Zynga looks forward to 2012 with better feedback from users

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Zynga has had a rocky road when it comes to player feedback across its mighty catalog of Facebook games. Sure, the vast majority of players enjoy games like FarmVille and Pioneer Trail, but what about those vocal users that have legitimate concerns about games and are more than willing to offer their feedback? Does Zynga actually listen to them? Perhaps. According to the Economic Times, Zynga's Bill Jackson (creative director behind CastleVille) says that this particular game has undergone changes due to feedback from players.

"These are not games that we just play. These are games that we make with our players," Jackson says, and he explained that the reduced rate of Beastie appearance has been made due to players stating that they appeared too often. Jackson goes on to say that "Once we [Zynga] launch the game, we are asking players the same thing: 'how can we make it more fun for you?"

While changes in CastleVille are one thing, it does leave a few remaining questions in other games in the Zynga network, as users routinely complain of too many goals or catering orders in Cafe World or of loading and rollback issues in Pioneer Trail. Is this an issue of the company not listening to users, or are there simply not enough staff members on-hand to deal with these technical problems? Whatever the case, Jackson says that managing all of the feedback and information from players is a "challenge," but that the company is preparing for a better 2012 by "creating a platform" (says the Economic Times) where players can play whenever they want. Could this be the Zynga Direct program revealed in October? If not, does this signal more games coming to more platforms (mobile, for instance)? And what does all of this have to do with actually changing games based on user responses?

It's an interesting time to be a social gamer in the Zynga network, as games like Pioneer Trail are bleeding players (that one has lost half a million players in a month, according to AppData) and even the former staples like Mafia Wars seem to be struggling. Whether feedback is really focused on or not, 2012 will be an interesting year for Zynga, and for players as well.
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