Facebook, Zynga, Zoo World, and more

25 Oct

I use Facebook.  I play games, although not as many as I used to.  In the past few months, I have eliminated a number of games from my profile and blocked them.  Some people wonder why.

On Facebook, many people find the games far more intriguing than the other facets of using the social media platform.  That has given great power to the game developers, and over the past year, Facebook has made a number of changes that has affected how users interact with the games and other players.  Facebook has also had a number of issues regarding security.

Recently, there was a news report that indicated that four different Zynga games were implicated as potential serious security risks, allowing hackers potential access to private information on Facebook.    For some people, this resulted in near panic, while others were completely unconcerned.  Friends and acquaintances were deleting Facebook or continuing to play the games, and I saw little consistency in their reactions.

At the same time, I also know a number of people who have recently been locked out of their Facebook accounts due to “suspicious activity.”  The gossip grapevine has indicated that accepting too many friend requests, being involved in certain topics (such as ufos, paranormal topics) or making anti-Facebook remarks would lead to this accusation.  For the people that I personally know that have had their accounts locked, there was nothing resembling spam, scam, or excessive postings. Only one of the people that had trouble with their first attempt to regain access has ever regained access.   Almost everyone I know has had Facebook challenge them, requiring a cell phone number to regain access.  I actually consider that a bit more odd than any news report about game platform hacking attempts.  Why does  Facebook want our cell phone numbers so badly?

On the other hand, losing your Facebook account sounds rather trivial.  It is trivial only in one sense.    For those who have spent money purchasing Facebook credits or various kinds of credits for games, there is an financial loss.  For those who use Facebook to promote their public persona, and therefore as a venue for their “product” (themselves), there is also an economic factor–it takes time to promote yourself in regards to radio, television, writing, website, etc.  That time equates money, because traffic to your website is critical to maintain that connection with potential fans.  There is also a peer group of people working in the same field that will be on your friend list, and those contacts are equally important for networking.   A good network is worth a considerable amount of time and money, and losing it, even if it is a temporary loss, can be traumatic for the user.  That means that Facebook is not the place to put all of your efforts, as they work through their ample list of security issues.  Remember that old saying of don’t put your eggs all in one basket–then, if Facebook decides that you are not real or that you have violated their TOS, you don’t have worries about how people will find you.

As for the games…I have heard a lot of complaining from friends on my friend list about how developers are not being responsive to problems, and I certainly have my own complaints about some of them.  I found Zoo World developers to be completely out of touch with their players, and there is virtually no interaction with them if there is a problem.  With Zoo World, problems occur frequently.  With the Zynga games, I had less interaction with the “help” area, but I knew a number of people who did have problems, and could not get any response from anyone in a timely manner.  My complaint was that the Zynga games started being work themselves rather than a fun diversion.  Cafe World with their “missions” that were impossible to complete.  Frontierville with over 100 requests of some sort per day from my ‘neighbors’ and friends.  Farm Town and Farmville became massive investments of effort and begging of friends for bits and pieces.  Mafia Wars lost its fun factor with one too many “upgrades” and too much work with giving and receiving of things to build this or that.  Games should be a fun diversion, not a substitute for a life.

So, I quit playing them.  One by one, I stopped doing anything with them.  Most recently, it was Zoo World and Cafe World that went away.  The earliest games to get deleted were the list of aquarium games, followed quickly by Farm Town.  Why did I quit?  They stopped being fun, and the developers were not willing to listen to players.  They didn’t care what we thought, we were just the players.

They were wrong.  The players are their customers, and the product they sell is the game.  They get revenue from the game via the advertisements on the side bar as well as by selling premium items, bonus points, etc.  When a company does not provide customer service at a satisfactory level, they have fewer customers usually.  However, in terms of Facebook games, crappy customer service seems to be acceptable.  Don’t people get the concept of boycotting?  Zynga has a long track record of not responding to player complaints.  Now, they are accused of serious security breaches that were not plugged.  Why are people STILL playing?  The games don’t have the ability to be financially rewarding.  There is no carrot that you MIGHT win $1,000,000 in the next round.  The only winners at those games are the companies that own them.

Even as the majority of the Facebook games score so low on customer service that there is no score, one game shines bright.  It pays attention to its players.  It treats them fairly.  It shifts in consideration of what the players as a whole want to see happen with the game.  Who is this miracle and what game is it?  It’s Mouse Hunt with Hit Grab.  The graphics are amazing, the game allows for fun interaction with your friends without requiring you to beg daily for bits and pieces to build something you didn’t even know you wanted.  Granted, you CAN beg…and you do build things (like your traps.)  But you can do it without interacting usually.  The latest special event, their Trick & Treat for Halloween, does have you trick or treating your friends by stopping at an abbreviated version of their profile and clicking a button.  That’s okay, but I do hope they don’t step it up to include ridiculous levels of annoying your friends and family.  I do appreciate the fact that someone is providing excellent customer service in a forum that is notorious for zero customer service, and admit that Mouse Hunt is the ONLY game that I have spent real money playing (and supporting the game.)  I haven’t spent a lot, but for me to be willing to support a game even with a $3 payment is unusual.

 

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One Response to “Facebook, Zynga, Zoo World, and more”

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  1. Facebook, Zynga, Zoo World, and more | Mafia Wars Resources - October 25, 2010

    […] more: Facebook, Zynga, Zoo World, and more Tags: book face facebook find-the-games game more-intriguing other-facets past play-games profile […]

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