods, and Values
This first thing a game needs to do, is to get the users to care about something. Sometimes it’s overcoming challenges, sometimes it’s finding out more about the storyline, and in Farmville’s case, it’s caring about virtual goods and properties.
FarmVille players are quickly introduced to a FarmVille currency system called Farm Coins, and as they invest more and more time to accumulate Farm Coins, it establishes value in the players head.
More importantly, because players are trying to build the best farm possible, there now is a new value system based on various crops and properties. Points (coins) aren’t just there for kicks and giggles, but there is actually an ecosystem where they could convert into other things that the player has learned to covet but are difficult to obtain.
Most of the other game mechanics can only work because of this value that is installed into the mind of players.