Social gaming giant Zynga, whose collection of games makes up for more than half of the 10 most popular games on Facebook, has been known for its dominant role in the online space for a while. Many have cursed it for the near spam tactics that the company used in order to grow, which still defines them in many ways, but the fact is that they have also had a strong contingent of highly loyal fans – with over 215 million users actively playing their games, the company can definitely boast of that.
For the first time, the company hosted a fan celebration event outside the US recently, bringing together over 100 fans of their games in Bangalore. Hosted by the Zynga India team, the event gave fans a chance to meet friends and strangers who shared their interest in the games they played, where they were able to add new neighbours in game, discuss tips and tricks, and work out shared strategies for games like ‘Farmville’ and ‘Mafia Wars’.
“The fan celebration events are a testimony to Zynga’s vision to connect the world through games,” said Shan Kadavil, Country Manager, Zynga India. “We are truly delighted with the response. It is the enthusiasm and feedback from our fans that constantly motivates our team to improve our games and keeps their passion going. We look forward to meeting and learning from many more fans from across the country,” he added.
Though this is the first time that Zynga is hosting a fan meet-up outside the US, the Zynga India team was pleased with the response received, and encouraged by the participation in Bangalore, and having received requests from fans from other parts of the country, the company now intends to engage with its fan base in India through similar events around the country over the course of the coming year.
Sharing their experience with Zynga games, Nandini and Mahesh Manjunath, neighbours on ‘FarmVille’ and mother-son in real life, described the “family tradition” that farming had become. “My mother tends to my farm when I am in college,” said Mahesh while discussing how the game had become an integral part of their lives. Software professional Karthikeyan Chellapa, meanwhile, said that he started playing ‘Mafia Wars’ from his wife’s account and related his initiation into becoming a ‘Cafe World’ addict by offering to do up her Cafe.
The majority of people using these social games tend to be women over 30. However, as people can see through events like these, the hobby is one which spreads through families and friends, through the viral effect of social networks, and many people who fall outside the expected user groups are also part of the phenomenon.