The perils of Farmville: A look into the social gaming phenomenon

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Two of the Radio Times team squared off in Words With Friends, one of Zynga's -- and Facebook's -- most popular social games.

Hour 2

Zynga, a social games company that has created hits like Farmville and Words With Friends, made headlines recently after Facebook released data indicating that Zynga is responsible for about 12 percent of its annual revenue. Social games are played on Facebook or on mobile devices and typically allow users to play with their friends. Generating billions of dollars and claiming over 50 million users, they are extremely popular and an important part of the gaming industry. But these types of games have been embroiled in a debate regarding the morality of the style of game play. Proponents of social games claim that they allow users to connect with friends while critics argue that they can be exploitative, as some of them require players to shell out real cash for virtual items and that they only require rote tasks. Joining us to talk about it all is IAN BOGOST of Georgia Tech. Bogost is a game theorist, designer, and researcher who created Cow Clicker, a satirical Facebook game. We also here from NICK YEE of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, who studies player motivations and the psychological implications of social gaming.

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[audio: 021512_110630.mp3]

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