Former Zynga Engineer Says One Player Spent $100,000 on Mafia Wars

zynga-mafia-wars-600I'll admit it, I was addicted to Mafia Wars a few years back when it first rolled out onto Facebook. I loved it! Not enough to spend money like those jackasses you'll read about below, but I played it every free moment. I grew a crime family that was over a thousand strong. I always took on "hits," not so much for the "cash" (think of it as Monopoly money -- or better yet, Mafia money, worthless outside the game) but to up my kill stats. I relentlessly robbed everyone I could, too.

I kept earning fortunes, then rolling them over to upgrade my weapons, armor and real estate. I must've had a massive fleet of every kind of vehicle you could imagine at my disposal. Soon, everyone was giving me high level posts in their families and I was a "virtual" mob boss sitting on an empire, my stats at such eye-popping levels, no one was strong enough to kill me or rob me. Members of my family, newer at the game or not very good players would come to me for help if they'd managed to get put on a hit list. I'd wipe out all their enemies fast as a whip. Speed is key, you wanna kill as many enemies as you can before they even know someone is gunning for them.

I even built alliances with other families. Only trouble was, when I shut the PC off, I was back to being the schnook that I am in real life. I got tired of the game's model, and the Zynga-fellas kept expanding it in too many directions, and also started to really focus on making us reach for our credit cards. By paying real money, you could buy special weapons and other tools that allowed you to take shortcuts up the ladder.

Bottom line, it wasn't worth the aggravation, anymore, so I simply stopped playing. But for a while, I was having fun -- probably almost as much fun as a real mob boss in his heyday!

Anyway, that was my little intro to the interesting piece below. OK, folks, from Mashable Entertainment we have here an interesting article that would almost seem to represent a business opportunity for Cosa Nostra; problem is, none of the families has an IT department -- yet!

Have at it --
"An anonymous user, claiming to be a former Zynga engineer, has been posting allegedly internal information about the company to Reddit.

"Among other things, the ex-employee says some customers spent outlandish sums on virtual goods and services in many games — including one user who spent $100,000 on Mafia Wars.

"The alleged ex-Zynga employee goes by the handle “mercenary-games” on Reddit and began posting about a day ago. He says he worked at Zynga for eight months but that he quit the company six months ago.

"The person makes many claims about the game company, but one of the most eyebrow-raising is the alleged amounts of actual dollars some of its customers spend playing the games through Facebook. He says he’s seen someone spend $20,000 on FrontierVille and another player “commit” up to $100,000 on Mafia Wars. Further, Zynga has a special name for players who spend in excess of $10,000: Zynga Black.

SEE ALSO: Understanding Zynga: A Post-IPO FAQ

"The company supposedly focuses almost all of its attention on players who spend money, treating those who play for free as “spam.” The post author claims those players are the “hardcore” crowd, to whom Zynga caters, tweaking features to encourage gameplay habits that bring in the most money...."

Read the full article: Former Zynga Engineer: One Player Spent $100,000 on Mafia Wars