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Monetizing Griefing - the Next Stage in Social Gaming
by Robert Boyd on 04/15/11 12:05:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Free to play games have made a fortune by selling features and advantages to their player base. Where can they go from here? Selling features to people who are not in their player base.

Let's say you're annoyed at one of your friends because they won't shut up about Farmville. What can you do? Nothing except blocking their messages and maybe kicking their dog a few times.

Now picture a world where Zynga sells digital toxic goo! You log onto Zynga's digital store, purchase a couple barrels of the stuff for a few bucks and pour it on your annoying friend's farm. Satisfaction gained and Zynga has made money off of someone who doesn't even play their games.

But the chain of monetization doesn't end there! For a few more dollars than the cost of the toxic goo, your friend can rent a cleanup crew to fix up the mess you've created. Of course, after this is done, you get a message informing you and a link to purchase even more toxic goo for retaliation.

And let's not stop there! After this cycle has occurred a few times, we'll send you a message about our new game, FactoryVille! By managing your factory wisely, you can create a neverending stream of toxic goo to pour on the farms of friends and foes alike! Of course, to have the best factory, you'll want to purchase a few of our virtual goods...

Although we've only mentioned toxic goo, this method could be expanded to cover all sorts of griefing. Plant snatchers to steal crops and add them to your own farm. Salt to taint the ground. Dangerous pesticides. Mutant hordes of locusts.

And of course, the mother of all griefing, the tactical nuclear strike which wipes someone's farm and account clean off the map. Of course, to go along with this, players will be able to purchase SDI systems to protect themselves as a preemptive measure.

It's time to take the next step. It's time to monetize everyone. The future awaits.

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Altug Isigan
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SDI's should be on a monthly subscription fee basis ;)

Jerry Pritchard
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I like the concept of a virtual arms race, its only a matter of time!

Eric Schwarz
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I'm not sure if I should take this article seriously or not, but in any case, I have a better defense than pay-per-use toxic goo: the "delete friend" button.

Altug Isigan
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buy a "delete-friend" button now! ;)

Daniel Gooding
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It sounds more like anti-social gaming. But it's always fun to think about.

Adam Bishop
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A (semi) real life World of Goo Corporation!

Jason Withrow
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That actually gave me a new griefing idea: building tall towers on your farms to cast obnoxious shadows over your neighbours at certain hours of the day.

Altug Isigan
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blood feud; vendetta :P

Maurício Gomes
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Jasen made me remember when I left my cousing playing on my SimCity 2000 city, and he built a ******* desalinization plant in front of the airport runway.

I spent some days wondering why air accidents was so common on my city, until I noticed the tall (but not too much, he was also subtle) building right where the plane lands.

EDIT: Also, programmers think of everything :P I never expected someone would bother to code collision code of airplanes and buildings!

Hanneke Debie
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Ok, that was a wonderful laugh, thank you :)

Tora Teig
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Ruthless. I like it.