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Like lots of people, Google shells out money for Farmville

Posted: 07/13/10 06:00 AM

Have you played Farmville? There are estimates that one in ten Americans has. It’s a video game that people mostly play on Facebook where you get a little patch of land that you get to / have to take care of. You tend the soil, raise crops, acquire animals. Your farm grows as you work at it and acquire points and fake money You can also pay real money for it to grow. It’s a silly game.

But Google is taking it seriously. They’ve apparently invested at least a hundred million dollars in Farmville’s parent company, Zynga, who also makes other similar games that are played online. Games like Frontierville and Mafia Wars.

Google is seen as getting ready to take on Facebook with a much more aggressive push into social media. The idea is for Zynga games to be at the heart of a new Google gaming site. We talk to Dean Takahashi from Games Beat who says he’s confirmed this story about Google’s investment. He fills us in on what Google is doing here.

We also talk to A.J. Patrick Liskiewicz. He’s in the process of completing an MFA in the Department of Media Study at SUNY Buffalo. He’s written about Farmville online and says that what’s really at the heart of Farmville’s popularity is a compulsion toward politeness.

Comments | Filed Under: google farmville zynga

Farmville is the cigarettes of gaming

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/08/10 11:44 AM

That’s what I tweeted yesterday on news that the TurboMegaGigantopopular game Farmville is coming to the iPhone. “We want to destroy the last shred of productivity Americans can manage and rip families apart,” the president of Farmville said but not really. Today, Larissa pointed out this article where Dr Dominic Micklewright, from the University of Essex compared the health of gamers to athletes.  The gamers have the reaction time of a fighter jet pilot, but the lung function of a 60-year old smoker.

Comments | Filed Under: farmville games iphone zynga

What matters from the WWDC?

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/07/10 12:33 PM

Heck, I’m not sure. But as Jobs talks, I’m going to attempt to update this entry and figure it out.

As I said before, I think what it all might mean to AT&T and people hoping to have good coverage will be significant. But maybe that’s because even though I live exactly halfway between the large cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, I often can’t get phone coverage on my iPhone.

- 8500 native apps for iPad. 225,000 for iPhone.

- 5 million books for iPad downloaded in 65 days.

- You’ll be able to make notes in iPad. Also place bookmarks and read PDFs.

- Jobs defends app store approval process. Not all that convincingly but at least he’s talking about it in public. Doesn’t seem to be addressing controversial apps.

- Netflix coming to iPhone for free this summer.

- Zynga bringing Farmville to iPhone. Scoff at Farmville at your own peril. It’s huge.

- Guitar Hero too. Social/sharing elements being pushed.

- iPhone 4. Looks just like the leaked prototype. Stainless steel all around, glass front. 24% thinner than 3GS. “Integrated antennas for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, all the cell stuff.” - ars technica

- iPhone 4 has 4x the pixel display of 3GS. 326 per inch. Human eye, says Jobs, can only perceive 300 so it won’t look like pixels. Brighter and sharper than the 3GS.

- New iPhone is powered by the A4 chip. Same guts as the iPad. Way more battery life as a result.

- Adding a gyroscope for gaming.

- New 5 megapixel camera with better light sensors for low light photography.

- iPhone 4 has built in HD video camera.

- iMovie app for iPhone. Edit movies on same device you shoot them on. Nice editing features. $4.99. Good thing it’s not $5.00, that would be a total ripoff.

- Renaming OS4 as iOS4.

- Google stays the default for search, Bing added as an option. Yahoo still there, adorably.

- iBooks coming to iPhone and iPod Touch (oh yeah, iPods exist).

- New iAds platform. Advertisements integrated into apps so users don’t get kicked out of app and into browser. Pitched as way for app developers to make money producing free/cheap apps. I can see why app developers would like this. Can’t say I dig it as a customer.

- Face Time, a video chat feature. iPhone 4 to iPhone 4, Wifi only.

- iPhone 4 - $199 for 16gb, $299 for 32gb. On sale June 24.







Comments | Filed Under: apple zynga netflix wwdc ipad iphone

Zynga Owns You. And Now Your Slurpee Too.

 by John Moe // Posted: 05/24/10 10:03 AM

Tech Crunch reports that 7-Eleven has struck a deal with Zynga to brand various products in the stores with Zynga games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, and YoVille. The items will feature codes that you can redeem to, I don’t know, buy a cow or kill a guy or whatever YoVille is. BUT! The big story here is that Zynga says 10% of the US population is now playing Farmville. 10 %! So look out at the street, if you see 10 people, one of them is worried over their digital pig. What have we become?

Comments | Filed Under: facebook games slurpees zynga

today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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