What the Popularity of FarmVille Doesn't Mean

By Shaun Haney

This week I was a speaker at FarmTech 2011 in Edmonton.  During the second presentation someone asked from the floor about FarmVille.  The question was in reference to whether I thought FarmVille was a great thing for agriculture because it shows that people are interested in farming?

I’ve never personally played FarmVille but I have watched people play and it looks like a great game to play against friends and family.  Having said that…

My immediate answer was that the popularity of FarmVille has nothing to do with consumers interest in farming.  People are not interested in FarmVille because they are interested in how agriculture works and functions.  Is FarmVille how we want agriculture represented to the public?  Applications like FarmVille are exactly what the appear to be…fun.  It is a game that allows people to unwind.  In my opinion agriculture is so desperate to have consumers interested in the industry that we are willing to connect any dot to prove it. I love to play Angry Birds on my Ipad but that doesn’t mean that in “real life” I am interested in slinging birds at pigs hiding under rocks and pieces of wood.  Under this theory, what does it say about people that like to play Call of Duty or Super Mario Bros.

I have even heard some people comment that FarmVille provides a prehistoric view of agriculture.  A romantic view of five pigs and three chicken agriculture that creates an illusion for city people of the way agriculture was in the past.  Agriculture is a great industry with great people, great purpose and real opportunity.   FarmVille is a game for people to play so lets just keep it that way and look at it for what it was meant to be….fun.

7 thoughts on “What the Popularity of FarmVille Doesn’t Mean

  1. Hey Shaun,

    I think my interest in playing Fruit Ninja is directly correlated to my abilities to sling a blade in top form! Okay, maybe that’s a dream.

    On Farmville, I’ve written a couple of blog posts on the topic too. What surprises me is the number of people buying credits to do more on the game. You can see some of what I’m talking about at http://wp.me/pFMs3-EN.


  2. I was at your session when the question came up. I was inclined to disagree with you, but I changed my mind. After thinking about what a couple of my friends had wrote about their activities (hey help me build a coop for my chickens!). Yeah, it’s just a cute game.

  3. As a former FarmVille junkie, I would say it is 100% fantasy. You NEVER lose money in a Farmville farming scenario. Real farming on the other hand . . . let’s just say my wife only wishes I could build her a small village and a swimming pool in a matter of months, not to mention a tractor and combine with flames painted on them!

    FarmVille is to creating new farmers as Halo is to creating futuristic military assassins – I don’t think the game companies want to endorse this!

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