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Posts from the ‘Zynga’ Category

Zynga, Equity & Tough Decisions

A couple of days ago, a story broke in the Wall Street Journal about Zynga “leaning” on some early employees to surrender portions of their equity.  Not surprisingly, this blew up a bit in the press, leading to a wide number of articles talking about the potential threats to the Silicon Valley equity culture, employment litigation, and a number of fairly serious issues.

As Zynga has indicated that their IPO is imminent, no doubt a lot of this is fueled by the fact that Zynga is a hot company right now.  But some of the issues raised are very real, and I thought it might be interesting to lend a different perspective to the story as a opportunity to think more deeply about the challenges leaders face in hyper growth companies, even ones as successful as Zynga.

Executives are expensive

Marc Andreesen wrote a great blog post on some of the very real issues around hiring, managing and firing executives in hypergrowth technology start-ups.  It’s too long to capture everything here, but I do recommend reading it. Marc calls it the “executive firing paradox”:

It takes time to gather data to evaluate an executive’s performance. You can’t evaluate an executive based on her own output, like a normal employee — you have to evaluate her based on the output of her organization. It takes time for her to build and manage her organization to generate output. Therefore, it takes longer to evaluate the performance of an executive than a normal employee.

But, an executive can cause far more damage than a normal employee. A normal employee doesn’t work out, fine, replace him. An executive doesn’t work out, it can — worst case — permanently cripple her function and sometimes the entire company.Therefore, it is far more important to fire a bad executive as fast as possible, versus a normal employee.

Now, the facts of the Zynga story are a bit blurry in the press, but for the purposes of this blog post, I’m assuming the following:

  • This issue affected a relatively small number of people at Zynga, specifically executive-level hires
  • These people were identified, over time, as underperformers at the original role they filled
  • These people still had not vested their equity

Obviously, the above distinctions above matter greatly in terms of the tricky balance of issues around making a decision like this.

It’s worth noting, however, that executives are expensive hires.  If an executive is vesting 250K shares per year, and hiring a new engineer or designer costs 10K shares per year, then that person really has to deliver an incredible amount of value to justify their compensation.  After all, you could use the money to hire 25 additional engineers.  A great leader can easily justify that value (and more) in terms of their power to create long term value for the company, but it’s definitely a high bar to clear.

The Reason for Vesting

Not to be pedantic, but there is a very good reason why employees at tech companies are given equity.  Fundamentally, the best corporate cultures in Silicon Valley are based on people working together not to just build technology or products, but actively working to build a great company.  Stock ownership is an important part of that culture – when people have meaningful equity in a company, it cements the idea that everyone is a part-owner of the business.

Four years may not seem like a long time, but in truth, hypergrowth tech companies grow and change at rates that seem theoretically impossible.  Zynga had 150 employees in 2008.  LinkedIn had fewer than 400.  As a result, the responsibilities and requirements of almost any position at the company radically change in a year, let alone four years.  This is one of the great opportunities that high tech companies afford employees who take advantage of growth to stretch and grow quickly into new responsibilities and experiences.  But it’s extremely challenging, and fairly unforgiving as hypergrowth means that every person’s efforts potentially impact dozens of employees going forward and millions of users.

Vesting exists as an important reminder, however, that your share of the company is earned over time, not at signing.  You earn your share of the company – every day, every month, every year.  For most people, this isn’t an issue, because it is amazing how dedicated people are in Silicon Valley.  People are passionate about what they do and the teams they work with, and that passion translates into world-class dedication and effort.

Real Equity, Real Money, Really Tough Decisions

Back to Zynga.  Let’s assume, for a second, that you have the situation described in the Wall Street Journal.  You’ve identified a small number of relatively high level employees who, for whatever reason, you decide are underperforming their original roles.  Normally, there are a couple of options:

  1. Tolerate the under-performance, or compensate for it with additional hires, but let them “vest out” their stock grants despite the fact that they aren’t filling the role that the equity was predicated on.
  2. Fire them.

As per Marc Andreesen’s post, option (1) is toxic.  The equity, while material, isn’t the dominant issue.  The impact to the company culture can be devastating, and if a repeated pattern, permanently damaging to the ability of the company to attract and retain the best talent and have them do their best work.

Let’s not forget also that we ask our company leaders to be thoughtful of their responsibilities to shareholders as well, particularly in public companies.  Executives are expensive hires, and equity allocated to them could always be allocated to hiring other great people.  Human beings tend to suffer from “sunk cost fallacy”, and they hate to admit mistakes and take on difficult confrontation.  Option (1) swims in all of those issues.

But option (2) doesn’t always feel right in a hyper-growth company either.  What if the employee has a number of positive attributes and skills?  What if you would gladly hire them today, just in a different role?

From the press, it looks like Zynga tried to find a third way.  Rather than fire the employee, offer them the ability to stay at the company in a role that better suits their performance, with compensation to match.

You may not agree with that approach, and I think Semil Shah does a good job in TechCrunch talking about the cultural issues that this type of approach can cause.  But it would be foolish not to see that this is really a tough decision, and shouldn’t be trivialized or sensationalized.

Talking vs. Doing

There has never been a shortage of armchair quarterbacks and theorists debating the merits and demerits of different leadership actions and company cultures.  It’s part of an ecosystem that rewards thinking and learning.

It’s relatively simple to have a knee-jerk, emotional reaction to a piece like the one in the Wall Street Journal.  Let’s face it, that’s part of the reason they published it.  Companies like Zynga are amazing, and more importantly, they matter.  How they grow, navigate, succeed and fail is part of how we all learn to build better high tech companies.

It’s fairly easy, in fact, to demonize actions that you don’t agree with.  However, it’s often a much more productive intellectual path to ask yourself, “Why would good, smart, ethical people do this?”  Whether you agree or disagree with the actions taken by Zynga here, these are very hard decisions, and there is a lot for aspiring technology leaders to think about and learn from.

As Tom Hanks said in “A League of Their Own”:

If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.

The Game Mechanics of Silicon Valley Careers

Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been a huge fan of game mechanics for years.  Game mechanics is a loose term for a variety of insights into the neurological and sociological underpinnings of the games that humans like to play.  In the past decade, there has been a massive growth in our understanding of game mechanics, even to the point now where you can’t go 10 feet in the Valley without tripping over a venture capitalist dropping the term in conversation.

This past weekend, I had the chance to chat with an old friend from a former start-up, and I was talking about why I love Zynga, and why game mechanics were one of the more interesting product insights to come out the last few years of product design.  The conversation moved on to catching up on old friends and careers, and the obvious hit me: our very careers in Silicon Valley are based on game mechanics.

Primal Response Patterns: Schedules of Reinforcement

In Amy Jo Kim’s lecture, Putting the Fun in Functional, she outlines some of the basic neurological drivers for response patterns to reward.

I’m going to grotesquely simplify the concept for the purposes of this post.  Real students of psychology & neurobiology – hold your nose while you go through this section.

It turns out that there are demonstrated patterns for response (neé addiction) for different types of reward systems:

  • Simple: You hit the lever, you get a treat.  Most animals will understand and play this game. (Hello, Pavlov)
  • Variable Interval: You hit the lever, but sometimes you get a treat, sometimes not.  This game turns out to be even more addictive, likely due to the combination of uncertainty (triggers fight-or-flight) and then the rush of the intermittent reward when it comes. (When you go to puppy school, you learn to *not* give your dog a treat every single time they do something right.)
  • Variable Interval, Variable Payout.  The most addictive of games.  You hit the lever, and sometimes you get a treat, and sometimes you don’t.  But sometimes the treat is big, and sometimes the treat is small.  (Hello, slot machine)

I was explaining this fact to my friend, when it occurred to me that this is the game that we all play in Silicon Valley.

Addiction: Hypergrowth Tech Companies

This pattern explains a lot about why Silicon Valley is so… addicting.  Venture capitalists invest capital into startups seeking outstanding returns.  Most engineers, on the other hand, invest their human capital to get the same result.  Engineers join hypergrowth companies with the assumption of receiving an equity stake.  That equity stake is the difference between making a good salary, and potentially hitting a step-function in their net worth.

Let’s play out the reward pattern:

  • Variable Interval: Tenure at tech companies can be anywhere from a few months to a few decades, however it averages about 2-3 years.  Sometimes startups go bankrupt less than 2 years after you join or found them.  Sometimes they get acquired.  Sometimes they become truly large, successful ongoing companies.  The timing definitely varies.  Many people would count themselves lucky if one in three of the companies they join turns out to be successful at a level that provides a meaningful value for their equity.
  • Variable Payout: Sometimes tech companies go bankrupt.  Other times they can produce equity worth 2x your salary.  Sometimes 10x.  Sometimes 100x+.

The lever is joining, and the payout is equity.

Is it any wonder that, after three decades, we’re all still addicted to this game?

 

Why Zynga is a Great Business

With the Zynga IPO filing rumored to be hours away, I thought a light hearted blog post might be in order.

There are many aspects to economics behind video games that have been largely unchanged over the past two decades.  Fundamentally, Zynga lept to an opportunity to take advantage of a social platform (Facebook) to challenge some of the fundamental limitations of distribution and monetization that plagued the software giants who dominated desktop and platform gaming.

Obviously, I am a fan of the company.  The number of blog posts here about Zynga games should tell you that.  But when people ask me in real life why I’m such a big fan of Zynga, I give them a simple tongue-in-cheek thesis.

Selling Things You Don’t Need

It’s a well know fact that selling people things they don’t need is a great business.   Some might say it’s when retailers and/or products rise higher in the Maslow hierarchy of needs.  By definition, when items rise up that motivation chain, more powerful emotions come into play.  Fundamentally, no one needs a cotton candy tree.  But Zynga gets to the emotions of why you might want one.

In the end, the willingness to pay for things you don’t need is shockingly high in an economy where people have disposable income.

Selling Things You Don’t Need that Don’t Exist

Hundreds of years ago, this was what selling “snake oil” was all about.  Selling something that you don’t need, and that doesn’t exist has always been a great way to make money.  Unfortunately, it also used to be a sure fire path to getting run out of town (and perhaps tarred & feathered in the process).

