Are Pokemon and FarmVille one and the same?

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Pokemon Red VersionPokemon isn't stale, it's simply perfecting what works. That generally seems to be how Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander feels about the ubiquitous franchise. Since the game's debut in 1998, not many changes to the game have shaken its foundations, if any at all. Rather, Nintendo and Game Freak choose to tweak the game's mechanics and introduce features that layer upon the existing exploration and battle systems that have become iconic in their own right. Wait a second, that sounds a lot like Facebook games, does it not?

Just look at FarmVille: Every change and update introduced to the game has either streamlined an existing feature or built upon one of them. The core gameplay of harvesting crops to a timer has not changed in almost two years, and Zynga likes it that way. Not to mention that 44 million monthly players seem to like it that way too. Could it be that, if Pokemon did decide to innovate--and oft-overused term in the industry, as Alexander points out--that it would alienate its core audience? And what then; is the franchise left to rot because it tried something different, something innovative? If you were in Nintendo's shoes, you would probably hate to risk that too.

But while both are unarguably successful franchises, their numbers just aren't the same. FarmVille's decline is more visible, as the game has lost over 40 million monthly players since it peaked at 87 million this time last year. Pokemon, however, still sells nearly as well as before, but would you still consider Pikachu a household name? Regardless, it's clear that Zynga might have picked up a few tricks from the Pokemon house, and they're still working for both parties. So, don't worry, neither Squirtle nor your collection of Sheep are going away anytime soon.

Do you think Pokemon and FarmVille are similar in their design? Would either games' fan bases crumble if drastic changes were made to their foundations? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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