Monday, October 26, 2009

No More Happy Farmers in Taiwan: Redux

One of Happy Farm's marketing slogans: "Our Game = Five Minutes Joy"

First post on Happy Farmers in Taiwan here.

Some statistics came out in an article from the AFP, reporting the actual number of Happy Farmers who are Taiwanese. Interestingly enough, they report that:
Taiwanese Internet users reportedly constitute about 80 percent of the 3.7 million members of "Happy Farm".
That is simply amazing marketing for whoever headed the Happy Farm division for Asia/Taiwan/the whole world. I'm sure he/she is going to get a nice bonus at the end of this year. I am not surprised that this application-internet-game-type sector is quickly growing, since I've heard from a few of my friends that they have paid upwards of $30 on the game Happy Farm. Officially there is at least one person in Taiwan who has spent at least $80 on this game, and plans to sue Facebook for "deceiving" him to pay money for the game.

Having played a decent assortment of games before, paid and non-paid, it would seem like the profit margins for these types of games should be relatively high. It's quite remarkable for a game like Happy Farm to be able to generate $30-80 from one customer (with the possibility of more over time).

The future for these games and Facebook in Taiwan look bright, despite continued opposition from a few in Taiwan's government:
In related developments, Vice Minister of Education Lin Tsung-ming (林聰明) said the ministry did not recommend that youths play a popular Facebook game called Happy Farm because “stealing” vegetables is unethical.

Wu said the ministry would suggest that the developer of the game modify it by having players “rent” rather than “steal” vegetables from other players.
Since when has doing something "unethical" become such a driving force for voicing public opposition towards that thing? I wonder if there is something more to this story than just simply not wanting workers to waste their time on this at work.

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