ChefVille Aftertaste: What do Cash sales and bonuses mean for the game


Over the past few days, observant chefs might have noticed some new promotions that have arrived in our restaurants in ChefVille. Whether it's a "free Spice with purchase" event, or a "free decoration with purchase" event, gamers are being given lots of new incentive for purchasing Chef Cash which was never there before.

If ChefVille is the first Zynga game you've played, you might think nothing of these new bonuses. In fact, you might think well of Zynga for releasing them, as some of the "free gift" flower pots and Spice packages are fairly attractive bonuses. However, long-time veterans of Zynga games will likely recognize these sorts of sale tactics from older games that have started to underperform. For instance, it's pretty hard to login to Pioneer Trail without being offered some sort of a bonus offer, and that game has really fallen off of the proverbial map in terms of player popularity.

In addition to these bonus packages, building materials in ChefVille are also being discounted, as a way to entice players to spend Chef Cash on cooking appliances or ingredient stalls that they may have never finished. While it could just be that these sorts of promotions are coincidentally being released in the game all at the same time, from my more veteran perspective, it does make me worry about the future of ChefVille.

Think about it this way: if ChefVille Chef Cash was selling abundantly at its full price, would Zynga ever have a reason to put building materials on sale, or to offer a free items to persuade more players to make purchases? Zynga's ultimately a business with the goal of making money, so the answer is probably "no." That means there has to be some larger reason for these new sales, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more released in the coming weeks or months.

Are so many players leaving ChefVille because of bugs or "too many quests," that Zynga is now feeling the heat in terms of lost purchases and decreased revenue? This is all speculation on our part, but it's the same sort of cycle that we've seen in Zynga games time and time again. These sales could be harmless ways to encourage new players to purchase Chef Cash that never have before, and they certainly don't spell doom for a game once they're released (again, Pioneer Trail has had these promotions for months, if not years, and it's still hanging on).

Hopefully, if these promotions are a sign of Zynga's desperation to get players to spend money in ChefVille, it all works out and players can keep enjoying their virtual cooking for a long time to come.

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What do you think of these new "free gift with purchase" promotions and the discounts on building materials in ChefVille? Do you think ChefVille is in trouble, or is this all a big coincidence? Sound off in the comments!