A little computer icon of a purple cow does not exist, and you don’t need it.  But that doesn’t change the fact that Zynga has found a way not only to make you want it, but deliver it to you with an effective cost of goods sold of approximately zero.

So now we have a high willingness to pay, combined with low friction and low cost of goods sold.

Selling Things You Don’t Need, That Don’t Exist, and That Are Addictive

This might be called the holy trinity of virtual goods, but in the end, this is the most amazing part of the Zynga model.  Certain types of social interaction are clearly pleasurable to people at a fundamental level.  We love the inherent stimulation in getting a response, recognition or even just insight into another human being.  Once we find a path for these interactions, we want more of it.  By leveraging a social platform for its games, Zynga has integrated social stimulation into their economics with outstanding results.

So now we have a high willingness to pay, combined with low friction and low cost of goods sold, with relatively low distribution costs and a high propensity for repeat activity.

Any wonder that I wish I owned Zynga stock?

Congratulations (in advance) to all of my great friends on the Zynga team.

Café World Economics: Spiceonomics

I really didn’t think I was going to write another blog post about the economics of Café World.  However, the rollout of the spice rack was just begging for some financial analysis, and so here we are.

gameBig_cafeworld

Since I’ve written three previous articles on the topic:

The Economics of the Spice Rack

The “Spice Rack” is a concept I have advocated previously for Farmville.   A mechanism to purchase items that would accelerate / change the equations for existing actions.  (My original request was for increased levels in Farmville to actually accelerate the length of time it would take you to harvest any crop, like a 10% cut in time, etc.)

Café World has rolled out 7 spices:

  • Mystery Spice – Random improvement (reduce time by 1,2,5 min, +5 or +20 CP, +5% or +10% servings)
  • Super Salt - Increase the number of servings by 5%
  • Power Pepper – Increase the number of servings by 10%
  • One hour Thyme – Speed a dish by one hour
  • Six Hour Thyme – Speed a dish by six hours
  • Instant Thyme – Make a dish ready immediately
  • Salvage Sage – Rescue a spoiled dish

For this analysis, I’ve started with the simplest spices: Super Salt and Power Pepper.

For each dish, I calculated the increase (or decrease) in profit for buying the spice and applying it to one dish for the cycle.  I assume that Café World rounds down when you apply the 5% or 10% increase in number of servings. I express the number as an “Return on Investment” percentage (ROI) on the cost of the spice.

So, for example, if spending 600 coins on Power Pepper yield an extra 150 coins of profit after subtracting the cost of the pepper, I describe that as a “25% ROI” for Pepper for that dish.

Results of Spiceonomics

There are a few very interesting takeaways from the table below:

  • Spices are rarely worth it. Salt & Pepper have negative ROIs for almost all dishes.  In fact, in the history of the game, only 9 dishes are profitable when using the spices.  Interestingly, Grand Tandoori Chicken is net neutral (ROI = 0%).
  • Spices help more advanced players. Almost all the dishes with positive ROI are at the higher levels.
  • Spices help infrequent players more. The way the numbers work out, all the dishes where spices help are longer cooking time dishes.  This is good for players that might only play the game once a day (say, in the evening).

The Spiceonomics Table

Here is the summary table.  As usual, you can find all the supporting data in my Café World Economics spreadsheet on Google Docs.

Dish Salt ROI Pepper ROI
Chinese Candy Box 200.00% 200.00%
Impossible Quiche 153.33% 153.33%
Gingerbread House 124.00% 133.33%
Chicken Pot Pie 84.00% 85.00%
Giant Dino Egg 80.00% 80.00%
V.I.P. Dinner 32.00% 48.50%
Martian Brain Bake 30.00% 30.00%
Ginger Plum Pork Chops 30.00% 30.00%
King Crab Bisque 9.67% 10.83%
Grand Tandoori Chicken 0.00% 0.00%
Steak Dinner -4.00% -2.50%
Homestyle Pot Roast -5.00% -4.17%
Seafood Paella -6.67% -6.67%
Mystical Pizza -8.33% -8.33%
Veggie Lasagne -10.00% -10.00%
Chicken Adobo -18.33% -18.33%
Delicious Chocolate Cake -21.67% -20.83%
Herbed Halibut -25.00% -25.00%
Overstuffed Peppers -28.33% -28.33%
Loco Moco -30.67% -30.00%
Savory Stuffed Turkey -40.00% -40.00%
Crackling Peking Duck -40.00% -40.00%
Lavish Lamb Curry -45.33% -45.33%
Spitfire Roasted Chicken -46.67% -46.67%
Dino Drumstick -50.00% -50.00%
Lemon Butter Lobster -55.00% -55.00%
Voodoo Chicken Salad -56.67% -55.83%
Rackasaurus Ribs -57.33% -56.67%
Stardust Stew -58.00% -58.00%
Bacon and Eggs -58.00% -58.00%
Smoked Salmon Latkes -60.00% -60.00%
Tostada de Carne Asada -60.00% -60.00%
Valentine Cake -60.00% -60.00%
Sweet Seasonal Ham -60.00% -60.00%
Shu Mai Dumplings -61.33% -61.33%
Corned Beef -63.33% -62.50%
Fish n Chips -67.00% -67.00%
White Raddish Cake -68.00% -67.00%
Vampire Staked Steak -68.00% -67.00%
Triple Berry Cheesecake -73.00% -72.50%
Kung Pao Stir Fry -73.33% -73.33%
Tony’s Classic Pizza -78.33% -78.33%
Spaghetti and Meatballs -78.33% -77.50%
Fiery Fish Tacos -80.00% -80.00%
Eggs Benedict -82.00% -81.00%
Pumpkin Pie -82.67% -82.67%
Atomic Buffalo Wings -84.00% -84.00%
Crème Fraiche Caviar -89.33% -89.33%
French Onion Soup -90.00% -90.00%
Belgian Waffles -90.67% -90.00%
Macaroni and Cheese -92.00% -91.50%
Buttermilk Pancakes -93.33% -93.33%
Tikka Masala Kabobs -94.67% -94.00%
Caramel Apples -95.00% -95.00%
Hotdog and Garlic Fries -98.00% -98.00%
Powdered French Toast -98.00% -97.00%
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts -98.00% -98.00%
Super Chunk Fruit Salad -98.33% -98.33%
Chicken Gyro and Fries -98.67% -98.67%
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail -98.67% -98.00%
Bacon Cheeseburger -100.00% -99.33%
Chips and Guacamole -100.00% -99.50%

Updated Tables for Profits, Café Points, and Real Hourly Wages

Have trouble figuring out whether Mystical Pizza is a good dish?  Deciding on whether to make the Dino Egg or Rackasaurus Ribs?  My Google Doc is now updated with tables for all 62 Cafe World dishes for data, and color coded based the cooking time of each dish, to help make picking the right dish easy.  Rather than cut & paste everything here, I’m going to just link to the doc.

Click here to view the Google Doc

Café World Economics: Alien Invasion & Google Docs

So I take the time to create a whole new post for Café World in 2010, and what does Zynga do?  They roll out some new crazy dishes based on an alien invasion, and now I’m 1.6M Café coins poorer.  Oh well.

gameBig_cafeworld

Since I’ve written three previous articles on the topic:

I find it fairly interesting that Zynga is clearly mapping the same thematic variants from Farmville to their other games.  I remember when they did the space theme for Farmville (I still have 5 alien cows that produce Milktonium as proof…)

I won’t repeat the previous analysis. As a reminder, all of these numbers assume:

  • The numbers are per dish, per stove
  • The numbers assume the cost (15 coins) and experience (+1) of cleaning the stove each cycle
  • Profit & Cafe Points tables assume “instant” cleaning time.
  • Real World Hourly Wages assumes a cleaning time of 1 minute per stove.

You can read my previous posts for the rational behind these assumptions.

Profit per Dish

Here are the dishes, sorted by profitability as measured by profit per dish per day.


Dish Profit / Cycle Cycle Time Profit / Day
V.I.P. Dinner 9,786.00 1,080.00 13,048.00
Bacon Cheeseburger 22.00 5.00 6,336.00
Overstuffed Peppers 2,985.00 720.00 5,970.00
Kung Pao Stir Fry 985.00 240.00 5,910.00
Delicious Chocolate Cake 3,435.00 840.00 5,888.57
Fiery Fish Tacos 490.00 120.00 5,880.00
Lemon Butter Lobster 485.00 120.00 5,820.00
Martian Brain Bake 5,585.00 1,440.00 5,585.00
Shu Mai Dumplings 1,355.00 360.00 5,420.00
King Crab Bisque 5,370.00 1,440.00 5,370.00
Lavish Lamb Curry 1,785.00 480.00 5,355.00
Chips and Guacamole 11.00 3.00 5,280.00
Impossible Quiche 10,185.00 2,880.00 5,092.50
Powdered French Toast 67.00 20.00 4,824.00
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 50.00 15.00 4,800.00
Atomic Buffalo Wings 595.00 180.00 4,760.00
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 65.00 20.00 4,680.00
Smoked Salmon Latkes 385.00 120.00 4,620.00
Tostada de Carne Asada 1,485.00 480.00 4,455.00
Buttermilk Pancakes 135.00 45.00 4,320.00
Tony’s Classic Pizza 885.00 300.00 4,248.00
Stardust Stew 1,535.00 540.00 4,093.33
Chicken Gyro and Fries 28.00 10.00 4,032.00
Grand Tandoori Chicken 3,985.00 1,440.00 3,985.00
Voodoo Chicken Salad 1,960.00 720.00 3,920.00
Chicken Pot Pie 7,585.00 2,880.00 3,792.50
Herbed Halibut 3,785.00 1,440.00 3,785.00
Sweet Seasonal Ham 1,885.00 720.00 3,770.00
Crackling Peking Duck 2,685.00 1,080.00 3,580.00
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 68.00 30.00 3,264.00
Savory Stuffed Turkey 2,885.00 1,320.00 3,147.27
Tikka Masala Kabobs 130.00 60.00 3,120.00
Macaroni and Cheese 245.00 120.00 2,940.00
Crème Fraiche Caviar 57.00 30.00 2,736.00
Spaghetti and Meatballs 910.00 480.00 2,730.00
Gingerbread House 13,485.00 7,200.00 2,697.00
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2,585.00 1,440.00 2,585.00
French Onion Soup 425.00 240.00 2,550.00
Triple Berry Cheesecake 1,235.00 720.00 2,470.00
Caramel Apples 195.00 120.00 2,340.00
Homestyle Pot Roast 3,935.00 2,880.00 1,967.50
Vampire Staked Steak 1,695.00 1,440.00 1,695.00
Pumpkin Pie 845.00 720.00 1,690.00

Café Points per Dish

Here are the dishes, sorted by café points per dish per day.


