Hosting three titles, the Playfish brand, which ushered in EA’s attempt to go social, is being shuttered. SimCity and The Sims Social join Pet Society in the June 14th closure. Players are encouraged to spend any in-game funds before that date.
The casual Facebook audience is fickle. EA has learned that, and in some way, so has Nintendo with the Wii U. These people show no loyalty, treating games as a bit of a statement, but move on when something else catches their eye. As stuffy as it can be to label people, this market segment, the same one who has grown the industry, has found their niche elsewhere. Their Wii’s collect dust or end up at garage sales, and their Facebook gaming investment dwindles. That is the reality of investing to drive such a limited time audience to your product.
There is money to be made in the market, but it is short term. Development needs to be focused on rapid turn-around to send costs southward. The mobile market was lucky enough to grab a younger market with the breakout hit Angry Birds. That one title has turned countless children into lifetime gamers, but that flighty, more generalized market, won’t come back until they see something featured on the evening news and treat it as a status symbol.
It’s the same thing that caused poker to explode into the mainstream not too long ago, and swing music’s resurgence in the late ’90s. They see a fad. EA didn’t.