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I knew it was coming, but I didn't want to believe it was true. As part of the great Zynga Facebook game purge of 2012, which has already claimed Treasure Isle, Fishville and Mafia Wars 2, my little friend here will be terminated come December 30.
His name is Back, named after my long-standing, often dancing Second Life avatar. He owns a modest house in PetVille, where his friends would come and clean him, or feed him cupcakes. He enjoys dressing up in Star Wars costumes, telling jokes to friends and redecorating his kitchen.
Come December 30 it'll be as if he never existed.
The dreaded game closing message arrived late last week, while I was busy being distracted by Gawker headquarters in New York.
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.
They aren't the same! None of those is a clone of Pet Society, the game I was playing before Zynga took all my friends away. None of them lets me dress a cat thing in costumes!
Okay, so I haven't logged into PetVille in over a year, and he was pretty much dead to me anyway. That's hardly the point.
Oh, I guess it is.
Rest in peace, little cat thing. May you find low prices on pink kitchenware in virtual heaven.
The Zynga social game cullings that began with FishVille and Adventure Isle continues this month, as the troubled social gaming giant kills one of the most disappointing sequels of all time.
No one wanted Mafia Wars 2, an action-packed 3D sequel to a wildly-popular and mostly text-based social game. This was because the fans of the original Mafia Wars really enjoyed their little clicking game, and didn't give a damn about town-building or shooting other players in real-time. As of today the game only boasts 280,000 monthly users.
That number will drop significantly on December 30, when Mafia Wars closes up shop. Zynga broke the news in an announcement on the game's app page (via Games.com).
Dear Mafia Wars 2 player,
Thank you very much for supporting Mafia Wars 2 and for being a loyal player! We're sorry to inform you that Mafia Wars 2 on Facebook will be shutting down on December 30, 2012.
Zynga is committed to helping Mafia Wars 2 players find a new place to play. As a thank you for your participation, we would like to offer you a one-time, complimentary bonus package in one of either CastleVille, ChefVille, FarmVille 2, Mafia Wars, or YoVille. You can start the process by clicking the Redeem button in game. Please note that this offer will be valid only until December 30, 2012.
Thank you for your time in Mafia Wars 2. We look forward to seeing you again in other Zynga games.
The Mafia Wars 2 Team
Sorry, Mafia Wars 2 players. At least you didn't wake up next to a severed horse head.
Before Apple had Game Center it had OpenFeint, a gaming network that brought a cohesive online experience to countless iPhone, iPad and eventually Android games. Some of us may have opted to miss out on its fun features, but for many game developers it was a priceless tool. Come December 14, OpenFeint will be no more.
In early 2011, Asian social gaming giant GREE purchased OpenFeint for $104 million, acquiring its massive userbase but not doing much of anything with the platform itself. GREE has its own platform, and I assumed that eventually OpenFeint would be integrated into it. Just not quite so abruptly.
The closure, documented at GREE's OpenFeint developer page, gives developers of apps utilizing the service less than a month to either remove OpenFeint from their apps or migrate to the GREE platform. Once the service shuts down, according to the announcement, "OpenFeint network calls will be nonfunctional which may result in service disruptions to your game and a poor player experience".
Migration to the GREE platform is an option, but it's noted that a low-level integration can be completed in about a week — games that relied more heavily on OpenFeint could take much longer to move over.
So yeah, Happy Holidays, OpenFeint developers. I'll set aside some turkey for you next week as you are desperately scrambling to retool your games.