When Electronic Arts purchased Playfish in late 2009 for $400 million, the social game startup was riding high with millions of monthly active users across Facebook games like Restaurant City, Pet Society, and Country Story. Just three and a half years later, the company is all but nonexistent, as its final original game, Pet Society, will be shut down on June 14.
Facebook game closures are nothing new, but typically, developers release new games as they shutter underperforming titles. With Playfish, and in fact most of EA’s social division, it seems as though the Facebook platform is being abandoned entirely (The Sims Social and SimCity Social are also being closed this month, as we reported earlier). What does this mean for Playfish’s future?
Obviously, the brand is in jeopardy, and EA’s help site doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Players with remaining balances on Playfish Cash Cards are encouraged to either spend their money or contact EA’s customer support team regarding that currency, with no alternatives being presented in terms of new games within which to shop.
Playfish’s website hasn’t been updated in months, game pages have fallen entirely silent, and all of EA’s hope for social success now seems to rest in the hands of PopCap, whose Plants vs Zombies Adventures has taken off to early success with over 2 million monthly active players, according to AppData.
Exactly what happens to Playfish’s remaining employees when games like Pet Society, or even the EA Tiburon developed Madden Social close is yet to be determined.