Dish Café Points / Cycle Cycle Time Café Points / Day
Bacon Cheeseburger 7.00 5.00 2,016.00
Chicken Gyro and Fries 14.00 10.00 2,016.00
Chips and Guacamole 4.00 3.00 1,920.00
Powdered French Toast 21.00 20.00 1,512.00
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 14.00 15.00 1,344.00
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 15.00 20.00 1,080.00
Crème Fraiche Caviar 22.00 30.00 1,056.00
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 21.00 30.00 1,008.00
Buttermilk Pancakes 31.00 45.00 992.00
Lemon Butter Lobster 68.00 120.00 816.00
Smoked Salmon Latkes 63.00 120.00 756.00
Shu Mai Dumplings 156.00 360.00 624.00
Lavish Lamb Curry 200.00 480.00 600.00
Fiery Fish Tacos 49.00 120.00 588.00
Atomic Buffalo Wings 68.00 180.00 544.00
Tikka Masala Kabobs 22.00 60.00 528.00
Macaroni and Cheese 41.00 120.00 492.00
Delicious Chocolate Cake 273.00 840.00 468.00
Kung Pao Stir Fry 75.00 240.00 450.00
Savory Stuffed Turkey 403.00 1,320.00 439.64
Caramel Apples 35.00 120.00 420.00
Overstuffed Peppers 206.00 720.00 412.00
Grand Tandoori Chicken 403.00 1,440.00 403.00
Stardust Stew 139.00 540.00 370.67
Tostada de Carne Asada 123.00 480.00 369.00
French Onion Soup 61.00 240.00 366.00
Voodoo Chicken Salad 168.00 720.00 336.00
Tony’s Classic Pizza 68.00 300.00 326.40
Martian Brain Bake 314.00 1,440.00 314.00
Spaghetti and Meatballs 100.00 480.00 300.00
Triple Berry Cheesecake 140.00 720.00 280.00
King Crab Bisque 252.00 1,440.00 252.00
V.I.P. Dinner 175.00 1,080.00 233.33
Herbed Halibut 225.00 1,440.00 225.00
Crackling Peking Duck 166.00 1,080.00 221.33
Gingerbread House 1,063.00 7,200.00 212.60
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.00 1,440.00 210.00
Sweet Seasonal Ham 102.00 720.00 204.00
Impossible Quiche 351.00 2,880.00 175.50
Chicken Pot Pie 307.00 2,880.00 153.50
Pumpkin Pie 76.00 720.00 152.00
Homestyle Pot Roast 279.00 2,880.00 139.50
Vampire Staked Steak 113.00 1,440.00 113.00

Real World Hourly Wage per Dish

Here are the dishes, sorted by the real world hourly wage for each dish per day, in US dollars.


Dish $ / Hour (Low) $ / Hour (High)
Gingerbread House 121.35 264.23
Impossible Quiche 91.66 199.57
V.I.P. Dinner 88.07 191.75
Chicken Pot Pie 68.26 148.62
Martian Brain Bake 50.26 109.43
King Crab Bisque 48.33 105.22
Grand Tandoori Chicken 35.86 78.08
Homestyle Pot Roast 35.41 77.10
Herbed Halibut 34.06 74.16
Delicious Chocolate Cake 30.91 67.31
Overstuffed Peppers 26.86 58.49
Savory Stuffed Turkey 25.96 56.53
Crackling Peking Duck 24.16 52.61
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 23.26 50.65
Voodoo Chicken Salad 17.64 38.40
Sweet Seasonal Ham 16.96 36.94
Lavish Lamb Curry 16.06 34.98
Vampire Staked Steak 15.25 33.21
Stardust Stew 13.81 30.08
Tostada de Carne Asada 13.36 29.10
Shu Mai Dumplings 12.19 26.55
Triple Berry Cheesecake 11.11 24.20
Kung Pao Stir Fry 8.86 19.30
Spaghetti and Meatballs 8.19 17.83
Tony’s Classic Pizza 7.96 17.34
Pumpkin Pie 7.60 16.56
Atomic Buffalo Wings 5.35 11.66
Fiery Fish Tacos 4.41 9.60
Lemon Butter Lobster 4.36 9.50
French Onion Soup 3.82 8.33
Smoked Salmon Latkes 3.46 7.54
Macaroni and Cheese 2.20 4.80
Caramel Apples 1.75 3.82
Buttermilk Pancakes 1.21 2.65
Tikka Masala Kabobs 1.17 2.55
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 0.61 1.33
Powdered French Toast 0.60 1.31
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 0.58 1.27
Crème Fraiche Caviar 0.51 1.12
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 0.45 0.98
Chicken Gyro and Fries 0.25 0.55
Bacon Cheeseburger 0.20 0.43
Chips and Guacamole 0.10 0.22

Special Bonus: I’ve now moved my spreadsheet over to this Google Spreadsheet.  Now you can see all the rows of calculation for some insight into Café World Economics.  As usual, let me know if you find mistakes or have questions…

Updates:

I’ve added the following posts on Café World Economics since this one.

Café World Economics: Profit & Cafe Points (2010 Edition)

What better way to spend the waning hours of the first day of the new decade than to update all of the tables for the new dishes on Café World?  Zynga has added a number of new dishes over the past few weeks, so it’s about time for updated data on all the dishes.

gameBig_cafeworld

Since I’ve written three previous articles on the topic:

I won’t repeat the previous analysis.  As a reminder, all of these numbers assume:

  • The numbers are per dish, per stove
  • The numbers assume the cost (15 coins) and experience (+1) of cleaning the stove each cycle
  • Profit & Cafe Points tables assume “instant” cleaning time.
  • Real World Hourly Wages assumes a cleaning time of 1 minute per stove.

You can read my previous posts for the rational behind these assumptions.

How to use these tables. For me, I use the tables as follows:  If I know I won’t be able to check on my Café for the next 24 hours, I go down the table I’m trying to optimize for (money or experience) and I look for the first dish in the list that is 1440 minutes AND that I have enough experience to cook.  For example, I’m currently at level 42, so if I’m looking for a “1 day” dish, the first one for experience is Grand Tandoori Chicken.  But since I can’t buy that yet, I have to keep going down until I hit King Crab Bisque.

Table #1:  Profit per dish

Dish Profit / Day Profit / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 6336.0 264.0 5.0
Overstuffed Peppers 5970.0 248.8 720.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 5910.0 246.3 240.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 5888.6 245.4 840.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 5880.0 245.0 120.0
Lemon Butter Lobster 5820.0 242.5 120.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 5420.0 225.8 360.0
King Crab Bisque 5370.0 223.8 1440.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 5355.0 223.1 480.0
Chips and Guacamole 5280.0 220.0 3.0
Impossible Quiche 5092.5 212.2 2880.0
Powdered French Toast 4824.0 201.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 4800.0 200.0 15.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 4760.0 198.3 180.0
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 4680.0 195.0 20.0
Smoked Salmon Latkes 4620.0 192.5 120.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 4455.0 185.6 480.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 4320.0 180.0 45.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 4248.0 177.0 300.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 4032.0 168.0 10.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 3985.0 166.0 1440.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 3920.0 163.3 720.0
Chicken Pot Pie 3792.5 158.0 2880.0
Herbed Halibut 3785.0 157.7 1440.0
Sweet Seasonal Ham 3770.0 157.1 720.0
Crackling Peking Duck 3580.0 149.2 1080.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 3264.0 136.0 30.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 3147.3 131.1 1320.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 3120.0 130.0 60.0
Macaroni and Cheese 2940.0 122.5 120.0
Crème Fraiche Caviar 2736.0 114.0 30.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 2730.0 113.8 480.0
Gingerbread House 2697.0 112.4 7200.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2585.0 107.7 1440.0
French Onion Soup 2550.0 106.3 240.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 2470.0 102.9 720.0
Caramel Apples 2340.0 97.5 120.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 1967.5 82.0 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 1695.0 70.6 1440.0
Pumpkin Pie 1690.0 70.4 720.0

Table #2: Café Points per dish

Dish CP / Day CP / Hour Min Per Cycle
Chicken Gyro and Fries 2016.0 84.0 10.0
Bacon Cheeseburger 2016.0 84.0 5.0
Chips and Guacamole 1920.0 80.0 3.0
Powdered French Toast 1512.0 63.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 1344.0 56.0 15.0
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 1080.0 45.0 20.0
Crème Fraiche Caviar 1056.0 44.0 30.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 1008.0 42.0 30.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 992.0 41.3 45.0
Lemon Butter Lobster 816.0 34.0 120.0
Smoked Salmon Latkes 756.0 31.5 120.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 624.0 26.0 360.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 600.0 25.0 480.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 588.0 24.5 120.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 544.0 22.7 180.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 528.0 22.0 60.0
Macaroni and Cheese 492.0 20.5 120.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 468.0 19.5 840.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 450.0 18.8 240.0
Caramel Apples 420.0 17.5 120.0
Overstuffed Peppers 412.0 17.2 720.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 403.0 16.8 1440.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 369.0 15.4 480.0
French Onion Soup 366.0 15.3 240.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 336.0 14.0 720.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 326.4 13.6 300.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 300.0 12.5 480.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 280.0 11.7 720.0
King Crab Bisque 252.0 10.5 1440.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 235.6 9.8 1320.0
Herbed Halibut 225.0 9.4 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 221.3 9.2 1080.0
Gingerbread House 212.6 8.9 7200.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.0 8.8 1440.0
Sweet Seasonal Ham 204.0 8.5 720.0
Impossible Quiche 175.5 7.3 2880.0
Chicken Pot Pie 153.5 6.4 2880.0
Pumpkin Pie 152.0 6.3 720.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 139.5 5.8 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 113.0 4.7 1440.0

