Fri, Sep 07, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Zynga hopes for new crop of users with FarmVille 2

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

Zynga on Wednesday launched a new version of FarmVille as the one-time social games darling tries to win back players to one of the Facebook games that fueled its rise to stardom.

“We recognize that there are players who have moved on from FarmVille,” Zynga vice president of games Tim LeTourneau said.

“We wanted to embrace what three years of technology has brought and reinvent FarmVille as if we were making it fresh today,” he said.

FarmVille 2 is the first Zynga game built entirely with immersive 3D graphics and debuted in 16 languages — including French, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese — in an unprecedented nod to the original’s international appeal.

“FarmVille is a flagship product for Zynga and a global phenomenon that has been transformative for social gaming,” LeTourneau said.

Players tend to vivid virtual farms; planting seeds, watering and harvesting crops and even selling fruits, vegetables, crafts or baked goods at roadside stands.

“FarmVille 2 is an escape to a nostalgic place; a throwback to simpler times,” LeTourneau said while demonstrating the game. “We want to tell a story of you bringing this old family farm back to life and make you feel like you are part of this small village playing with your friends.”

Players can raise chickens, goats or other livestock as well as crops. The game was designed to be “irresistibly touchable” with plants, animals and more going into action when the cursor passes over them.

“The goal is to create and run a thriving farm with your friends,” LeTourneau said. “The bounty of the farm is ultimately what allows you to expand, and friends are the most powerful thing in the game.”

The original FarmVille was released for play at Facebook in 2009 and boasted 83 million monthly users at the height of its popularity.

Now, FarmVille has 18.9 million monthly players, according to industry tracker AppData.

Zynga has been under pressure to come up with fresh games to keep the attention of players.

The company’s chief creative and chief operating officers left last month after Zynga reported a losing fiscal quarter.

Spirits have sunk at the San Francisco-based firm along with the stock price. Shares were US$2.92 at the close of trading on Wednesday on the NASDAQ exchange. Zynga went public last year in December at US$10 per share.

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