Electronic Arts sues Zynga over game design

The game design industry makes so much money that it must be a prime hunting ground for attack lawyers:

The video game publisher Electronic Arts sued Zynga on Friday, accusing the social gaming company of copying crucial elements of its Sims Social game for Zynga’s own title, The Ville. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of copycat accusations leveled against Zynga, a company that shrugged off similar litigation in the past as it grew into the dominant publisher of games on Facebook.

[New York Times]

American Business Embraces ‘Gamification’

Business GamificationGaming is big business — and vice versa:

Play to win: The game-based economy

Companies are realizing that “gamification” — using the same mechanics that hook gamers — is an effective way to generate business.business ….

JP Mangalindan @ cnn.com

Via Slashdot, whence this thoughtful comment:

“Gamification” is a fuzzy description of operant conditioning. Anything with a bit of intelligence (dogs, parrots, maybe even sheep, and certainly humans) are wired to get a little jolt of pleasure after successfully negotiating a crisis situation. It’s how we learn. What games do is short-circuit this by providing lots and lots of crisis situations, and providing the player with ways to get through them and win, and get that little burst of success-feeling. Some people are seriously susceptible to this kind of shenanigans and spend all their time enjoying their imagined success at Farmville. Others do the same thing climbing the corporate ladder and running companies. In that case, of course, it’s not imagined success, it’s the intended result of how we’re wired, operating in a complex social environment. In any case, it’s an essential system for learning in humans, and while it sucks that people are getting really good at twisting it to manipulate other people, it’s still vitally important and ubiquitous.

smellsofbikes @ Slashdot

My two cents? To borrow an old adage for a new ad age:

God sends Farmville; the Devil sends more Farmville.