Table #3: Real World Hourly Wages per dish

Dish Hourly Wage (high) Hourly Wage (low)
Gingerbread House $264.23 $121.36
Impossible Quiche $199.57 $91.66
Chicken Pot Pie $148.62 $68.26
King Crab Bisque $105.22 $48.33
Grand Tandoori Chicken $78.08 $35.86
Homestyle Pot Roast $77.10 $35.41
Herbed Halibut $74.16 $34.06
Delicious Chocolate Cake $67.31 $30.91
Overstuffed Peppers $58.49 $26.86
Savory Stuffed Turkey $56.53 $25.96
Crackling Peking Duck $52.61 $24.16
Spitfire Roasted Chicken $50.65 $23.26
Voodoo Chicken Salad $38.40 $17.64
Sweet Seasonal Ham $36.94 $16.96
Lavish Lamb Curry $34.98 $16.06
Vampire Staked Steak $33.21 $15.25
Tostada de Carne Asada $29.10 $13.36
Shu Mai Dumplings $26.55 $12.19
Triple Berry Cheesecake $24.20 $11.11
Kung Pao Stir Fry $19.30 $8.86
Spaghetti and Meatballs $17.83 $8.19
Tony’s Classic Pizza $17.34 $7.96
Pumpkin Pie $16.56 $7.60
Atomic Buffalo Wings $11.66 $5.35
Fiery Fish Tacos $9.60 $4.41
Lemon Butter Lobster $9.50 $4.36
French Onion Soup $8.33 $3.82
Smoked Salmon Latkes $7.54 $3.46
Macaroni and Cheese $4.80 $2.20
Caramel Apples $3.82 $1.75
Buttermilk Pancakes $2.65 $1.21
Tikka Masala Kabobs $2.55 $1.17
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail $1.33 $0.61
Powdered French Toast $1.31 $0.60
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts $1.27 $0.58
Crème Fraiche Caviar $1.12 $0.51
Super Chunk Fruit Salad $0.98 $0.45
Chicken Gyro and Fries $0.55 $0.25
Bacon Cheeseburger $0.43 $0.20
Chips and Guacamole $0.22 $0.10

Once again, a thank you to Simple Think, which continues to have the most up-to-date raw data on Café World dishes at all levels…

Update: I’ve now posted additional articles on Café World Economics:

Fishville Economics: Points, Experience & Levels Part 3

The traffic to my blog from my first two Fishville blog posts has been staggering. How can I resist? That’s right, it’s time for Yet Another Fishville Post (YAFP). Come on, you know you want to read more…

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 12.57.13 AM

I’ve been a little surprised to see how few accurate blog posts exist out on the web that break down the profit & experience for Fishville.  For reference you can still find my first two blogs posts here:

Fortunately, I have found at least one new useful resource:

I’m at Level 42 in Fishville, so I can get almost all of the data myself.  However, I’m still missing the data for the last two fish:

  • Blueline Trigger
  • Longhorn Clownfish

If you have the data on either of these two fish, please post here in the comments.

In the past few weeks, Zynga has rolled out a number of new fish.  I’ve updated my Google Doc with all the updated numbers.

The most interesting addition has been a series of fish that you can only purchase with Sand Dollars, which is the Fishville denomination for game money that you have to buy with real money.

This poses a dilemma for my calculations, since I base profitability on coins spent to coins earned.  As a result, I needed a conversion ratio from Sand Dollars to Coins.  Although you can’t buy Sand Dollars with Coins, you can buy both with real US dollars ($) from Zynga with a scaling price table:

Dollars Coins Sand Dollars Coins / $ SD / $ Coins / SD
5 7500 25 1500 5 300.00
10 15800 55 1580 5.5 287.27
20 33300 115 1665 5.75 289.57
40 70600 240 1765 6 294.17

Notice anything strange?

According to this table, the ratio of coins to sand dollars varies between 300 and 287, and in a non-linear fashion.  It’s as if Zynga didn’t compare the volume discount on coins to the volume discount to sand dollars when they generated these prices.

Since it’s non-linear, I decided to take the “average” ratio as my conversion.  So, for the purposes of this blog post, one sand dollar = 292.75 coins.

Using that ratio, I was able to regenerate my graphs.  Here is the graph showing profitability of each fish, per level.  All the assumptions from my second blog post still hold:

What you’ll notice is that some of the “sand dollar” fish are actually money losers for the first two levels.  That’s right, assuming my conversion ratio, you’d be better off just buying coins with your money, rather than buying sand dollars and then growing these fish!

Now, the updated experience points chart tells a different tale:

In this case, you can clearly see that the best fish for experience, excluding the “fast fish”, are the sand dollar fish.  As a result, it’s pretty clear that what you are buying with your sand dollars is a fast path to rise up levels.  If you’re willing to spend the money on Batfish, you’ll be able to climb those levels quickly, and with much less work than minding 5 minute fish…

You can reference the full data in my Google Doc.  Let me know if you see any issues with the calculations.

For reference, I’ll include the Level 1 tables here, just in case there are issues reading the now huge Google Doc.

Profit per Fish when you harvest at Level 1:


Fish Profit / L1 Minutes / L1 Profit / Minute
Sardine 7.00 3 2.33
Mini Dart Goby 11.00 5 2.20
Red Spot Cardinal 23.00 15 1.53
Klunzinger Wrasse 26.00 30 0.87
Bluedot Jawfish 115.00 180 0.64
Bartlett Anthias 21.00 45 0.47
Swissguard Basslet 20.00 60 0.33
Pajama Cardinal 34.00 120 0.28
Blue Green Chromis 46.00 180 0.26
Shy Hamlet 54.00 240 0.23
Longnose Hawkfish 78.00 360 0.22
Purple Firefish 580.75 2880 0.20
Percula Clownfish 81.00 480 0.17
Flame Angelfish 89.00 600 0.15
Blue Hippo Tang 124.00 1080 0.11
Longnose Butterfly 165.00 1440 0.11
Blue Mandarin 125.00 1200 0.10
Royal Dottyback 99.00 960 0.10
Hawaiian Hogfish 72.00 720 0.10
Golden Puffer 423.00 4320 0.10
Scooter Blenny 133.00 1440 0.09
Blue Damsel 195.00 2160 0.09
Blue Spot Grouper 253.00 2880 0.09
Parrotfish 76.50 1440 0.05
Moorish Idol 53.25 1080 0.05
Blackfoot Lionfish -67.50 1080 -0.06
Orbiculate Batfish -238.50 360 -0.66
Clown Triggerfish -149.75 180 -0.83

Experience per Fish when you harvest at Level 1:


Fish XP / Egg XP / L1 Minutes / L1 XP / Minute
Mini Dart Goby 2 8 5 1.60
Sardine 1 4 3 1.33
Red Spot Cardinal 4 16 15 1.07
Orbiculate Batfish 66 330 360 0.92
Blackfoot Lionfish 79 790 1080 0.73
Klunzinger Wrasse 5 20 30 0.67
Clown Triggerfish 23 115 180 0.64
Purple Firefish 181 1810 2880 0.63
Parrotfish 88 880 1440 0.61
Bartlett Anthias 4 20 45 0.44
Moorish Idol 47 470 1080 0.44
Bluedot Jawfish 13 65 180 0.36
Swissguard Basslet 4 20 60 0.33
Pajama Cardinal 8 40 120 0.33
Blue Green Chromis 12 60 180 0.33
Shy Hamlet 15 75 240 0.31
Longnose Hawkfish 22 110 360 0.31
Percula Clownfish 26 134 480 0.28
Flame Angelfish 16 160 600 0.27
Longnose Butterfly 35 350 1440 0.24
Blue Hippo Tang 26 260 1080 0.24
Hawaiian Hogfish 17 170 720 0.24
Royal Dottyback 22 220 960 0.23
Scooter Blenny 29 290 1440 0.20
Blue Damsel 39 390 2160 0.18
Blue Spot Grouper 45 450 2880 0.16
Blue Mandarin 30 130 1200 0.11
Golden Puffer 42 420 4320 0.10

Enjoy.  Happy Holidays.

Café World Economics: Real World Hourly Wages

I’ve been distracted by Fishville lately, but the Zynga team has been busy rolling out new dishes for Café World, so I thought it was time for a new post on Café World Economics.

gameBig_cafeworld

This post is the third in the Café World Economics series:

But before I get to the new tables, I did some additional analysis based on my popular Farmville post, “The Personal Economics of Farmville“.  I’ve produced a table that ranks all the Café World dishes based on the equivalent US $ / hour wage you are valuing your real world time when you play the game.

In order to do this, I needed to find some additional data.  The first was an effective value of Café World coins.  To do this, I used the payment schedule that Zynga has in the game (as of 11/30/2009):


Café Coins Price ($) Coins / $
15280 $4.99 3062.12
45240 $9.99 4528.53
125280 $19.99 6267.13
333300 $49.99 6667.33
1000000 $149.99 6667.11

Note the wide disparity in values!  If you pay the bare minimum ($4.99), you are valuing Café World coins at 3062.12 per dollar.  But if you pay at the high end ($49.99), you get 6667.33 coins per dollar.

Since there is such a wide disparity of values, I decided to calculate both a high and a low estimate for my table.

The second new piece of data needed was the “time spent per dish“.  This is something that I left out of my initial calculations, but makes sense in this context.

Since all of my tables are “per dish per stove per day”, I estimated that you need to spend one (1) minute per cycle to clean the stove, buy the dish, and click through the 3 ingredients, and then get the finished dish.  This might be a tad high, but it’s in the right ballpark.

What this means is that a dish that takes 5 minutes to cook is now estimated to have a cycle time of 6 minutes, with 1 minute of “real world time” spent.  So, 1440 / 6 = 240, which means to cook a 5 minute dish all day you’d need to cook 240 cycles, which implies a sign up for 240 minutes of “real world time”.

This allowed me to do the simple algebra to weigh the profit per dish per day, in Café World coins, and then subtract the real world time, and figure out the effective “hourly wage” of each dish.

