Zynga Kills PetVille, Mafia Wars 2 and More

Zynga Kills PetVille, Mafia Wars 2 and More

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60,000 active users can't stop Zynga from putting PetVille down.

Not too long ago, it felt like Zynga was on the verge of taking over the world. FarmVille was inescapable even outside the confines of Facebook. Parents looked at their children with a hungry gaze, like they were calculating how much Farmcash they could get for a fresh kidney. It was terrible.

But now, just one year after Zynga's initial public offering, the dream is over. The company's shares have done their best impression of a submarine, dropping to $2.36 from an initial $10 asking price. Last year, the company had to lay off 100 employees, and a number of high-profile managers bailed in spectacular fashion. It quickly became clear that the company would have to go through some severe belt-tightening to stave off financial destruction. Last October, Zynga announced it would be "sunsetting" 13 of its older and less successful games. The surprising part is which games were chosen and how quickly they were taken down.

Yesterday, players who tried to log into PetVille were met with a message informing them that the game is finished, and they should move on to one of the other ville titles. As recompense for murdering its user's virtual pets, Zynga is offering a one-time complimentary bonus package for one of a handful of other social games.

PetVille was shut down despite some 7.5 million likes on Facebook and a reported 60,000 daily active users. Server costs aren't the issue, Zynga simply doesn't have the manpower to keep the title running. Mafia Wars 2, FishVille, Vampire Wars, Treasure Isle, Mafia Wars Shakedown, ForestVille, Montopia, Mojitomo and World Scramble Challenge have all either suffered the same fate or are about to. Montopia's shutdown was announced just three months after its launch. Oddly enough, the original Mafia Wars is being kept on in place of its sequel thanks to its larger player base.

Facing increased competition in the Facebook market and shrinking public interest in "hands off" games like FarmVille, Zynga is looking to mobile markets and real-cash gambling to keep itself afloat.

Source: Hardcoregaming

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So I see they're adopting the P.E.T.A business model.
At least Mafia Wars was able get out of paying it's pound of flesh

So perhaps Zynga was rightly Ville-fied by gamers?

Yes, I know it was terrible, but at least I tried!

Oh, the horror. See how sad I am? I am sad.

[/sarcasm]

Honestly, I don't even care anymore.

This is less of a submarine impression and more of bomb dropped by a B-52 impression now

for a company whos business model is to create many identical games and profit from microtrnasactions when there are millions playing, a 60.000 long time users is equal to no users.

Humorously enough, my aunt is a huge PetVille player, she was talking about it a few days ago...she will be crushed...

As for Mafia Wars 2...that died a shameful death...

Is it me or does Zynga feel like the new pets.com right now?

"PetVille here PetVille. I just want to talk to you with mister shotgun."

kajinking:
This is less of a submarine impression and more of bomb dropped by a B-52 impression now

stated out high. followed by a gradual to exponential acceleration towards elevation zero. sounds about right.

Party time right? Hopefully they will make real games now.

Now how will I find out if Tobuscus was right about Petville?

I called it 3 years ago. I knew that Zynga games with no content couldn't hold people interests for long.

Good riddance, always hated Zynga for some odd reason.
I even hate the're dog logo...

It's that bad!

While I'm glad to see the Facebook game fad disappearing, I worry over what will come next. Will it be the resurgence of companies that make actual gamer games?

Probably not. :(

Evil Smurf:
Party time right? Hopefully they will make real games now.

A real company? Making real games for real people?

You must be joking.

It's going to be weird, looking back in twenty years, at this whole "social gaming" fad. Such a brief period in human history, yet for awhile it seemed like it would be the end result of gaming development.

Good to see even the mindless masses are getting tired of that crap.

Aside from a general urge to kick Zynga while they are down, it's a damn shame companies would rather kill the game + data rather than release it to the public. Like City of Heroes. Why murder it instead of setting it free? That's just hateful.

Nicolaus99:
Aside from a general urge to kick Zynga while they are down, it's a damn shame companies would rather kill the game + data rather than release it to the public. Like City of Heroes. Why murder it instead of setting it free? That's just hateful.

Competition with themselves. Why would people pay for your "Petville Resurrection" later down the line when they can already play the original Petville you released for free?

gardian06:
"PetVille here PetVille. I just want to talk to you with mister shotgun."

kajinking:
This is less of a submarine impression and more of bomb dropped by a B-52 impression now

stated out high. followed by a gradual to exponential acceleration towards elevation zero. sounds about right.

