Have you played Farmville? There are estimates that one in ten Americans has. It’s a video game that people mostly play on Facebook where you get a little patch of land that you get to / have to take care of. You tend the soil, raise crops, acquire animals. Your farm grows as you work at it and acquire points and fake money. You can also pay real money for it to grow. It’s a silly game.
But Google is taking it seriously. They’ve apparently invested at least a hundred million dollars in Farmville’s parent company, Zynga, who also makes other similar games that are played online. Games like Frontierville and Mafia Wars.
Google is seen as getting ready to take on Facebook with a much more aggressive push into social media. The idea is for Zynga games to be at the heart of a new Google gaming site. We talk to Dean Takahashi from Games Beat who says he’s confirmed this story about Google’s investment. He fills us in on what Google is doing here.
We also talk to A.J. Patrick Liskiewicz. He’s in the process of completing an MFA in the Department of Media Study at SUNY Buffalo. He’s written about Farmville online and says that what’s really at the heart of Farmville’s popularity is a compulsion toward politeness.