As it turns out, whether you use the high value or low value for coins, the sort order is the same.  Here are all Café World dishes, sorted by “hourly wage”:


Dish Hourly Wage (high) Hourly Wage (low)
Impossible Quiche $199.57 $91.66
Chicken Pot Pie $148.62 $68.26
King Crab Bisque $105.22 $48.33
Grand Tandoori Chicken $78.08 $35.86
Homestyle Pot Roast $77.10 $35.41
Herbed Halibut $74.16 $34.06
Delicious Chocolate Cake $67.31 $30.91
Overstuffed Peppers $58.49 $26.86
Savory Stuffed Turkey $56.53 $25.96
Crackling Peking Duck $52.61 $24.16
Spitfire Roasted Chicken $50.65 $23.26
Voodoo Chicken Salad $38.40 $17.64
Lavish Lamb Curry $34.98 $16.06
Vampire Staked Steak $33.21 $15.25
Tostada de Carne Asada $29.10 $13.36
Shu Mai Dumplings $26.55 $12.19
Triple Berry Cheesecake $24.20 $11.11
Kung Pao Stir Fry $19.30 $8.86
Spaghetti and Meatballs $17.83 $8.19
Tony’s Classic Pizza $17.34 $7.96
Pumpkin Pie $16.56 $7.60
Atomic Buffalo Wings $11.66 $5.35
Fiery Fish Tacos $9.60 $4.41
French Onion Soup $8.33 $3.82
Caramel Apples $3.82 $1.75
Buttermilk Pancakes $2.65 $1.21
Tikka Masala Kabobs $2.55 $1.17
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail $1.33 $0.61
Powdered French Toast $1.31 $0.60
Super Chunk Fruit Salad $0.98 $0.45
Chicken Gyro and Fries $0.55 $0.25
Bacon Cheeseburger $0.43 $0.20
Chips and Guacamole $0.22 $0.10

Now, these figures are a little misleading, because the dishes that result in high profit (like the Impossible Quiche) and that have long cycle times result in very low amounts of real world time. As a result, if you can make $2 in a minute, you effectively get $120/hour. Still, it makes a point. If you are trying to minimize time spent in Café World for maximum profit, this is a pretty good list to go by.

First thing you’ll notice, is that Chips & Guacamole may build your Café World coin stash, but they are not valuing your time very highly.  In fact, you have to get to Kung Pao Stir Fry to break above the living wage in California, at the low valuation for coins.

However, it also shows that the economics of these coin values are unsustainable. If Zynga allowed people to convert coins to US $ at these rates, then the value of opening up 50 Facebook accounts and cooking Impossible Quiche all day would beat most jobs.  ($200/hour = approx $400K per year!)

Just one of the interesting things you find when you crunch the numbers.

For those of you looking for updated tables with the new dishes, see below.

Café World dishes, sorted by profit per dish per day:

Dish Profit / Day Profit / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 6336.0 264.0 5.0
Overstuffed Peppers 5970.0 248.8 720.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 5910.0 246.3 240.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 5888.6 245.4 840.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 5880.0 245.0 120.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 5420.0 225.8 360.0
King Crab Bisque 5370.0 223.8 1440.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 5355.0 223.1 480.0
Chips and Guacamole 5280.0 220.0 3.0
Impossible Quiche 5092.5 212.2 2880.0
Powdered French Toast 4824.0 201.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 4800.0 200.0 15.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 4760.0 198.3 180.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 4455.0 185.6 480.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 4320.0 180.0 45.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 4248.0 177.0 300.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 4032.0 168.0 10.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 3985.0 166.0 1440.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 3920.0 163.3 720.0
Chicken Pot Pie 3792.5 158.0 2880.0
Herbed Halibut 3785.0 157.7 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 3580.0 149.2 1080.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 3264.0 136.0 30.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 3147.3 131.1 1320.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 3120.0 130.0 60.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 2730.0 113.8 480.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2585.0 107.7 1440.0
French Onion Soup 2550.0 106.3 240.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 2470.0 102.9 720.0
Caramel Apples 2340.0 97.5 120.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 1967.5 82.0 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 1695.0 70.6 1440.0
Pumpkin Pie 1690.0 70.4 720.0

Café World dishes, sorted by Café World points per dish per day:

Dish CP / Day CP / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 2016.0 84.0 5.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 2016.0 84.0 10.0
Chips and Guacamole 1920.0 80.0 3.0
Powdered French Toast 1512.0 63.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 1344.0 56.0 15.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 1008.0 42.0 30.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 992.0 41.3 45.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 624.0 26.0 360.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 600.0 25.0 480.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 588.0 24.5 120.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 544.0 22.7 180.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 528.0 22.0 60.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 468.0 19.5 840.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 450.0 18.8 240.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 439.6 18.3 1320.0
Caramel Apples 420.0 17.5 120.0
Overstuffed Peppers 412.0 17.2 720.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 403.0 16.8 1440.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 369.0 15.4 480.0
French Onion Soup 366.0 15.3 240.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 336.0 14.0 720.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 326.4 13.6 300.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 300.0 12.5 480.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 280.0 11.7 720.0
King Crab Bisque 252.0 10.5 1440.0
Herbed Halibut 225.0 9.4 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 221.3 9.2 1080.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.0 8.8 1440.0
Impossible Quiche 175.5 7.3 2880.0
Chicken Pot Pie 153.5 6.4 2880.0
Pumpkin Pie 152.0 6.3 720.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 139.5 5.8 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 113.0 4.7 1440.0

Enjoy.

Update: I’ve now published updated information on Cafe World Economics.

Fishville Economics: Points, Experience & Levels Part 2

The traffic to my blog from my first Fishville post has been staggering.  How can I resist?  That’s right, it’s time for Yet Another Fishville Post (YAFP).  Come on, you know you want to read more…

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 12.57.13 AM

I’ve been a little surprised to see how few accurate blog posts exist out on the web that break down the profit & experience for Fishville.  Based on comments to my original post, I made some mistakes.  As a result, I’m posting this follow up to help address the most common concerns:

  • What about Level 5 (and 6 and 7…). I classify my charts based on the completion of levels, which is a little confusing because in Fishville, your fish is “Level 1″ until it completes the level, and then it is Level 2, etc.  As a result, you don’t get the “Level 1″ experience until your fish reaches Level 2.  Confusing.  Even more confusing, after completing Level 4, your fish can continue to go up levels… it just won’t be worth anything more.  As a result, I ignore all levels above 4.
  • Why doesn’t my experience number match yours? It’s because I’m including the experience you get from dropping the egg in the tank, not just the experience you get from harvesting.
  • Level 4 doesn’t take the same time as the other levels. Oops.  This is correct.  I still don’t have accurate info on whether the “Level 4″ time is the same for all fish (2 days) or different.  For this post, I use the 2 day number, which changes the economics considerably.  (Hint: It’s not worth your time to ever let this happen)
  • Can you post a Google Doc of all your tables & charts? See the end of this post.  First time for everything.

To recap, here are the assumptions for my tables & charts:

  1. I assume harvesting & buying fish is instantaneous. Yes, I know its not.  Fodder for a future post.
  2. All profits are calculated per fish. Same with experience
  3. Total Experience = Experience from dropping egg + Experience from the level(s) of growth
  4. Total Profit = Revenue from harvesting the fist – Cost of the egg

In my last post, I described how your “profit per minute” increases with levels, but your “experience per minute” falls with levels.  A lot of people didn’t understand this, so I decided to try some charts to illustrate.

Here is a chart I made in Google Docs showing the effect of increasing levels on Profit / Minute.  Because there is a fixed cost to buying a new fish, the linear increase in profit per level helps your profit / minute.  Of course, it falls off a cliff once you hit Level 4, and it takes up to 2 days to complete.

Fishville Profit Per Minute Per Level

This means that, from a profit per minute perspective, it’s better to let your fish grow to complete Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 before harvesting.

But there is a catch.  Because you get XP every time to buy an egg, the effect on experience points per minute is the opposite.  Every level you go, your experience points per minute drops!  See this chart to visualize:

Fishville XP Per Minute Per Level

Based on the comments to my original blog post, it’s very obvious that most players continue to ignore the experience points you get for dropping an egg in your tank – choosing instead to focus only on the experience points you get when you harvest the fish.  Big mistake, because this leads you to keep fish around too long.

Since my last post, I’ve also been able to complete my tables for all current fish.

Here is the profit table for Level 1 profits:


Fish Profit / L1 Minutes / L1 Profit / Minute
Sardine 7 3 2.33
Mini Dart Goby 11 5 2.2
Red Spot Cardinal 23 15 1.53
Inland Silverside 16 30 0.53
Bartlett Anthias 21 45 0.47
Swissguard Basslet 17 60 0.28
Pajama Cardinal 34 120 0.28
Blue Green Chromis 46 180 0.26
Shy Hamlet 54 240 0.23
Longnose Hawkfish 78 360 0.22
Percula Clownfish 81 480 0.17
Annularis Angelfish 89 600 0.15
Blue Hippo Tang 124 1080 0.11
Royal Dottyback 99 960 0.1
Hawaiian Hogfish 72 720 0.1
Scooter Blenny 133 1440 0.09
Blue Damsel 195 2160 0.09

Here is the experience table for Level 1 experience.  Note that I included the experience you get for dropping the egg, as well as the total experience you get for completing level 1.  Remember, Total = Dropping Egg + Level XP:


Fish XP / Egg XP / L1 Minutes / L1 XP / Minute
Mini Dart Goby 2 8 5 1.6
Sardine 1 4 3 1.33
Red Spot Cardinal 4 16 15 1.07
Inland Silverside 4 16 30 0.53
Bartlett Anthias 4 20 45 0.44
Swissguard Basslet 4 20 60 0.33
Pajama Cardinal 8 40 120 0.33
Blue Green Chromis 12 60 180 0.33
Shy Hamlet 15 75 240 0.31
Longnose Hawkfish 22 110 360 0.31
Percula Clownfish 27 135 480 0.28
Annularis Angelfish 16 160 600 0.27
Hawaiian Hogfish 17 170 720 0.24
Royal Dottyback 22 220 960 0.23
Scooter Blenny 29 290 1440 0.2
Blue Damsel 39 390 2160 0.18
Blue Hippo Tang 26 52 1080 0.05

As promised, here is a link to the Google Doc with all my tables and charts.  Please post additional info, corrections, or data in the comments below.

