EA shutting down three of its Facebook-based games

Electronic Arts is closing three of its Facebook games made by its Playfish development studio, including one which at one point had 10 million daily active users. EA said today that The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet Society will shut down on June 14th.

In today's blog post, EA stated the reason for the decision:

After millions of people initially logged in to play these games, the number of players and amount of activity has fallen off. For people who have seen other recent shutdowns of social games, perhaps this is not surprising.

Gamasutra stated that The Sims Social had as many as 10 million users in 2011 but that number has gone down to just 500,000 users today. Pet Society has about that many players and SimCity Social now has between 100,000 and 500,000 players.

All three games were developed by Playfish, which EA acquired for $300 million in 2009. At the time, Playfish had its headquarters in London, with offices in San Francisco, Beijing and Tromso, Norway. EA currently has no comment on the status of Playfish and its studios, according to Joystiq.

The shutdowns of these once popular titles shows that Facebook-based gaming has lost much of its popularity in the last couple of years. It's looking like these kinds of games are more of a one-time fad rather than the start of a new gaming platform.

Source: EA | Image via EA

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I stopped playing Cityville because it was looking too much like work, except that I was paying for this work. If I was to play a game, I want to have FUN!

The worse part i that they were interesting at launch but Money came and all the quests got harder to achieve if you didn't pay for simcash or Diamonds. That's why I stopped playing those games.

Exactly. I'm a SCS (SimCitySocial) player that got so far, but the upgrade grind in all too many social games is as bad as the MMORPG grind - it is NOT unique to EA's titles, as the problem has killed several other titles from other companies/developers (Kabam's Thirst of Night - which was a game I was heavily into, got bit by the problem - however, Kingdoms of Camelot is still running). I'm expecting a similar issue to bite Evony (while not directly a Facebook social game, it IS a social game) and other titles - even those without a connection to Facebook.

I think that instead of seeing this as a "Facebook games are dying" story, it should be seen as "every Facebook game has a short lifespan. How long each game lives depends on how frequently new features are added, and previous players are informed of these changes."

Facebook games to me feel like something you'd play once every few days, for a few minutes at a time. Basically flash games with a story line you can come back to.

For example, I used to play CityVille and The Sims Social quite a lot back when I was interested in it. CityVille I played for at least an hour every day, but the longer I played the more boring it got. Repeatedly having to bug my friends to send me the things I needed just to make a tiny bit more space for more buildings got extremely annoying after a while, and I just gave up.

A similar situation for The Sims Social. Too much having to bug friends to send me stuff, and the whole energy thing is the most annoying system anyone could use.