The emergence of Facebook as a gaming platform has wrought enormous changes on the industry. Casual games Like Farmville and Mafia Wars attracted a massive user base despite being relatively rudimentary in terms of graphics and gameplay. Zynga, currently estimated to be worth more than Electronic Arts, began sucking up talent and acquiring gaming companies around the globe.
Now Sid Myers, the creator of some of the most detailed and well respected computer games of all time, is taking his most legendary creation, Civilization, and porting it to the Facebook platform. If that wasn’t scary enough for gaming purists, its changing names as well, going by the decidely Zyngia Civ World. In an interview published on CNN today, Myers announced the game would debut this summer.
All the elements of the original civilization will be in place, but will allow for up to 200 players in a single environment and in fact, just to sign up for the Alpha, player need to form a team of friends. Like FarmVille and other successful titles, Myers seems to grasp that peer pressure is a powerful incentive and plans to take full advantage of that when engaging users on Civ World.
Alpha users will also get a “special item” to display in their throne room, seeding the ground for a marketplace of virtual goods, the real cash cow on the Facebook platform. Whether these items will be pay to play, like Farmville, or simply ornamental, it’s clear Myers is tapping into the strategies that have made Zynga such a success.