Troubled Facebook game/vacuous money-trap maker Zynga is rushing to cut costs in the wake of its fast falling share price. TechCrunch are reporting that 11 titles are being shut down, including PetVille, Mafia Wars 2, and Vampire Wars, among others. FarmVille remains safe. I know you were worried.
While any bad news for Zynga is sure to be received with no small amount of schadenfreude, spare a thought for those genuinely affected. The PetVille Facebook post announcing its closure has been flooded with an outpouring of despair from players. As one user wrote, "My pet is named after my real pet, and has the best mansion! PLEASE DON"T DO THIS!!!!" See, you weren't thinking about the pet's mansion were you? You monster.
In seriousness, it's easy to dismiss Zynga's actions, but core gaming publishers aren't averse to shutting down servers as games stop being profitable. The difference here is PetVille and its like are supported by microtransactions, and some users will have inevitably spent significant amounts of money in the game. As publishers increasingly experiment with free-to-play options, this is a problem that could increasingly rear its head.
While the closures were due to occur on the 30th December, some PetVille players are reporting they can still access the game. A delay on Zynga's part, or have the pets and their mansions been given a reprieve?