Even the biggest juggernauts can spread themselves too thin. Zynga has followed through on their past announcements of game closures, with six games now shut down entirely, four removed from the App Store, and one being put to pasture on January 14th. Grim as it may sound, this is all being done in an attempt to get the company back on track.
First and foremost, we want to express our sympathy for both the developers of the affected games and the people who spent a healthy chunk of time playing them. But, hey, time enjoyed is time well spent! Keep that in mind as you read this list:
- Word Scramble Challenge – Removed from the App Store
- Mojitomo – Removed from the App Store
- ForestVille – Removed from the App Store
- Mafia Wars Shakedown – Removed from the App Store
- FishVille – Closed on December 5th
- Vampire Wars – Closed on December 5th
- Treasure Isle – Closed on December 5th
- Montopia – Closed on December 21st
- Mafia Wars 2 – Closed on December 30th
- PetVille – Closed on December 30th
- Indiana Jones Adventure World – New players no longer allowed, closing on January 14th
Zynga has tried to earn back a little goodwill in this situation by offering players of some of the closed games with virtual goods in other, more popular titles like FarmVille 2, ChefVille, and Mafia Wars. Nice as it is to see them sympathizing with the userbase, I imagine no amount of goods or currency can make up for the hours spent playing a doomed game.
Also, these closures serve as a sad reminder of the ever-changing landscape of social and mobile games. It’s possible to fall in love with a game and pour countless hours and a hefty amount of money into it, only for the game to disappear or close down shortly after.
Despite all this doom and gloom, though, it’s much too early to declare Zynga as dead in the water. They appear ready and willing to make some serious changes, and heaven knows companies have come back from worse. Regardless, it will be interesting to see what becomes of them in the months/years ahead, and what lessons—if any—other developers can learn from their recent woes.