Updates:  I’ve now posted additional columns on Fishville:

Fishville Economics: Points, Experience & Levels

My Zynga addiction clearly knows no bounds.  Last week, Zynga launched a new game called Fishville, and clearly at this point I have no ability to resist any new Zynga game.

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 12.57.13 AMFishville has a deceptively simple frame:  you have a fish tank, and you buy fish eggs for it.  The fish hatch, you feed them, and then when they are fully grown, you sell them for profit.

What I’ve found most interesting about the game is the new dimensions they are exploring in the economics of the game.  Fishville adds a couple distinguishing twists versus Farmville or Café World:

  1. Multiple Tanks. How many people wish they had more than one farm in Farmville?  In Fishville, Zynga has two types of expansion – the ability to put more fish in a single tank and the ability to buy new tanks.  This may not seem relevant from a structural standpoint – after all whether you add 20 fish to one tank or 10 to 2 tanks shouldn’t matter – but it should create a new dynamic around buying virtual goods to decorate different tanks.
  2. Harvest Levels. This is the real twist to the economics.  Fish grow up in stages, up to four levels.  The revenue in coins and the experience you get goes up linearly with each level.  So if you have a 4 hour fish, you can harvest them at 4 hours at Level 1, or 16 hours at Level 4.  You still have to feed them or they die (similar to withering crops in Farmville), but you don’t need to “replant”.

The Harvest Levels have the most impact on the game economics.  In financial terms, each fish now has a fixed cost and a variable cost, as well as a fixed experience pay-off and variable experience pay-off.

For example, let’s take the Mini Dart Goby, the first fish.

The Goby costs 7 coins for an egg.  That’s a fixed cost.  If you grow it to Level 1, you’ll get 18 coins, for a profit of 11 coins.  Easy, right?  Hold on.  If you wait until Level 4, you’ll get 72 coins over that same 7 coin cost, for a profit of 65 coins.

The fixed cost means that your “profitability” or “profit / minute” goes up the longer you wait to harvest.

Seems like a no-brainer to wait until Level 4?  Not so fast.

With Experience Points, the math works in reverse.

The Mini Dart Goby gives you 2 XP for dropping the egg.  At Level 1, you’ll get 8 XP, for a total of 10 XP.  But if you wait until Level 4, you’ll get 32 XP, for a total of 34 XP of the time period.  In this case, your “XP / Minute” goes down the longer you wait to harvest.

It gets even harder.

You can harvest a fish in-between levels… but you don’t get any credit for the time between levels.  So if you are half-way between levels, your “profit / minute” and “experience / minute” will be terrible.  In fact, the math says you need to harvest at level boundaries pretty closely.  (I think in a future blog post, I’ll graph this.)

For now, here are some tables I’ve made for the fish I have data on.  Unfortunately, this game is so new, I can’t find any guides online with data for all fish.  Special thanks to Erin Hoffmann, who serves as both data provider and my toughest competitor in Fishville.

The most interesting aspect to these tables is that while the profitability / minute rises for each level, Zynga has kept the fixed costs proportional enough that the ranking of the fish does not change significantly between 1 level or 4 levels.

Here is the profitability of different fish at Level 1:

Fish Profit / One Level Minutes / One Level Profit / Minute
Sardine 7.00 3.00 2.33
Mini Dart Goby 11.00 5.00 2.20
Red Spot Cardinal 23.00 15.00 1.53
Swissguard Basslet 17.00 60.00 0.28
Shy Hamlet 54.00 240.00 0.23
Percula Clownfish 81.00 480.00 0.17
Royal Dottyback 99.00 960.00 0.10
Hawaiian Hogfish 72.00 720.00 0.10
Scooter Blenny 133.00 1440.00 0.09

Here is the profitability of different fish at Level 4:

Fish Profit / Four Levels Minutes / Four Levels Profit / Minute
Sardine 43.00 12.00 3.58
Mini Dart Goby 65.00 20.00 3.25
Red Spot Cardinal 137.00 60.00 2.28
Swissguard Basslet 98.00 240.00 0.41
Shy Hamlet 321.00 960.00 0.33
Percula Clownfish 468.00 1920.00 0.24
Hawaiian Hogfish 432.00 2880.00 0.15
Royal Dottyback 567.00 3840.00 0.15
Scooter Blenny 796.00 5760.00 0.14

Here is the experience productivity of different fish at Level 1:

Fish XP / One Level Min / Four Levels XP / Minute
Mini Dart Goby 8.00 5.00 1.60
Sardine 4.00 3.00 1.33
Red Spot Cardinal 16.00 15.00 1.07
Swissguard Basslet 20.00 60.00 0.33
Shy Hamlet 75.00 240.00 0.31
Percula Clownfish 135.00 480.00 0.28
Hawaiian Hogfish 170.00 720.00 0.24
Royal Dottyback 220.00 960.00 0.23
Scooter Blenny 290.00 1440.00 0.20

Here is the experience productivity of different fish at Level 4:

Fish XP / Four Levels Min / Four Levels XP / Minute
Mini Dart Goby 26.00 20.00 1.30
Sardine 13.00 12.00 1.08
Red Spot Cardinal 52.00 60.00 0.87
Swissguard Basslet 68.00 240.00 0.28
Shy Hamlet 255.00 960.00 0.27
Percula Clownfish 459.00 1920.00 0.24
Hawaiian Hogfish 629.00 2880.00 0.22
Royal Dottyback 814.00 3840.00 0.21
Scooter Blenny 1073.00 5760.00 0.19

If you’d like to help, I’m missing data for the following fish:

  • Blue Damsel
  • Inland Silverside
  • Pajama Cardinal
  • Longnose Hawkfish
  • Annularis Angelfish
  • Blue Spot Grouper
  • Blue Hippo Tang
  • Bartlett Anthias

For each, please leave a comment with:

  • XP / Egg
  • Revenue / Level
  • XP / Level
  • Minutes / Level

Hope this helps the new Fishville players out there.  Enjoy.

Update (11/14/2009): New blog post coming tomorrow, with updated tables and new info.  Also, fixing the issue around the whole “Level 4/Adult” confusion, and publishing a Google Doc to help others benefit from the raw data.  I’m still finding that people are ignoring the XP from the dropping of the egg, and only focusing on the XP from harvesting, so I’ll update tables to make that more clear.

Updates:  I’ve now posted additional columns on Fishville:

Café World Economics: Updated Tables

I really haven’t had enough time to write the second post I had been planning on Buzz measurements and the profitability by unit time of different dishes.  So, instead, this week I’m posting updated tables for some of the new dishes that Zynga has rolled out.  (Still looking for an accurate breakdown of CP for Impossible Quiche, BTW.  I’m only at Level 25 myself…)

gameBig_cafeworld

This is the second post in my Café World Economics series.  The first one is here:

Here are my Café World tables, updated for the three new dishes Zynga rolled out last week.

First, the table of dishes, sorted by total profit per day:


Dish Profit / Day Profit / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 6336.0 264.0 5.0
Overstuffed Peppers 5970.0 248.8 720.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 5910.0 246.3 240.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 5880.0 245.0 120.0
King Crab Bisque 5370.0 223.8 1440.0
Chips and Guacamole 5280.0 220.0 3.0
Impossible Quiche 5092.5 212.2 2880.0
Powdered French Toast 4824.0 201.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 4800.0 200.0 15.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 4248.0 177.0 300.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 4032.0 168.0 10.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 3985.0 166.0 1440.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 3920.0 163.3 720.0
Herbed Halibut 3785.0 157.7 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 3580.0 149.2 1080.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 3264.0 136.0 30.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 3120.0 130.0 60.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 2730.0 113.8 480.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2585.0 107.7 1440.0
French Onion Soup 2550.0 106.3 240.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 2470.0 102.9 720.0
Caramel Apples 2340.0 97.5 120.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 1967.5 82.0 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 1695.0 70.6 1440.0
Pumpkin Pie 1690.0 70.4 720.0

Here is the second table, dishes sorted by Café Points per Day:

Dish CP / Day CP / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 2016.0 84.0 5.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 2016.0 84.0 10.0
Chips and Guacamole 1920.0 80.0 3.0
Powdered French Toast 1512.0 63.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 1344.0 56.0 15.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 1008.0 42.0 30.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 588.0 24.5 120.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 528.0 22.0 60.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 450.0 18.8 240.0
Caramel Apples 420.0 17.5 120.0
Overstuffed Peppers 412.0 17.2 720.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 403.0 16.8 1440.0
French Onion Soup 366.0 15.3 240.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 336.0 14.0 720.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 326.4 13.6 300.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 300.0 12.5 480.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 280.0 11.7 720.0
King Crab Bisque 252.0 10.5 1440.0
Herbed Halibut 225.0 9.4 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 221.3 9.2 1080.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.0 8.8 1440.0
Impossible Quiche 175.5 7.3 2880.0
Pumpkin Pie 152.0 6.3 720.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 139.5 5.8 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 113.0 4.7 1440.0

As per some of the comments, I’ve realized that there is an overhead in time for setting up a dish. It’s likely small (15-20s), but still, that’s a material increase on a 5 minute dish. I’ll provide that update in a future post.

In truth, I had hoped to have my first FishVille Economics post up by now. Unfortunately, the little spat between Zynga & Facebook seems to have precluded it for now. Fishville has been down all day.

Update:  New Café World Economics posts are available:

Farmville Economics: Cranberries, Pattypan Squash, Acorn Squash

Zynga launched several new crops this week: Cranberries, Pattypan Squash, and Acorn Squash, so I thought I’d update my tables for active players out there. So yes, this is Yet Another Farmville Post (YAFP).

gameBig_farmville

For quick reference, here are the links to my first seven Farmville posts:

I’ve updated my tables to include the new crops.  You’ll notice that none of the new crops are significantly differentiated by either experience or profit.

Please remember, all tables normalize the values for one square per day (24 hour day), and include the cost and experience involved with plowing the square per cycle.

