The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 11, 2012

Slate: Hard times in FarmVille

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Nobody in Silicon Valley respects Zynga. Sure, the prolific developer of Facebook games has long been considered a "hot" startup, one that hit all the early markers of success. Zynga was founded in 2007, and within a couple years it was one of the world's biggest game companies. Its titles — including FarmVille and CityVille and Words With Friends — have won hundreds of millions of players, a small number of whom spend vast sums to purchase virtual items that improve their standings in the games. These virtual items make for real money: Zynga's 2011 revenue topped $1 billion, and its initial public offering last December was one of the most anticipated tech debuts of the past few years.

Yet despite its blistering early fortunes, I've never spoken to anyone outside Zynga who considers the company's rise a positive development for the tech or gaming industries. Instead, it's more common to hear grousing about how the company treats its employees poorly; that it, ahem, draws inspiration from other game makers' ideas; and that its ultimate prospects may not be that bright.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has defended the company's game development strategy by arguing that the company's versions of other people's games are better: "We don't need to be first to market. We need to be the best in market," he told employees in a memo earlier this year. He has also said that some employee complaints stem from "growing pains"; many of the company's current employees love working at the firm, he has said.

Despite Pincus' statements to the contrary, Zynga feels like a firm without a purpose. The major difference between today's Internet companies and ones that were founded during the dot-com bubble of the 1990s is that modern firms believe they're changing the world. Though their claims may be dubious, Facebook and Twitter genuinely believe that they're going to make a killing and they're going to improve the lives of billions. By that standard Zynga is an unfortunate throwback to the best-forgotten bubble years. All the gaming company does is convince suckers to spend a lot of time and money tending virtual flowerbeds — and it didn't even invent those virtual flowerbeds. If you're looking for this generation's Pets.com, Zynga is pretty much it.

Text Only
Local News
  • Learn about photos

    July 22, 2014

  • DEATH NOTICES These obituaries were received by 7 p.m. Tuesday: DANVILLE

    July 22, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 22, 2014

  • Covington appreciates volunteer work

    City council members heard thanks Monday from street superintendent Rick Smith to Jared Brothers and the Stringtown Church of God youth group. The youth group has been helping the city street department for several summers with various odd jobs.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fire Reports Firefighters responded to the following calls: Friday, 11:18-11:42 a.m. — A broken sprinkler head at 75 Walz Creek.Friday, 12:23-12:38 p.m. — A natural gas leak at 13 S. Kansas St.Friday, 1:18-1:30 p.m. — A trash can on fire at 21 N. Vermilion S

    July 22, 2014

  • Police Reports Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleTuesday:Criminal trespassing in the 1600 block of Redden Court.Wednesday:Theft in the 1300 block of Lape.Thursday:Theft in the 600 block of South Bowman Avenue.Friday:Illegal consumption in the 100 block

    July 22, 2014

  • NWS-CN 07-22 Medal photo Afghan vet earns Medal of Honor WASHINGTON — Bleeding from both legs and his arm, Ryan Pitts kept firing at about 200 Taliban fighters in June 2008, even holding onto his grenades an extra moment to ensure the enemy couldn’t heave them back.On Monday, President Barack Obama draped

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 07-22 Musical photo Musical takes serious tone For those who are inspired by classic tales such as “The Little Mermaid” and “My Love, My Love,” DLO Musical Theater’s summer youth musical is a must see.About 30 cast members ages 8 and up will perform “Once On this Island Jr.” at 7 p.m. Friday and

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-CN 07-22 Stanis photo Vermilion County Museum Society honors longtime quilter WESTVILLE – Victorena Stanis, 90, of Westville could tell a story behind every quilt she’s made over the years, starting in 1935. She knows where the fabric came from, and how she came up with designs.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire destroys barn used for storing hay SIDELL — A fire Saturday night destroyed a hay barn at Crosswinds Equine Rescue, 8182 E 200 North Road, near Sidell, but owner Mike Cross is thankful that no person or horse was injured in the blaze.Four fire departments — Sidell, Indianola, Allerton

    July 22, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open
Must Read