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EA Ending Three Social Games

Calling the move part of a "sweeping company-wide restructuring" by Electronic Arts, Develop reports EA is planning to close The Sims Social, SimCity Social, and Pet Society, three social games provided through Facebook, saying the games will go offline on June 14th due to declining player activity. They are not offering refunds on the Playfish cash spacebux used in the titles, saying existing currency should be spent in the games between now and the closure, though it sounds like its all going up in smoke either way. They say each game has over one million monthly average users, with The Sims Social boasting 5 million MUAs, which prompts questions about how many users such games needed to be viable.

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34. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 19, 2013, 09:18 Verno
 
Hijacking this topic because EA social games are boring anyway. A friend of mine was showing me how utterly busted the simulation side of SimCity was. I thought I knew but in reality I only had a tiny impression of just how fucked that game is.

He was able to build a 100% residential city somehow and it was functional in the most bizarre way. How does EA address it? They could have fixed the underlying problems but no, instead they literally put in a few lines of code to detect when someone was doing this build and it just causes your city to go shit. I think that more than anything else speaks to how EA approaches games in general - short term, minimum cost affairs that they can put the bare minimum into.

But hey at least they got the toothpaste "DLC" shipped. Yeah sorry your DLC is no longer DLC when its a fucking advertisement.
 
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33. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 16, 2013, 06:59 Julio
 
Creston wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 23:24:
One million players obviously isn't enough for EA. Best get back into Sim City and play the shit ouf of it, people, because its plug is on the short leash.

There's probably still 9 months or so left to play SimCity, given the annual shutdown strategy. SimCity 2014 coming soon!
 
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32. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 16, 2013, 06:43 Victor Grunn
 
OldTimber wrote on Apr 16, 2013, 02:44:
They just want to get a good headstart going for next years Worst Company award. Lets go for 3 in a row! EA Hell Yeah!

Pretty much the exact conclusion I came to.

I can understand if these titles are just not performing well for them and they need to cut their losses. A business is a business. But goddamn, it really seems as if they either don't care about their customers or actually kind of loathe them.
 
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31. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 16, 2013, 02:44 OldTimber
 
They just want to get a good headstart going for next years Worst Company award. Lets go for 3 in a row! EA Hell Yeah!  
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30. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 16, 2013, 01:27 deqer
 
Creston wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 23:24:
One million players obviously isn't enough for EA. Best get back into Sim City and play the shit ouf of it, people, because its plug is on the short leash.

Yup. I was thinking the same thing.

I feel sorry for the victims of this system; the people that purchased the new Sim City game. They were lured in by a misleading title on the game cover of "SimCity" instead of "SimCity Online"

I wasn't fooled though. Nope. EA won't fool me.

Sad thing is, people realize "wtf is this?" once they start installing it, and it forces them to go through Origin, and forces them to be connected online at all times, and then they try to return the game and EA says "nope. you should've read the 'fine print'"

EA is such shit. Spread the word. Tell your friends.

Friends don't let friends play games by EA.
 
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29. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 23:24 Creston
 
One million players obviously isn't enough for EA. Best get back into Sim City and play the shit ouf of it, people, because its plug is on the short leash.

Creston
 
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28. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 21:06 The_Pink_Tiger
 
Remember, there's more than one reason to stop supporting a game.

It could be financial. If EA isn't making enough money to pay for server or employee costs - and for a free "social" game that's quite possible - then it makes sense to close it.

But it could be an attempt at planned obsolescence. People playing an old game aren't playing the new ones - and the new ones may be where the money is, either because it's not free or they have a better deal on how much money they get from in-game purchases.

It could be legal. Their games might be doing things that violates - or will violate - Facebook policy, current or future and they are closing it before the hammer comes down. Possibly there are licensing issues, patents used in the game that EA only had the rights to for a limited time.

It could be a "not-invented-here" move by the new CEO. After all, if the social games were sponsored by Riccitiello that's all well and good for him, but none of the credit for the move will fall on Probst. It's not uncommon for successful programs to get axed after a reorganization for such petty reasons in other business so I wouldn't be surprised if its happening in EA.

Or perhaps, EA might have new products they are interested in developing that are interesting but that they don't have enough faith in to hire an entirely new team. So instead, they might be cannibalizing other projects to find the resources to create the new product.

Those are just a few ideas that pop into my head. I'm sure others can think up some more. The point of it all is that it's not always as simple as "it ain't earning its keep".

Although actually, I guess the /real/ point of it all is that if you are the sort to become really invested in a game, you'd better get it from a company that doesn't tie you to the mothership so that they can't take it away from you if they find a some reason - be it based on the needs marketing, legal, office politics or redistribution of corporate resources - at any time. And increasingly, that company is not EA.

 
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27. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 18:10 TurdFergasun
 
gotta love a business model that completely fails once it lives up to it's name. lol business  
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26. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 16:16 Xero
 
And EA's CEO has the nerve to question why his company is rated the worst company of the year???????????? Whose he kidding??  
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25. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 15:46 wtf_man
 
ASeven wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 12:35:
Thank goodness the indies have risen.

Amen!
 
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24. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 13:32 Funkinator
 
Ars Technica article:

"Despite these declines, it's a bit surprising to learn that EA doesn't consider it worthwhile to continue operating servers for games that still have millions of players. The decision is easier to understand, though, when you consider that only one to three percent of social game players actually spend any money on those titles. When 97 percent (or more) of your players are free-to-play moochers, you need an extremely large player base (along with a few "whales") to keep the revenue machine rolling, which explains why social games are so eager for you to spam your friends."
 
