Zynga is shutting down 11 games soon as part of a cost-cutting measure, according to TechCrunch. The free-to-play games are either unpopular or are older titles that stopped monetizing well. Still, some of those, like PetVille (pictured above), had millions of fans once upon a time.
Zynga chief Mark Pincus announced 13 closures as part of a cost-reduction plan in November. At that time, Zynga only identified FishVille and Treasure Isle. But now the company has also notified players of shutdowns in other games. Besides PetVille, the list includes the mobile games Mafia Wars Shakedown, ForestVille, Mojitomo, and Word Scramble Challenge. On Facebook, the affected titles include Vampire Wars (shut down on Dec. 5), Montopia (shut on Dec. 21), Mafia Wars 2 (shutting Dec. 30), and Indiana Jones Adventure World, which is closed for new players and will close Jan. 14 for all.
At the PetVille page, players are greeted with this message:
“Thank you for supporting PetVille and for being a loyal player! We’re sorry to inform you that PetVille will be shutting down on Dec. 30, 2012. In place of PetVille, we encourage you to play other Zynga games like Castleville, Chefville, Farmville 2, Mafia Wars and Yoville. We appreciate your participation in PetVille as it helped make the game a fun place to meet and war with friends. As a loyal PetVille player, you are eligible for a one-time, complimentary bonus package in one of either Castleville, or Chefville, or Farmville 2, or Mafia Wars or Yoville. You can start the process by logging into PetVille and clicking on the “Redeem” button. Please note that this offer will be valid only until Dec 30, 2012.”
Zynga is offering the bonus package of free stuff in other games. PetVille had 1 million monthly active users, while Mafia Wars 2 had only 200,000 monthly active users, according to market analyst firm AppData. At the time that Zynga announced closures, the company also said it was cutting 5 percent of its work force. Zynga shares are trading at $2.39 a share, far below the initial public offering price a year ago of $10. A spokeswoman for Zynga confirmed the closings.
[Editor's note: I didn't link to actual TechCrunch story since my antivirus software flagged it for malware.]