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Massive Layoffs at Zynga Prove FarmVille’s Going the Way of Actual Farms

We had to sell Bessie the Belted Cow to the bank for only 10 measly farm coins.

Remember when you couldn't go anywhere on the Internet without someone either loudly proclaiming their love for the Zynga Facebook game FarmVille or making a snide ironic joke about its existence? Their turn-based Facebook games haven't exactly made waves in the news since then, and we've all been pretty happy about that. Everybody except Zynga, of course, which had to lay off around 500 people yesterday as a result. Wow, who'd have thought that a business based entirely on offering useless virtual goods for actual money would be unsustainable?

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Brett Ratner’s Making a FarmVille TV Show, And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

Are you sick of hearing about J.J. Abrams directing things? Yeah, us too. Here's the problem, though -- all the other news about other people signing on to projects is much, much worse. Case in point: because absolutely no one demanded it, you're getting a FarmVille TV series produced by no less a luminary than Brett Ratner, so abandon all  hope ye who enter here. It's a pretty inspired choice, we have to admit -- a man whose movies everyone watches and no one admits to watching paired with a video game many people play, but no one admits to playing for a TV show that probably no one will watch, but we'll bet still gets more episodes than Do No Harm.

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Facebook Unfriends Zynga, Will Still Troll its Vacation Pics

Facebook and game company Zynga have had a special relationship over the years that gave Zynga special access to Facebook users. Readers may recognize this relationship in its most ostentatious form: Constant FarmVille requests and updates from friends. That special relationship is coming to an end, as Facebook alters the deal. Zynga should pray they don't alter it any further.

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American Express Offers Zynga Rewards Card, Requires Planting of “Money Tree” in FarmVille

Zynga's hit Facebook game FarmVille is poised to stretch its tentacles deeper into your wallet in a new deal with American Express. The credit card company is now offering pre-paid cards attached to their Serve rewards program that will earn FarmVille players in-game cash for real-life purchases. Strap yourselves in, as our reality becomes a little bit more like a Philip K. Dick story.

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OMGPOP, Creator of Wildly Successful Draw Something, is Releasing a Wu-Tang Clan FarmVille

OMGPOP, the creator of the wildly successful play-by-email-esque iOS game Draw Something, has revealed the followup to their successful Pictionary-like drawing game: The Street, a FarmVille style game featuring the Wu-Tang Clan. You may now wat.

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Facebook and Zynga Going Steady

Yesterday, Zynga filled an addendum to its IPO which details its interesting and complicated relationship with Facebook. In short, they're going to be working very closely for a while. Last summer, Zynga entered into a five-year exclusivity agreement with Facebook and language pertaining to that agreement was present in the original IPO, but it was chiefly concerned with currency dealings, specifically that Zynga agreed to use Facebook currency for its games and agreed to divvy up the profits with Facebook. This new, massive (600 page) addendum broaches all kinds of other exclusivity concerns and makes it clear that Zynga is ready to work with Facebook for the long haul. According to the addendum, all Zynga games with Facebook support will be Facebook exclusive for the duration of the agreement. This not only affects the games Zynga has already developed, including flagship FarmVille, but will also apply to any further games developed and released on Facebook during the course of the agreement.

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GagaVille: Lady Gaga + FarmVille

If you've been waiting your entire life for Lady Gaga and the creators of FarmVille to join forces, your wish has been granted.

Lady Gaga and Zynga today announced a partnership to launch the mega-artist’s new album “Born this Way.” Launching May 17, the first-of-its-kind program gives “little monsters” throughout the world a first listen to exclusive un-released songs from the upcoming when they visit GagaVille, a uniquely designed neighboring farm in FarmVille (There will be unicorns and crystals. Enough said.). The full album also comes bundled as a free download with the purchase of a special Zynga $25 game card, available exclusively at Best Buy.
We at Geekosystem generally try to do a little more than blockquote press releases, and there's probably some 'celebrity 2.0' angle here or something if we really stretch it, but that pretty much covers it. (via Zynga)

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No, Really: CityVille Population Booms as People Migrate From FarmVille

We're not particular fans of Zynga here, but we are fans of ironic coincidences. It seems like the tides of history effect even our virtual communities, just perhaps a little slower.  2008 was the point at which more than 50% of the human race was living in cities rather than rural areas, and now,
As of today, CityVille, the new city management game by Zynga that launched last month, has over 90 million active users per month, far surpassing FarmVille’s current numbers by over 30 million.
CityVille, in its first month, has not only surpassed FarmVille's current population, it's surpassed FarmVille's highest ever population, which it achieved last March.

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FarmVille for Dummies Is a Book That Is Real

Because time-waster Facebook games are serious business and there are not free guides for this sort of thing on the Internet: Wiley Publishing has made a FarmVille for Dummies book which will be available on February 15th, 2011.
FarmVille For Dummies is aimed at getting novices acquainted with FarmVille rules and regulations, while more savvy players can sharpen their skills and find out how to stay up to date on the latest FarmVille features. You?ll discover how to download the app, create a farmer avatar, and establish your first farm. Then you?ll progress to finding neighbors, purchasing farm cash and coins, shopping at the market, and more.
  • Serves as an ideal introductory guide to the wildly popular online game of FarmVille
  • Walks you through downloading the app either via Facebook, Yahoo!, or your mobile device
  • Details how to find neighbors and interact with them, purchase farm cash and coins, shop at the market, and choose a profession
  • Highlights ways to earn ribbons, construct buildings, and become a co-op farmer
  • Helps you deal with technical issues
  • Author is the founder and creator of the largest FarmVille fan site
  • You can bet the farm that FarmVille For Dummies will help you take your gaming skills to the next level!
    But yeah, FarmVille has 56 million active members and this is probably going to be hugely successful. (Mashable via TDW | Amazon page)

