"Say, that FarmVille certainly is popular," executives the industry over observed, "Let's make one of those too." And so innumerable copies of Zynga's social games (which, while perhaps not original, refined and re-marketed what came before) flooded Facebook and pocket telephones. Then they didn't do so well and many were shut down. And that's just what EA will do to SimCity Social, The Sims Social, and Pet Society in June.
"After millions of people initially logged in to play these games, the number of players and amount of activity has fallen off," Maxis said in today's announcement. "For people who have seen other recent shutdowns of social games, perhaps this is not surprising."
The Facebook games will shut down on June 14. Any virtual cash players have bought with real cash will then vanish into thin air with no refund, so make these final two months extra-special by blowing it all on extravagant virtual parks, sofas and collars, or whatever it is you buy.
All three were developed by Playfish, the social studio EA acquired in 2009. SimCity Social has been online less than a year; it launched in June 2012. The Sims Social is slightly older, coming out in August 2011, while Pet Society is a veteran of the social scene, predating EA's buyout, having been live since 2008.
EA announced layoffs last week as part of "streamlining [its] operations." It seems inevitable that games would be pruned as well as studios.