FarmVille brings us GagaVille
The singer’s fans will be able to visit GagaVille, a specially designed farm inside the virtual farming simulation game, which will contain unicorns and crystals. It’s hard to think of a clearer sign that games are now entirely mainstream.
Lady Gaga’s choice of FarmVille makes sense: it’s an enormous market. The game has about 60-million players worldwide. And FarmVille’s demographic appeal is broad. The game is inoffensive to the point of being anodyne and unchallenging to the point that some commentators say it barely deserves the title “game” at all.
But the lack of challenge is part of what’s made it successful: it can be played on any internet-connected computer, doesn’t need special equipment or particular skill, or an expensive phone or data-download plan.
In FarmVille players plant virtual crops — strawberries, bell peppers and leeks are just some of the choices — wait a few hours and then harvest them to receive coins that allow them to buy more farming supplies.
Of course, the best farming goods can’t be bought with in-game coins, but need real money. As the New York Times pointed out in a profile of FarmVille’s founder, Mark Pincus, last year, “the sums are small, but add up quickly when multiplied by millions of users”.