Ponzi, Inc, a tycoon game that pokes fun at corporate life, has been downsized. Though social games on Facebook continue to be the fastest growing segment of the casual games market, we anticipate many more game closings this year (hence, the Deadpool).
Why? There are two reasons your favorite Facebook games could close shop this year. One is simple market economics. It used to be relatively easy to create a social game, spread it for free on Facebook, and generate millions of dollars in micro-transaction revenues. Fast forward to now and everyone and their mother has created a Facebook game meaning there more games than people to play and pay. Moreover, Facebook’s changes to notifications means there is no more free lunch (you have to pay for marketing) and Credits means you have to pay a fee to sell items online, squeezing your margins further.
The average social game developer will spend money to release a game and then find out there is no money left for marketing to get users to actually play it so it can be monetized.
The second reason is consolidation. Big players with the cash in hand (Zynga, Playdom, EA) can “bottom feed,” purchasing talented but smaller companies (who in many cases would be out of business in a year if they were not bought) with their over-valued stock.
The flipside is, the acquired companies become minions and their games either get launched with fanfare (as I suspect the case will be for Playdom’s new Purina Pet Resort) or cancelled.
Which brings us back to Ponzi. Challenge Games, the creator of Ponzi, Inc., was acquired by Zynga and they have made the decision to shutter the game down to focus on new projects (e.g., games that make more money).
According to Frisky Mongoose, Ponzi players need not cry for me Argentina. All your credit for purchased items in the past two months will transfer over to FrontierVille. This is all good, unless of course, you are Ponzi addict who happens not to like FrontierVille. This could be the case with some players, to the degree that a pioneer-themed game may not appeal to fans of a corporate themed game. It’s kind of like saying, “you bought a concert ticket for Metallica and they have just disbanded, but here’s a ticket to Alicia Keys instead.” You may be a Metallica fan that happens to like Alicia Keys (guilty as charged), but wouldn’t you prefer to cash instead? Or, in this case, couldn’t Zynga just give you credit for any Zynga game of your choosing?