The original FarmVille put Zynga on the map a couple of years ago. Some may even argue that it put Facebook on the map, widening the social-networking website's appeal to both younger players and seasoned grandparents, who quickly took to the casual game where crops are harvested and farms are fleshed out.
The original still attracts 19 million unique monthly players, well below its peak of 84 million in 2010. Zynga and Facebook hope that the social game, in which players are encouraged to share virtual goods with their online friends and make them farm neighbors, will be as big as the original.
That won't be easy. Players have grown finicky over the years. They move on more quickly, and it doesn't help that rival developers can easily crank out new titles.
Both companies could use a new magnet. Facebook shares are trading for a little more than half of May's IPO, and Zynga's stock has suffered even more. Where's Willie Nelson when you need him for FarmVille Aid?
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- It was raining Kindles and Kindle Fires on Thursday. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) introduced its latest line of gadgets, slashing prices to as low as $69 for the Kindle e-reader and $159 for the Kindle Fire tablet. The Kindle Fire also got some bigger and better siblings, including a 4G LTE tablet with a data plan running at just $50 a year. Can a connectivity plan be the new selling point?
- Who says daily-deals websites are dead? Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) was the featured deal on Wednesday at LivingSocial, with the group-buying site offering $10 online gift cards for $5. All 1.5 million cards sold out before the day was over.
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR ) began selling Keurig K-Cups fortified with antioxidant vitamins. There are six coffee, tea, and fruit beverage varieties available. Is there a vitamin or mineral that can move the battered stock higher?
There's a new premium report on Facebook detailing the opportunities and challenges in store for its shareholders. The report includes a full year of updates, so time's ticking. Check it out now.