Interview: New "Pot Farm" Facebook Game Promotes Organic Growth

Pot Farm is a Facebook game where you grow special ‘herbs’, and its been catching my eye more and more lately as it virally spreads among my friends’ news feeds, especially among friends from California and Vancouver. Now at nearly 500,000 MAU, the game’s premise, great production value and humor give it a naturally viral appeal, and players are responding and sharing it as much as they can. I had a chance to ask a few questions to the Pot Farm team, and let’s just say their answers are as quirky as their game.

I got in touch with the fellows behind Pot Farm a few weeks ago through a shared acquaintance, and they pointed me to “Uncle Floyd”, their PR person. He kindly answered my questions and introduced the game, and don’t let his somewhat ‘laid back’ manner of speaking fool you: there are some great insights into social games here. “Uncle Floyd” and his team definitely know what people want, and their game is flourishing. Check out the interview below.

ST: Hi, Uncle Floyd.

Uncle Floyd: Hey man, it’s your Uncle Floyd. Me and Dave and a couple of small woodland animals made this really cool game on Facebook or something. It’s called POT FARM and in it you can like farm pots and stuff. If you’re on Facebook or whatever you can totally check it out at Pot Farm for Facebook. I got this twitter thing going for updates and stuff man, and you can also keep an eye on Ranger Dick…. let me know if you see him coming man, he’s totally after my plants…

ST: Tell us about Pot Farm and the inspiration to create the game.

UF: In pot farm you can grow, like plants and things and make your own groovy homestead out in the woods, man. It’s really beautiful. Only thing is you have to look out for RANGER DICK. I don’t know what his problem is, but there’s some plants that totally freak him out. The dude is really uptight and needs to RELAX. Wow.

Back in the 60’s, I went off the grid for a while to grow weed with my groovy friends, Phineas, Franklin, and Fat Freddy. One day I was talking to Dave and he said “We should make a game about that!” We were watching this explosion of like, social media or whatever and Dave was like, “it’s a revolution, man, this is like the sixties!”. There’s all these games and it’s really groovy because it seems like anyone can make them. So we thought if anyone can make them why not a couple of old hippies?

ST: The game leverages the tried-and-true farming mechanic. What separates the game from other farming games?

UF: Well, if you look at other games they just don’t have as much personality, man. Sure, you can grow some groovy plants in our game that you can’t grow in other games, but we think what really sets us apart is the cool art and characters. Our game really has a heart, and we take a lot of pride in it, man.

We also have this protection mechanic that’s different than the usual withering mechanic. In Pot Farm your crops never die, but if you grow certain plants without making sure they’re protected, you might get busted by Ranger Dick! This lets players choose how much risk they want to take on; if they buy enough protection, they never have to worry about that mean old Dick. Groovy, man.

ST: You’re around 500,000 MAU. What has led to the fast growth? Are you buying installs?

UF: We got the game, like, almost working and we thought, “hey, we should invite a few of our friends to try it out and see if they like it. Well, they invited some of their friends and they invited some of their friends and pretty soon there was a LOT of people playing, man, maybe even Kevin Bacon. Hey, do you smell bacon, man?

ST: You introduce the game with a disclaimer about the content in the game. Are you worried about how Facebook will react to this game?

Hey, it’s cool man. Not everyone has to dig pot. Our game is for adults, and we put an age restriction of 21 on it. We think people should be able to make their own decisions and we’re just giving them a choice. We don’t want to shock or upset anyone, man. Pot is really pretty mainstream, and a lot of people who don’t smoke it still think it should be legal and they really think it’s funny to grow it in a game.

We have heard a few complaints. I looked for groups related to Pot Farm on Facebook and I found one with, like 3 members on it and they were demanding that PF be totally removed, man. I checked back a couple of days later and the group had doubled in size to 6! I hope Ranger Dick doesn’t catch wind of that or he’ll probably join it and there would be 7 or something. So far our fans are outnumbering them about 160,000 to 6… Anyway, chill dudes, it’s just a game, man. Y’know?

ST: Are you monetizing the game, and if so, how is the user’s purchasing behavior?

Yeah, we’ve gone through those groovy dudes at Super Rewards and the results are really good. People are going Bat Guano for it. Super Rewards gave us some great feedback about how to balance our economy and build a game that people will pay for at the same time as making sure all of our brothers and sisters get to play as well you know, even if they are like totally broke, man. Being broke sucks. My cousin Phoenix was so broke this one time, oh wait. Sorry. What? Oh yeah, Super Rewards. I want to give those guys a shout out cause they made a big difference in sending us in the right directions with their suggestions. It’s blowing our minds that you can actually earn some bread with free games on Facebook!

We’ve had fantastic support from our fans, too. People understand that we’re a real small team and that we’re really passionate about Pot Farm. They want to support the game and see it grow. If we can keep this thing going who knows where we’ll take it! Every dollar right now goes towards getting some servers ramped up. I swear we have not spent ANY on anything else.

ST: Are you ready on the technical side if this game blows up due to its interesting name and subject matter?

Oh man, we’ve totally got it covered. Dave has this friend , and he seems to really know his stuff. Computers are AMAAAAzing, man… hey, have you seen Dave, man? He’s totally supposed to be here by now with our stash, oops, I mean servers.