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Is this a last-ditch attempt by Zynga to charge me some money?

By on July 21, 2011
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I logged in to Cityville on Sunday doing some research for a new book idea I’m working on. (More about that soon).

I haven’t played for months, and as I cleared withered crops and collected some ancient rents, this in-your-face sales screen popped up.


I noted:

  • A big discount (30%) off
  • That the amounts being asked for are big ($14, $35 or $70)
  • That the imagery implies I’ve won some sort of lottery (reporter, TV camera, "you won…")
  • That a countdown timer is ticking, giving me a sense of urgency

Has anyone else had one of these? If you go back to Cityville, do you get one?

I’m thinking that this is Zynga’s last ditch attempt to get me to spend money in Cityville before it writes me off as a lost cause. What do you think?

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
  • NicolasGB

    They also do it on Treasure Isle

  • Yep, me too

  • Jimivg33

    I checked today and have the same deal. same amounts.

  • NicolasGB

    Looks like some sort of AB test to me, perhaps with profile conditions. Not every user gets it.

  • Guest

    A breach of items 7 and 31 of Schedule 1 of the The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008?

  • Bud Leiser

    It *must* work since other games have been doing it for awhile. Especially on weekends I think.

  • Adam Russell

    I noticed it the other day when I logged on but was in a flow of closing obtrusive pop-ups that I didn’t pay much attention to.

    It hasn’t come back during today’s play session though