Here are the crops, ranked by Profit / Day:


Crop Profit / Day
Super Berries 900.00
Asparagus 183.00
Sugar Cane 177.00
Peas 176.00
Tomatoes 174.00
Green Tea 170.40
Grapes 170.00
Onions 166.00
Sunflowers 165.00
Ghost Chili 164.00
Acorn Squash 163.20
Coffee 162.00
Blackberries 162.00
Lillies 159.00
Blueberries 156.00
Carrots 150.00
Raspberries 132.00
Broccoli 129.00
Pattypan Squash 120.00
Cabbage 116.50
Lavendar 104.50
Sweet Seeds 100.00
Red Wheat 84.67
Aloe Vera 80.00
Yellow Mellon 77.00
Peppers 77.00
Rice 72.00
Corn 71.67
Red Tulips 69.00
Pumpkin 69.00
Cranberries 67.20
Pineapple 66.00
Potatoes 65.00
Strawberries 60.00
Pink Roses 59.50
Yellow Bell 54.00
Watermelon 50.75
Cotton 39.00
Squash 33.00
Soybeans 33.00
Daffodils 30.00
Artichoke 29.75
Eggplant 24.00
Wheat 21.67

Here are the crops ranked by Experience / Day:

Crop XP / Day Cycle (Hours)
Super Berries 24.00 2.00
Blueberries 12.00 4.00
Raspberries 12.00 2.00
Strawberries 12.00 4.00
Blackberries 12.00 4.00
Aloe Vera 8.00 6.00
Ghost Chili 8.00 6.00
Pumpkin 6.00 8.00
Sugar Cane 6.00 8.00
Tomatoes 6.00 8.00
Cranberries 4.80 10.00
Green Tea 4.80 10.00
Acorn Squash 4.80 10.00
Asparagus 4.50 16.00
Rice 4.00 12.00
Sweet Seeds 4.00 24.00
Onions 4.00 12.00
Peas 4.00 24.00
Carrots 4.00 12.00
Grapes 3.00 24.00
Pattypan Squash 3.00 16.00
Red Tulips 3.00 24.00
Peppers 3.00 24.00
Soybeans 3.00 24.00
Sunflowers 3.00 24.00
Coffee 3.00 16.00
Lillies 3.00 24.00
Broccoli 2.50 48.00
Pineapple 1.50 48.00
Yellow Bell 1.50 48.00
Daffodils 1.50 48.00
Squash 1.50 48.00
Eggplant 1.50 48.00
Lavendar 1.50 48.00
Cabbage 1.50 48.00
Pink Roses 1.50 48.00
Cotton 1.00 72.00
Wheat 1.00 72.00
Red Wheat 1.00 72.00
Corn 1.00 72.00
Potatoes 1.00 72.00
Watermelon 0.75 96.00
Artichoke 0.75 96.00
Yellow Mellon 0.75 96.00

Here are the crops ranked by Profit + Experience / Day (using 15 coins for XP value):


Crop Profit + XP / Day
Super Berries 1260.00
Blackberries 342.00
Blueberries 336.00
Raspberries 312.00
Ghost Chili 284.00
Sugar Cane 267.00
Tomatoes 264.00
Asparagus 250.50
Green Tea 242.40
Strawberries 240.00
Peas 236.00
Acorn Squash 235.20
Onions 226.00
Grapes 215.00
Sunflowers 210.00
Carrots 210.00
Coffee 207.00
Lillies 204.00
Aloe Vera 200.00
Broccoli 166.50
Pattypan Squash 165.00
Sweet Seeds 160.00
Pumpkin 159.00
Cranberries 139.20
Cabbage 139.00
Rice 132.00
Lavendar 127.00
Peppers 122.00
Red Tulips 114.00
Red Wheat 99.67
Pineapple 88.50
Yellow Mellon 88.25
Corn 86.67
Pink Roses 82.00
Potatoes 80.00
Soybeans 78.00
Yellow Bell 76.50
Watermelon 62.00
Squash 55.50
Cotton 54.00
Daffodils 52.50
Eggplant 46.50
Artichoke 41.00
Wheat 36.67

And here are the crops by Risk Adjusted Profit / Day:

Crop Risk-Adjusted Profit / Day Risk of Complete Default
Peas 226.53 12.97%
Broccoli 217.37 1.68%
Grapes 206.37 12.97%
Sunflowers 201.57 12.97%
Lillies 195.82 12.97%
Asparagus 185.57 25.62%
Cabbage 181.47 1.68%
Lavendar 165.80 1.68%
Super Berries 154.22 84.35%
Sweet Seeds 153.58 12.97%
Coffee 153.35 25.62%
Red Wheat 142.52 0.22%
Onions 135.58 36.01%
Yellow Mellon 130.15 0.03%
Green Tea 126.03 42.69%
Carrots 125.98 36.01%
Corn 123.93 0.22%
Acorn Squash 122.29 42.69%
Pattypan Squash 122.23 25.62%
Peppers 117.11 12.97%
Sugar Cane 115.57 50.61%
Pineapple 115.54 1.68%
Potatoes 114.40 0.22%
Tomatoes 114.27 50.61%
Red Tulips 109.43 12.97%
Pink Roses 107.05 1.68%
Yellow Bell 99.87 1.68%
Ghost Chili 96.00 60.01%
Watermelon 91.44 0.03%
Blackberries 80.30 71.14%
Rice 79.19 36.01%
Blueberries 78.89 71.14%
Cotton 77.22 0.22%
Soybeans 74.87 12.97%
Squash 72.46 1.68%
Cranberries 72.37 42.69%
Pumpkin 68.82 50.61%
Daffodils 68.54 1.68%
Aloe Vera 67.61 60.01%
Eggplant 60.71 1.68%
Artichoke 60.47 0.03%
Strawberries 56.35 71.14%
Wheat 52.43 0.22%
Raspberries 38.19 84.35%

Enjoy. Happy Farming.

Café World Economics: Profit & Cafe Points

I suppose it was inevitable.  There comes a point when you have reached a level of wealth in Farmville where you can buy anything (even the Villa).  A point when you have enough experience that you can plant any crop.

It’s natural at that point for the eye to wander, seeking out the next great Zynga game.  And for me, that happened a little over a week ago when I decided to take the plunge into Cafe World.

gameBig_cafeworld

Cafe World has a number of elements that I had originally suggested for Farmville:  animated sims, shorter time spans, more functional enhancements.  It’s a much more complicated simulation, and as a result, it took me quite a bit longer to get the hang of it.

There are a few very interesting new aspects to the game that make modeling the economics difficult.  Expect future posts from me on how to model “The Buzz Factor”, which affects the velocity that your food is consumed over time, and how to model “Spoilage”, which is similar to Farmville but more absolute.

A couple quick tips, for the fans out there:

  • Your Buzz Rating drops by 1.0 for every customer who comes in and leaves without food.  The minimum is 5.0, the maximum is 105.0.  There are two ways to preserve it, however.  First, when you run out of food, remove the doors on your restaurant.  This will close the cafe, and keep your Buzz rating flat.  Second, your buzz rating will not fall if you are not actually running the game.  That means it’s safe to run out of food, as long as you aren’t watching…
  • If you block your waiter(s) in, then they will serve the food infinitely fast.  This is just like the Farmer trick from Farmville.  I highly recommend doing this with the three serving stations against a corner.  One warning – for this to work, you need to give the waiter/waitress *two* squares of freedom.  With just one, it doesn’t seem to work.

To get things started, however, I thought I’d just run the simple numbers on profitability and experience for each recipe.  I found elements of this information on various posts across the web.  (Here is one from Cafe World Strategy.  Here is another from Cyberanto.  This one was the best, from Simple Think.)  Unfortunately, no one seems to know the Café Points experience breakdown between preparing & serving the Impossible Quiche… I guess no one is at that level yet. (I had to guess in my table).

First, profitability.  Each dish below is normalized as follows:

  • All values are normalized for a 24 hours day
  • A “cycle” is based on cooking time, but includes the cost & cafe points for cleaning the oven once
  • I assume an infinitely fast player for cleaning/preparing/serving

Dish Profit / Day Profit / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 6336.0 264.0 5.0
Overstuffed Peppers 5970.0 248.8 720.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 5910.0 246.3 240.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 5880.0 245.0 120.0
King Crab Bisque 5370.0 223.8 1440.0
Chips and Guacamole 5280.0 220.0 3.0
Impossible Quiche 5092.5 212.2 2880.0
Powdered French Toast 4824.0 201.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 4800.0 200.0 15.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 4248.0 177.0 300.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 4032.0 168.0 10.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 3920.0 163.3 720.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 3264.0 136.0 30.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 3255.0 135.6 480.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 3120.0 130.0 60.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2585.0 107.7 1440.0
French Onion Soup 2550.0 106.3 240.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 2470.0 102.9 720.0
Caramel Apples 2340.0 97.5 120.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 1967.5 82.0 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 1695.0 70.6 1440.0
Pumpkin Pie 1690.0 70.4 720.0

The next table shows the same information, but for Café Points instead of profit. This is more useful if your primary concern is “leveling up”.


Dish CP / Day CP / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 2016.0 84.0 5.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 2016.0 84.0 10.0
Chips and Guacamole 1920.0 80.0 3.0
Powdered French Toast 1512.0 63.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 1344.0 56.0 15.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 1008.0 42.0 30.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 588.0 24.5 120.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 528.0 22.0 60.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 450.0 18.8 240.0
Caramel Apples 420.0 17.5 120.0
Overstuffed Peppers 412.0 17.2 720.0
French Onion Soup 366.0 15.3 240.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 336.0 14.0 720.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 326.4 13.6 300.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 300.0 12.5 480.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 280.0 11.7 720.0
King Crab Bisque 252.0 10.5 1440.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.0 8.8 1440.0
Impossible Quiche 175.5 7.3 2880.0
Pumpkin Pie 152.0 6.3 720.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 139.5 5.8 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 113.0 4.7 1440.0

Two things seem clear to me from these tables:

  1. Overstuffed Peppers is the dish to beat.  12 hours cooking time means you don’t have to babysit the game endlessly.  One of the most profitable, and does a fair job of building experience.
  2. Fast Food is King. If you have the patience and time, serving burgers can’t be beat.  All the numbers are incredibly weighted towards the foods with short cycles.  After all, when you can literally serve something 288 times in a single day, that’s a huge multiplier.

