In january I stopped smoking. My ex was big into facebook and got me into it. I decided I needed a distraction and got embroiled in mafia wars, a social networking game by zynga.
Mafia wars soon became very addictive. At first it seems simple abit like an evolved game of top trumps. As you progress, the game requires you to add friends in order to grow your mafia.
I found the process of this new style of gaming interesting. I have always enjoyed computer games and this is the start of a new branch in their evolution. With games such as Farmville, frontierville and fishville, zynga have cornered a huge market. 10 million people are said to play mafia wars.
I think Facebook’s’ unheard of popularity, amongst other factors, is down to one main unconscious phenomenon:
People unconsciously want to have more friends in their friedlist than their friends have.
Zynga have tapped into this element very successfully.
You can add friends in the game and build up your own Facebook friend list.
This process itself becomes addictive.
I went from around 200 normal friends to 777 friends.
I suppose this element of the game doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it sure appeals to a lot of people.
Some people have 3000 friends on Facebook. I think this is the maximum allowed limit.
Whole other communities have sprung up from MW, trading sites, tips, clans, it’s big business.
Through tapping into people’s need for escapism and fascination with crime MW has become a titan in the gaming world. The popularity of TV show, The sopranos also helped with MW growth.
Fusing these elements together has created a ‘rock’ of addiction never before witnessed on our virtual streets.
I cannot help wonder in which direction this phenomenon will grow. With increased band width, motion detectors and other immersive gaming strategies, rich worlds loom. Zynga may well become the biggest dealers on the worlds block.