On Sept. 1, 2010, Big Fish Games’ free-to-play online game portal BigSeaGames.com will shut down as the company shifts its focus to other areas of the gaming business.
A Big Fish Games spokesperson told Gamezebo: “As a rapidly growing, profitable company, we are constantly testing our vast catalog of IP across different models and platforms.Big Sea Games Beta is but one example of this.We know how amazingly fun these games are so stay tuned — we will bring many of them back in ways everyone is sure to love!”
Big Fish Games launched Big Sea Games in the summer of 2009. The online portal offered free-to-play Flash games including Fairway Solitaire, Unwell Mel, and Big Fish Slots with no ads. Since then, however, the focus of the casual gaming industry has shifted towards Facebook games and apps for mobile platforms like the iPhone and iPad.
“I think the death knell for Big Sea Games was when Big Fish realized they could port the games we’d been beta testing on Big Sea to their Treasure Quest application on Facebook and potentially generate revenue from there moving forward,” said Lura Ellington, who runs the Big Sea Games fan site BigSeaFans.com.
Treasure Quest, which currently sits at about 103,000 monthly active users, features many of the same games are on Big Sea Games as well as some new ones, including the hidden object game Daily Detective which offers a new puzzle to solve each day. Players receive daily challenges through which they earn experience points for leveling up and coins to purchase in-game bonus items and accessories for their avatar.
Ellington said she wouldn’t be surprised if Big Fish Games ended up porting all of the Big Sea Games onto Treasure Quest on Facebook. However, while a lot of fans are looking forward to being able to play their Big Sea Games favorites on Treasure Quest after BigSeaGames.com shuts down, not all of Ellington’s readers are happy about it. Some won’t join Facebook over privacy concerns. Many want a game site where they can chat with friends, which isn’t something Treasure Quest currently allows. Others are looking for other online social and casual game sites to explore.
Ellington said she plans to keep BigSeaFans.com up as a historical repository of Big Sea Games information while transitioning it into a Treasure Quest fan site. “After all,” she said, “many of the games from Big Sea are now available on Treasure Quest and we’ve already done all of the hard work of collecting game information, hints, and tips for those very same games.” She has also set up a forum so that former Big Sea Games players can keep in touch “even as we find new game sites where we can play and feel at home.”