In future posts, I’ll try to rebalance these numbers across risk of spoilage and personal time value, to bring some sense to the madness.  I can tell already, however, that the Overstuffed Peppers is going to be the best balance of time & profit.  Of course, my cafe is still dawdling at Level 14…

Update:  New Café World Economics posts are available:

Farmville Economics: Flowers & Updated Tables

Zynga launched several new crops this week in the form of cut flowers, so I thought I’d update my tables for active players out there.  So yes, this is Yet Another Farmville Post (YAFP).

gameBig_farmville

For quick reference, here are the links to my first six Farmville posts:

I’ve updated my tables to include both Sweet Seeds and the new cut flowers.  You’ll notice that, as per my last post, Sweets Seeds really aren’t as good as they should be.  At least, it’s not clear to me why Super Berries were so much better.

Please remember, all tables normalize the values for one square per day (24 hour day), and include the cost and experience involved with plowing the square per cycle.

Here are the crops, ranked by Profit / Day:

Crop Profit / Day
Super Berries 900.00
Asparagus 183.00
Sugar Cane 177.00
Peas 176.00
Tomatoes 174.00
Green Tea 170.40
Grapes 170.00
Onions 166.00
Sunflowers 165.00
Ghost Chili 164.00
Coffee 162.00
Blackberries 162.00
Lillies 159.00
Blueberries 156.00
Carrots 150.00
Raspberries 132.00
Broccoli 129.00
Cabbage 116.50
Sugar Cane 104.50
Sweet Seeds 100.00
Red Wheat 84.67
Aloe Vera 80.00
Peppers 77.00
Yellow Mellon 77.00
Rice 72.00
Corn 71.67
Red Tulips 69.00
Pumpkin 69.00
Pineapple 66.00
Potatoes 65.00
Strawberries 60.00
Pink Roses 59.50
Yellow Bell 54.00
Watermelon 50.75
Cotton 39.00
Squash 33.00
Soybeans 33.00
Daffodils 30.00
Artichoke 29.75
Eggplant 24.00
Wheat 21.67

Here are the crops ranked by Experience per Day:

Crop XP / Day Cycle (Hours)
Super Berries 24.00 2.00
Blueberries 12.00 4.00
Raspberries 12.00 2.00
Strawberries 12.00 4.00
Blackberries 12.00 4.00
Aloe Vera 8.00 6.00
Ghost Chili 8.00 6.00
Tomatoes 6.00 8.00
Pumpkin 6.00 8.00
Sugar Cane 6.00 8.00
Green Tea 4.80 10.00
Asparagus 4.50 16.00
Rice 4.00 12.00
Sweet Seeds 4.00 24.00
Carrots 4.00 12.00
Peas 4.00 24.00
Onions 4.00 12.00
Grapes 3.00 24.00
Red Tulips 3.00 24.00
Peppers 3.00 24.00
Soybeans 3.00 24.00
Sunflowers 3.00 24.00
Coffee 3.00 16.00
Lillies 3.00 24.00
Broccoli 2.50 48.00
Pink Roses 1.50 48.00
Pineapple 1.50 48.00
Yellow Bell 1.50 48.00
Daffodils 1.50 48.00
Squash 1.50 48.00
Eggplant 1.50 48.00
Sugar Cane 1.50 48.00
Cabbage 1.50 48.00
Cotton 1.00 72.00
Wheat 1.00 72.00
Red Wheat 1.00 72.00
Corn 1.00 72.00
Potatoes 1.00 72.00
Watermelon 0.75 96.00
Artichoke 0.75 96.00
Yellow Mellon 0.75 96.00

Here are the crops ranked by a sum of profit and experience per day (see previous posts for why I ascribe 15 coins to the value of one point of experience):

Crop Profit + XP / Day
Super Berries 1260.00
Blackberries 342.00
Blueberries 336.00
Raspberries 312.00
Ghost Chili 284.00
Sugar Cane 267.00
Tomatoes 264.00
Asparagus 250.50
Green Tea 242.40
Strawberries 240.00
Peas 236.00
Onions 226.00
Grapes 215.00
Carrots 210.00
Sunflowers 210.00
Coffee 207.00
Lillies 204.00
Aloe Vera 200.00
Broccoli 166.50
Sweet Seeds 160.00
Pumpkin 159.00
Cabbage 139.00
Rice 132.00
Sugar Cane 127.00
Peppers 122.00
Red Tulips 114.00
Red Wheat 99.67
Pineapple 88.50
Yellow Mellon 88.25
Corn 86.67
Pink Roses 82.00
Potatoes 80.00
Soybeans 78.00
Yellow Bell 76.50
Watermelon 62.00
Squash 55.50
Cotton 54.00
Daffodils 52.50
Eggplant 46.50
Artichoke 41.00
Wheat 36.67

And finally, the most important table: Risk Adjusted Profitability.  This takes into account the risk of spoilage and the time it takes for each crop to harvest.  I’ve found this to be the best table to answer the question of “what should you plant”:

Crop Risk-Adjusted Profit / Day Risk of Complete Default
Peas 226.53 12.97%
Broccoli 217.37 1.68%
Grapes 206.37 12.97%
Sunflowers 201.57 12.97%
Lillies 195.82 12.97%
Asparagus 185.57 25.62%
Cabbage 181.47 1.68%
Sugar Cane 165.80 1.68%
Super Berries 154.22 84.35%
Sweet Seeds 153.58 12.97%
Coffee 153.35 25.62%
Red Wheat 142.52 0.22%
Onions 135.58 36.01%
Yellow Mellon 130.15 0.03%
Green Tea 126.03 42.69%
Carrots 125.98 36.01%
Corn 123.93 0.22%
Peppers 117.11 12.97%
Sugar Cane 115.57 50.61%
Pineapple 115.54 1.68%
Potatoes 114.40 0.22%
Tomatoes 114.27 50.61%
Red Tulips 109.43 12.97%
Pink Roses 107.05 1.68%
Yellow Bell 99.87 1.68%
Ghost Chili 96.00 60.01%
Watermelon 91.44 0.03%
Blackberries 80.30 71.14%
Rice 79.19 36.01%
Blueberries 78.89 71.14%
Cotton 77.22 0.22%
Soybeans 74.87 12.97%
Squash 72.46 1.68%
Pumpkin 68.82 50.61%
Daffodils 68.54 1.68%
Aloe Vera 67.61 60.01%
Eggplant 60.71 1.68%
Artichoke 60.47 0.03%
Strawberries 56.35 71.14%
Wheat 52.43 0.22%
Raspberries 38.19 84.35%

Stay tuned for my next post, my very first on Café World, my new Zynga addiction.  Very different simulation & economics, and should be good for a few interesting analytical posts.

Updates: I’ve now posted follow-on posts about Farmville Economics:

Farmville Economics: Sweet Seeds are Almost Genius…

Zynga launched a great promotion this weekend called “Sweet Seeds”, and I thought it deserved at least a little direct attention.  So yes, this is “yet another Farmville post” (YAFP).

gameBig_farmville

For quick reference, here are the links to my first five Farmville posts:

A brief description from Farmville Village:

Zynga has just launched “Sweet Seeds for Haiti” a special FarmCash crop you can buy with 50% of the proceeds going to charity. These plants are unique in that they never wither and give maximum experience points, with a special gift in your gift box for you, too!

My first reaction to this announcement was “Genius!”   Not to be cynical, but Zynga seemed to have a pattern of rolling out crops with superior economics and rapid turnarounds to help drive huge activity spikes.  (The Super Berries in August, for example, were well timed with a surge over 10M daily active users.)

By rolling out a super-charged crop for charity, they could get the benefit of increased activity and funnel money to a deserving cause.  Win-win.  It seemed like a brilliant approach to match up business & altruistic goals, and set forward a powerful concept of buying virtual goods as a mechanism for charitable fundraising.

In fact, at first, the only thing that surprised me a bit was that only 50% of the money was going to charity.  I suppose there might be some costs associated with payment processing and handling the operational surge of activity.  Typically, however, if you are going for a charity, you tend to absorb those costs to avoid the appearance of profiting from people who are looking to donate to a good cause.

Then I actually looked at the economics for Sweet Potatoes.  And I was left scratching my head.

The stats for Sweet Potatoes are as follows:

  • 3 XP
  • 10 coins to plant
  • 125 coins at harvest

By itself, these statistics would make Sweet Potatoes truly a super crop, except for one detail:

  • 1 day to grow

115 Coins of profit per day puts Sweet Potatoes between Broccoli & Cabbage for daily profit, #16 on the table I published last week.  Really not very super.  Super Berries had huge numbers because they could be harvested every 2 hours.  But a full day?  You’d do better on experience and profit planting almost any of the 8 hour (or faster growing) crops.

3XP (+1XP for plowing) does compare favorably with all daily crops, except for Peas.  Peas offer:

  • 3 XP
  • 176 coins of profit / day

As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no reason you would plant Sweet Potatoes if you already have Peas.  None.  And it certainly wouldn’t be worth $5 (25 FV) to do so.  True, this crop doesn’t whither… but that just makes the activity goal even more unlikely.

All this would be different if the crop took 4 hours to grow instead of a day.  But with the current numbers, planting Sweet Potatoes just doesn’t make any sense.

I’m going to hazard a few guesses as to why Zynga set these numbers here:

  • Theory 1: They didn’t care about people at higher levels.  Of my 50 neighbors, only one is at a level where they can buy Peas. So these numbers would look good to at least 98% of the audience.
  • Theory 2: The target market is sensitive to time.  The 1 day cycle and removal of withering suggests that they were targeting a segment of users that don’t want to spend all day planting & harvesting.
  • Theory 3: The load generated by Farmville has been so high on Zynga given it’s phenomenal success, they decided last minute to extend the growing time to a day, to minimize activity for a period of time.  In a way, the Sweet Potatoes are Bizarro Super Berries, working to diminish activity, instead of encourage it.
  • Theory 4: They didn’t run the numbers on the economics.  (I find this impossible to believe.)

I still believe the concept behind the Sweet Seeds announcement incredibly sharp.  Plenty of time and opportunity for Zynga to tune these type of events going forward.

Almost genius.  Almost.

Update:  Here are additional posts on Farmville Economics, published after this one:

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