Facecraft

If you have a Facebook like most of the population, then odds are you’ve tried a Facebook game or two. I don’t know a single person under the age of 30 that if I asked them, “Do you know what FarmVille is?” who wouldn’t answer, “yes.” It really is an incredible market. With Facebook credits out now, Facebook has a new way to make even more money off of us. That aside, most of them have one thing in common; A set amount of energy that your avatar has to do things. Wether it be limiting your actions or limiting the amount of time you can play, they mostly all share that one trait.

On day my father was sitting on the couch when suddenly he said with a groan, “I hate it. That is so stupid. Why would they even put that in there?” Now I knew he was referring to the game he was playing but I had yet to figure out that he was referring to his energy bar. It is a source of much frustration when you’re trying to finish a quest in a game and for some uncontrollable reason you are forced to stop. But after a bit of thought I have come up with a theory.

The reason (I believe) that they put a limitation on the amount of playing is for two main reasons. The first is so that people will not spend as much time on the computer playing a game. The second is so that every player in the community is forced to grow at the same crawling rate that every other individual player.

People tend to obsess over things that they control. If the non-gamer is in charge of a slow, easy to figure out game, they will want to come back for more. On top of that, if he game is something that they can put to a schedule (I can plant these crops now and after I pick up the kids I can harvest them) then it is an easy way to micro manage your life. This just flows for people and that is what makes the Facebook gaming platform so powerful. So Why limit this power? Why not just let people go and go? I think it has something to do with what I just mentioned. People would just play and play and play as they do with every other type of feel good that they have. (Drug addicts, alcoholics, Starcraft players… etc.) This obsessive behavior is not something that Facebook and its corresponding game companies want to produce so they figured out a way to limit it. This way people will avoid the addictive behavior (or at least attempt to curve it) and still allow them to enjoy the time the player has.

The other reason that I speculate is at hand is the same problem that new XBox Live users encounter. “I don’t want to play this because everyone is better than me.” This still may be true but by limiting the amount of playtime, the user has to understand that the only way the other players got to be “better” than him/her is by playing at the same rate that he or she can. It is a fair playing ground. Not some n00by hax system that every time you log you’re gonna get ganked or spawn killed and bagged by some troll.

Sorry let me collect my self.

*Ahem*

Thank you.

The level playing field and the anti-obsessive nature of Facebook games make them about as entertaining as an iPhone or Android app, but that is exactly what they are ment to be. Entertainment for a short period of time when you are bored. Not a hardcore gaming platform. Now, close the other Facebook tab you have open and go outside and do something you cave troll.

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2 comments

  1. They have a set level of energy so that when you become frustrated because you are in the middle of something you buy more credits, thus earning them a profit.

  2. Eric James · · Reply

    Considering Facebook is, well, Facebook, I can’t imagine them trying to *limit* someone’s type in the game. Of course, these games aren’t developed by Facebook but by third-party teams like Zynga.

    Hmm. It’s something I’d like to investigate more on. I’m sure you’re right, they looked at the demographics and saw that most of their players are not the “hardcore gamers” but are in fact the busy parents.

    Still, I’m quite intrigued by a gaming company that intentionally limits its players on the time they play.

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