Remember a couple months ago, when EA kept on saying that social gaming was going to keep being viable? When they said that the collapse that a lot of people were calling for was overhyped, and that even with one time golden child Zynga all but hemorrhaging jobs and money that this particular sector of gaming was still going to be going strong.
Yeah, well, about that.
"Today we are informing players of the difficult decision to retire
some of our Facebook games: The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet
Society," EA wrote. "After millions of people initially logged in
to play these games, the number of players and amount of activity has
fallen off. For people who have seen other recent shutdowns of social
games, perhaps this is not surprising."
Their words, not mine.
I think that it's more than a little ironic that EA was one of the people banging the social games drum harder than most, and yet here we are, with three of their probably most well known games in this sector going under. I can't feel good about the jobs that are inevitably going to be lost by this, that is assuming that they haven't been lost already. Still though, you won't find me mourning the loss of any of these games anytime soon either.
The same though, can't be said for people that have spent real money on stuff in game, stuff that now they'll no longer be able to access. Dust in the wind? EA certainly seems to think so, because as far as I can tell there's no real plan to compensate anyone for goods purchased that will no longer be usable to anyone.
Considering that companies, EA included, seem to be thinking that games that are free-to-play but include microtransactions are the future, this entire incident can't help but impel the question: if this can happen, then why buy anything in the first place? This is something that's already threatening to become a problem with full priced games, let alone another market as well. Is it really any wonder why people are so dissatisfied with game companies these days?
Certainly this is an issue to be taken seriously. While I don't think that EA has killed social gaming all by itself, it certainly seems now more than ever to be a declining avenue. And while perhaps EA's place as the "Worst Company in America" is a little overblown considering the more important problems out there, I feel that there's no real issue in calling them easily one of, if not the worst company in gaming. Shame that EA seems to think its shit doesn't stink, but then again, I suppose that when you're so full of it that it's even coming out of your mouth that you must get used to the smell, right?