Fascinating! I'm quite interested in the philosophy behind, yet totally repulsed by the reality of addictive, mindless gaming a la Facebook and Zynga. I'm curious to see what Bogost makes of all this after some more thought.
Yes, this is also a topic of interest of mine and I did some "research" into facebook games last year, the most popular ones, who they appeal to, what personality traits they were exploiting, what it would take to make a successful game, etc.
I had hoped to possibly develop my own facebook game, but in the end I abandoned the idea after learning that you can't be successful unless you are going to become a slimeball
that exploits players for profit. With the sheer number of players you will end up with even for a moderately popular game, regardless of how you decide to handle paying for the overhead that keeps the game running, if you don't become a scammer or peddler of malware
you will never make enough money to keep it running.
I got to know a number of developers of facebook games...the small ones that most people never heard of. I watched them struggle with paying the bills that kept their games going. I watched them try all kinds of things to cut costs without cutting quality. I watched a bunch of them sell their games and walk away...many more just pull the plug and give up. I watched great games rapidly devolve into a complete mess after being sold to people that just wanted quick easy money. I watched players protest and complain, and even had my blog hit with comments by disgruntled players after one developer gave up and sold his game, one I had previously written a game guide
for in its very early days. I even had one player leave a bad review of my blog on Entrecard
because she thought she was supposed to leave a review of the game.
I gave up on any ideas of facebook game development after all of this. I am not cut out for it.