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    Zynga and Disney Settle “Secret Sauce” Lawsuit

    Did you know that Zynga, makers of Farmville, sued Disney Entertainment more than a year ago? You see, Disney had just acquired one of Zynga's competitors Playdom. Playdom, according to Zynga, had been poaching ex-Zynga employees and had even gotten a hold of Zynga's "playbook," a guide to the company's - ahem - "secret sauce."

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    Farmville Knocked Out of Most Popular Facebook App Slot, If Only For a Moment

    Something called Phrases has knocked Farmville off the #1 slot on the list of Facebook apps with the most active users. We'd go investigate the app itself, but it appears to no longer be available to American users. So here's what Worlds in Motion:
    Phrases enables people to post sayings, images, and quizzes from a variety of pre-generated topics on their newsfeed. It's managed to grow virally to 54.3 million monthly users by attaching links to itself on newsfeed posts, and by enabling users to create and share quizzes for others.
    Okay then.

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    Zynga to Unleash CityVille Upon the Masses

    Zynga, the developer responsible for unleashing FarmVille on your parents, has just announced a beta for a new entry in its never-ending -Ville franchise, CityVille. At least now, if you're sick of farms and frontiers, you can move on up to the big city and do all of the same stuff from the previous two games under streetlights.

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    FarmVille Superhero Costumes Pulled At the Request of DC Comics?

    A little while ago, FarmVille was offering these costumes to its players, named, respectively SuperFarmvilleMan and SuperFarmvilleWoman. And now... it's not.  Not only are they not available to purchase, they have been removed from the accounts of those who bought them in return for refunds.  And we know how Zynga feels about refunds. The most likely reason for the yank?  Well... just look at them.

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    Mother Who Killed Baby for Interrupting FarmVille Pleads Guilty to Murder

    Just an awful story coming out of Jacksonville, Florida: A woman named Alexandra V. Tobias has pled guilty to second-degree murder after killing her baby for interrupting her game of FarmVille with its cries. The Florida Times-Union reports that Tobias, age 22, became angered when her 3-month old child, Dylan Lee Edmondson, cried when she was trying to play the Facebook-based social game.

    "Tobias told investigators that she shook the baby, smoked a cigarette to compose herself and then shook him again. She said the baby may have hit his head during the shaking."
    Tobias' crime could leave her with a sentence of life in prison; Florida's state guidelines call for 25 to 50 years, however. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for December. (Florida Times-Union via Kotaku)

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    Hallelujah! Facebook Getting Rid of Spammy Game-Related Wall Updates

    While Facebook's many, many wall updates for games such as FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and the like have been good news for games publishers like Zynga, which effectively get free social advertising every time someone declares to all of their friends that they've grown a few tomatoes, these updates could be pretty annoying for said friends. While Facebook users could block game-specific updates, setting up the block was a bit of a pain. At a recent media event, Mark Zuckerberg said that "One the one hand, games are a phenomenon -- 200 million people or more are playing games on the site ... on the other hand, game [notifications] are also one of the biggest complaints that we get." No longer! Facebook is changing their system so that nonplayers aren't bombarded with game-related updates in their news feeds.

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    Former Zynga Employee Says Company is Evil

    A former employee of Zynga, creator of the extremely popular Facebook game FarmVille, has spoken out against the company, claiming the company's motto is "Do evil," a parody of Google's "Don't be evil" motto.

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    Zynga Accused of Street Vandalism in San Francisco

    Usually the only wall that you could accuse Zynga, the makers of Farmville, of mucking up is a Facebook wall, a decidedly virtual piece of architecture. But the San Francisco City Attorney's office has accused Zynga of committing "documented acts of sidewalk vandalism" by gluing fake $25,000 bills to sidewalks all over the city.

    The dollar bills, in case you hadn't guessed it by now, direct the finder to the Mafia Wars website.

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    Slacking Statistics [Infographic]

    Frankly, we're surprised that this infographic even got made. It was way behind schedule. We just know they spent the whole time on Scottrade, Farmville, and Techcrunch and then threw this together at the last minute. Those... those... Procrastinators.

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    Woman Quits Job with Dry Erase Board, Calls Out Boss for Playing FarmVille at Work

    This isn't quite as dramatic as the JetBlue flight attendant who recently quit his job by sliding down his plane's emergency chute, but it's still quite a feat: A young woman named Jenny quit her job by emailing her office of twenty people a series of photos of herself holding a dry erase board and explaining her predicament there. She claims to have put up with her assistant job for a temperamental boss with "bad breath" because she wanted to be a broker: However, the last straw was when she overheard her boss using sexist language to describe her:

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    Google Launching Google Games… with Zynga?

    TechCrunch is featuring an extensive article claiming that Google Games is closer than we think, and that Zynga will be highly involved. Their "multiple sources" confirm that Google has quietly invested $100-200 million in the social game company, forging a social media alliance.
    Zynga will be the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year, say multiple sources. Not only will Zynga’s games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games.

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