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23. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 13:20 Tanto Edge
 
......................//)
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........../'/.../..../......./\
........('(.......... ~/'...')
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..........''...\.......... _.
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Goooooood riddance.
 
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22. Re: More Big Picture Details Apr 15, 2013, 13:06 SpectralMeat
 
Yep fb games are the future of PC gaming EA. Hopefully lesson learned.  
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21. Re: More Big Picture Details Apr 15, 2013, 13:04 BitWraith
 
For a FTP game, I'd imagine you're lucky if 5% spent any cash at all on your game. That would be 250K people out of five million. Not enough people at a buck a pop.  
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20. Re: More Big Picture Details Apr 15, 2013, 12:49 Cutter
 
Optional Nickname! wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 11:18:
HorrorScope wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 10:30:
There is no way to predict fashion gamers, other than don't bet on them when making games.


Fashion Gamers, such an innovative term. Accurately describing that migration of attention in unsophisticated leisurists. It needs to be used more widely than casual gamers.

Rough trade said it back in 1980. We're all victims of fashion...and accessories.
 
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19. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 12:35 ASeven
 
News come that more layoffs hit EA's division in Ireland. Coupled with the recent layoffs, now this, and it's obvious EA is desperately trying to cut costs to achieve financial equilibrium again. However as long as they, and all other publishers, keep adopting the current unethical publishing business model costs will not come down, especially with the tens and sometimes hundreds of millions spent on marketing, on VA, on stuff that in no way improves a game's gameplay.

THQ was the first, Codemasters ceased to be a publisher, Square-Enix is hanging on by a thread, EA now is raising a ton of red flags. Even Beamer is now agreeing with everything I said about the publisher's crash even if he will never admit it. Gentlemen, I believe the publisher crash has started, now let's sit back and enjoy as publishers once again implode, again without anyone to blame but themselves.

Thank goodness the indies have risen.
 
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18. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 11:57 Endo
 
Hellbinder wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 11:27:
ViRGE wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 10:29:
wtf_man wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 10:17:
Well... if they are only being paid per ad hit... like YouTube pays a couple bucks per 1000 video hits... then probably there needs to be huge activity before the game can generate a profit. So once activity drops below a certain threshold, it probably starts losing money as EA has to pay whomever maintains the code, etc.

I don't know how the model works, nor how Facebook pays for the games.
The above was just a guess on my part.
...not that I really care about Facebook, social games, nor EA.
It's a correct guess. These games are supported through ads and whales (the dumb people that spend hundreds of dollars). Even with the two the average per-user take is very low due to the fact that ads pay poorly and whales are a tiny percentage. So if your user count drops below enormous levels, you can quickly reach a point where minimal dev costs and service costs outstrip your income. This is especially bad if you disproportionally lose your whales, leaving behind a bunch of people essentially playing for free.

I don't buy it.

At 5 million users.. even if they only all spent 1 dollar a month each on in game stuff... if your game cant survive on 5 million dollars a month then there are some kind of serious idiots running the show. I dev group of 10 should be able to maintain a game like that and add new content regularly.

I am just disgusted at most of the people running the game industry now.
I believe it. Remember, we're talking about EA here. All they care about is money. If these games really were making that much money, there's no way they'd kill them off. No, I think it's much more accurate to assume that they probably pissed off most of the people who were spending money and those people quit playing, leaving mostly freeloaders.
 
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17. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 11:27 Hellbinder
 
ViRGE wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 10:29:
wtf_man wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 10:17:
Well... if they are only being paid per ad hit... like YouTube pays a couple bucks per 1000 video hits... then probably there needs to be huge activity before the game can generate a profit. So once activity drops below a certain threshold, it probably starts losing money as EA has to pay whomever maintains the code, etc.

I don't know how the model works, nor how Facebook pays for the games.
The above was just a guess on my part.
...not that I really care about Facebook, social games, nor EA.
It's a correct guess. These games are supported through ads and whales (the dumb people that spend hundreds of dollars). Even with the two the average per-user take is very low due to the fact that ads pay poorly and whales are a tiny percentage. So if your user count drops below enormous levels, you can quickly reach a point where minimal dev costs and service costs outstrip your income. This is especially bad if you disproportionally lose your whales, leaving behind a bunch of people essentially playing for free.

I don't buy it.

At 5 million users.. even if they only all spent 1 dollar a month each on in game stuff... if your game cant survive on 5 million dollars a month then there are some kind of serious idiots running the show. I dev group of 10 should be able to maintain a game like that and add new content regularly.

I am just disgusted at most of the people running the game industry now.
 
The Whales name is Bob.
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16. Re: More Big Picture Details Apr 15, 2013, 11:18 Optional Nickname!
 
HorrorScope wrote on Apr 15, 2013, 10:30:
There is no way to predict fashion gamers, other than don't bet on them when making games.


Fashion Gamers, such an innovative term. Accurately describing that migration of attention in unsophisticated leisurists. It needs to be used more widely than casual gamers.


 
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15. Re: EA Ending Three Social Games Apr 15, 2013, 11:18 Grubworm
 
EA is such a awful company. Never buy from them.  
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34 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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