Honestly I was thinking more about the destructive explosion once it finally hits the ground

Zynga is still open? *shrugs*

I'd kinda forgotten they existed

I actually think they're doing a great impression of a dam-buster bomb. Big spin up, lots of motion, then a huge drop to where it is currently skimming across the surface of the water, where any tiny bit of rock or a boat could stop it reaching it's target and blow it to little bits. My moneys on the fishing trawler.

calculating how much Farmcash they could get for a fresh kidney

Grey, did I ever mention how much I freakin love you?

Business is business, but I'm surprised that 60,000 active users isn't enough to keep it running. It it really that high-maintenance?

Though I think the Techcrunch put their finger on the worst part of it.

If you'd spent years tending your virtual aquarium only to have it disappear, you can imagine how disappointed or angry you'd be. Comments from gamers on the shutdown notices included things like "my daughter is heartbroken" and "Please don't remove petville. I been playing for 4 yrs. and I'M going to miss my pet Jaime....why do you want cause depression for me and others. Why do you want to kill my pet?"

I feel sorry for those people. Not their fault they attached emotional weight to something without understanding the transience and capriciousness of Internet business bubbles.

Good riddance.
Zynga was a blight who operated a very illegitimate business, and churned out nothing but inexplicably popular grinders.

BrainWalker:

Nicolaus99:
Aside from a general urge to kick Zynga while they are down, it's a damn shame companies would rather kill the game + data rather than release it to the public. Like City of Heroes. Why murder it instead of setting it free? That's just hateful.

Competition with themselves. Why would people pay for your "Petville Resurrection" later down the line when they can already play the original Petville you released for free?

But it feels like a logic failure. If they are killing it because of low population/income, why care? It has been judged a losing investment. If they desire to retain that population, why kill the game at all; those people are still paying customers.

Unless that population is non-profitable, it's destroying your customers investment simply because you can. To piss on your customers like this and expect them to sign up for your newer title? It defies belief.

Nicolaus99:

But it feels like a logic failure. If they are killing it because of low population/income, why care? It has been judged a losing investment. If they desire to retain that population, why kill the game at all; those people are still paying customers.

Unless that population is non-profitable, it's destroying your customers investment simply because you can. To piss on your customers like this and expect them to sign up for your newer title? It defies belief.

Well I don't think Zynga has ever had a problem pissing on its customers, or expecting them to come back afterwards. The data has shown that they will. But anyway, they were put in kind of a hard spot. They've lost money and had to lay off a bunch of employees, so they couldn't afford to maintain all their games, even some that were still moderately profitable like Petville. From the wording of the article it sounds like they made the decision to cut their losses and run pretty quickly. Killing is easy; saving takes a moderate amount of time and effort and a level of human interest and altruism that I don't expect Zynga to have. It must be impossible to try to convince the suits that letting people have the thing your company made for free is a good idea.

/snip

BrainWalker:
Well I don't think Zynga has ever had a problem pissing on its customers, or expecting them to come back afterwards. The data has shown that they will. But anyway, they were put in kind of a hard spot. They've lost money and had to lay off a bunch of employees, so they couldn't afford to maintain all their games, even some that were still moderately profitable like Petville. From the wording of the article it sounds like they made the decision to cut their losses and run pretty quickly. Killing is easy; saving takes a moderate amount of time and effort and a level of human interest and altruism that I don't expect Zynga to have. It must be impossible to try to convince the suits that letting people have the thing your company made for free is a good idea.

Effort, human interest and altruism. Or the lack thereof. That about sums it up I suppose. How bloody depressing.

Zynga, F_cks given = 0. Guess it would be silly to expect otherwise from them or any other big name in the industry for that matter.

Remember Motor City Online? A great racing game adored by a lot of gamers who paid for a subscription to play it, and EA just pulled the servers one day.

Can anyone explain the "Zynga simply doesn't have the manpower to keep the title running" part? It makes no sense to me. They've got an already-completed game. Sure, maybe they can't add new features or provide support for new operating systems and whatnot, but I fail to see why an already-functioning game needs manpower to keep it running. Why can't they just let it run and, you know, collect all the monies that roll in?

Fishville? Tell me Zynga, can you ramp jet skis of sharks and skin them underwater in Fishville? Can you kill whores in Mafia Wars 2 or can you even do this:

in Farmville? No? Well then, there's your problem...

 

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