The sequel to Mafia Wars on Facebook is not meeting expectations after it so called peaked in popularity shortly after launch with 2.5 million daily players - I only question so called peaked, as did it ever really hit the numbers Zynga were expecting?
Either way, looking at the stats and figures around the net, it's taken a nosedive, losing 900K players in just over a month. So I wonder where the exexs at Zynga will be pointing their little pre-IPO fingers in an attempt to figure out why this game is turning off players at such a rapid pace.
Some say, from what I have read, one of the most likely reasons? Mafia Wars 2 isn't different enough from the original game to keep people interested. Well I suppose the new game, in essence, is a (so called) 3D version of the original game, but the underlying game mechanics are largely the same.
I think from my point of view, Zynga got it wrong, for many reasons. First of all, to me Mafia Wars 2 is 2 years out of date. The platform brings images to me of, been there done that, not interested.
Me, a die hard Mafia Wars Fan?
And it's not because I am a die hard Mafia Wars fan (shock, wow, KC not a die hard fan!) Well the secret is out, I'm not. The quest I love to pursue and passionate about are the people who play such games.
The social interaction has without doubt brought a lot of new friends to me over the years. A lot of people who I have never met (in person) and would never have met, and a lot these people I actually consider personal friends. This has always been the main point of PlayerScripts and Mafia Wars AutoPlayer, the social interaction.
But back to Mafia Wars 2.
The drop-off may indeed stem from players becoming bored with the same old thing. There is a great quote going around at present.
"All the old Mafia Wars guys who finished everything you could do came over here... This is the same game with different missions."
A research anylist stated -- "They are already tired of it, so they are dropping off, I think it's a good case study for what can go wrong."
Do Facebook games really warrant sequels?
But does it also beg the larger question -- do Facebook games really warrant sequels? Video games are a very sequel driven business, mostly due to the fact that game makers only get paid when someone drops $60 for a physical copy of a game.
In Facebook games, players can spend money during the life of the game. Until recently, video games could not be augmented once it was in players' hands and Facebook games can be updated on a moment's notice.
And, as it gets more difficult to market new Facebook games to players, there needs to be a seriously compelling reason to create a Facebook game sequel -- and, apparently, a slightly repackaged version of the original game just won't and has not cut it.
Or maybe, just maybe, Zynga got it wrong. Not just because it was a sequal. They turned players off well before Mafia Wars 2 came out. I think in many ways Zynga has missed a fantastic oppourtunity in bringing people back to their platforms. And whilst they will no doubt raise a bob or two with their IPO - how long can this bubble last without someone somewhere in Zynga taking a serious internal look of who they are?
I've been involved in Mafia Wars for nearly three years, been in buisness for over 25 years. And I am sorry to say, I've never come across a company that seems so internally fragmented as Zynga. In other words, one department seems to have no idea what another department has been, or is about to do. And that's just not from a marketing point, but from a coding point too.
It seems to me that Zynga are like the Microsoft of the 90's - if it's broken, we will send you a patch. If it's still broken, don't worry your little self -- we will find somethign else to break to get you talking about it to forget what was broken in the first place. And so on.
Basically my point is this. If you carry on breaking something, ignoring it, finding the user something else to moan about -- eventually you will lose the confidence of that user. Personally, I think this has what has happened to Mafia Wars 2. The trust and the confidence was going even before the launch of the new the game.
No matter how good a product is and no matter how millions of people like it --- the simple fact is, those same people remember more about the "patches" the "breakages" long after they think about how good the product was.
Would I invest in Zynga. At this stage, no. I think we will find once the IPO has been done, the share price within a few months will be lower than what it was offered at.
But hey! What do I know, I just play (err MWAP RX6 does), this game.