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Zynga shut down 11 games, close Japanese studio

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.

Last year, Zynga laid off over a hundred employees, and today Gamasutra bring news that the social giant is closing its Zynga Japan studio.

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?

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.