[Diggers350] Diggers against Facebook

Simon Fairlie chapter7 at tlio.org.uk
Mon Nov 22 22:06:57 GMT 2010

Where are these 100 million people? Who counted them?  I've never  
even heard of it. Is there anyone on Diggers 350 who plays it? Or who  
knows someone who plays it?

On 21 Nov 2010, at 19:27, Tony Gosling wrote:

> Main problem with Facebook is that while content
> is available to people who are logged in it is
> not generally available via search engines and quickly disappears.
> Almost a private internet owned by Facebook
> and then there's this.........
> Tesco to sell facebook currency for real money
> Facebook credits go on sale in UK
> Tesco and games retailer Game start selling gift
> cards in more than 1,000 high street stores to buy virtual online  
> goods
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/nov/19/facebook-credits- 
> game-tesco
> Josh Halliday - guardian.co.uk, Friday 19 November 2010 16.42 GMT
> Online currency, with which Facebook users can
> purchase pixel-based virtual farm animals or pay
> to attend virtual events, might seem small beer.
> But now the online goods economy may be about to
> boom in the UK, as Tesco and the games retailer
> Game start selling Facebook credits in more than 1,000 high street  
> stores.
> The UK's 33 million Facebook users will be able
> to buy so-called "Facebook credits" in the
> non-pixellated world. The gift cards, costing £10
> or £20, will only be redeemable on Facebook,
> where users can spend the converted currency on
> any number of nonexistent objects.
> FarmVille: they reap what you sow
> FarmVille's success is built on its fantasy of
> self-reliance – yet its players are just serfs tilling for  
> another's profit
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/19/farmville-they- 
> reap-what-you-sow
> Laurie Penny  - guardian.co.uk, Friday 19 November 2010 18.30 GMT
> Almost 100 million people play FarmVille, which
> has just announced profits of $500m. Photograph: Guardian
> There can be no more elegant example of the
> alienation of the modern workplace than the fact
> that hundreds of millions of employees across the
> globe spend their lunch hours pretending to be
> farmers on the internet. With all the
> breathtaking and transformative power of the web
> at their fingertips, armies of workers and young
> people still choose to spend their online hours
> growing virtual potatoes on badly animated digital fields.
> One of the biggest forums for this activity is
> FarmVille, the online role-playing game made
> popular through Facebook, whose players tend and
> trade digital crops and livestock. Almost 100
> million people subscribe to the game, which has
> just announced profits of $500m (£300m) for 2010.
> I have an account myself, and have spent many
> happy hours playing on my virtual farm, although
> my attempts to grow virtual opium were swiftly curtailed by the  
> virtual CIA.
> This week, FarmVille's controlling company,
> Zynga, has begun a major expansion drive,
> announcing a new deal with Yahoo and marketing
> its in-game credits in real-world supermarkets.
> Zynga's stock is predicted to soar, especially
> after the launch of CityVille, an urban version
> that runs along the same principles of clunky
> virtual enterprise. Because of the extraordinary
> speed with which FarmVille has become popular, it
> is tempting to regard it as a fad; but this is no isolated phenomenon.
> The internet now boasts several massively popular
> farm-themed video games: from Farmerama to Happy
> Farm, where 23 million people in China and Taiwan
> daily tend their digital crops. Altogether, since
> 2008, the number of regular players of
> farm-themed online games across the world has
> ballooned to almost 150 million – 2.5% of the entire human race.
> Most video games have obvious escapist themes,
> allowing players to immerse themselves in
> fantastical scenarios such as leading dwarf
> armies or shooting aliens in epic space battles.
> FarmVille is not really about escaping to a farm
> – most of the office workers saving their digital
> coins to buy virtual tractors would panic were
> they ever to be presented with an actual pig.
> Perhaps what the sudden popularity of
> co-operative farming games shows is that, for
> many modern workers, the idea of owning a piece
> of land within a friendly community is now just
> as inconceivable as pulverising zombie invaders in Resident Evil 4.
> Farming games tap into a powerful collective
> wish-fulfilment fantasy: the fantasy of running
> your own life rather than being a peasant in the
> neo-feudal hierarchy of corporate serfdom. The
> precarity and anxiety of modern labour conditions
> have become more acute during the financial
> crises of the past two years, and this is
> precisely the timeframe in which the craze for these online games  
> took off.
> The bitter irony, of course, is that FarmVille
> itself is a neo-feudal state, where rich virtual
> landowners exploit the free labour of virtual
> farmhands to make real profits. For all its
> evocation of rustic utopia, this and other farm
> simulations are ruthless markets whose
> exploitation of human emotion is anything but
> virtual. Real-world gift cards, now available in
> real-world supermarkets, can buy FarmVille
> players in-game advantages such as better
> "equipment" and more "seeds", and, as with many
> games, some independent speculators have made
> huge profits by trading online assets and even
> running gaming sweatshops to boost their profits.
> The launch of CityVille may simply be the logical
> next step in the online industrial revolution.
> The stated mission of Zynga is to "connect the
> world through games" – but rather than connecting
> the world, online farming games unite it in a
> compliant virtual fantasy of self-determination
> that displaces real resistance. Alienated workers
> pay real money to play out a fantasy of having
> control over the products of their own labour,
> but the true tragedy is that, even in the jerky
> bucolic idyll of FarmVille, they are still working for someone  
> else's profit.
> +44 (0)7786 952037
> http://tonygosling.blip.tv/
> http://www.thisweek.org.uk/
> http://www.911forum.org.uk/
> "Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
> _________________
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