Q:

Why did Electronic Arts close its Playfish games division in 2013?

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Quick Answer

Electronic Arts shut down its Playfish online Facebook games in 2014 due to significantly decreased player volume compared to initial and expected numbers, reports CNBC. While some Playfish games once had millions of players, player numbers dropped well below 1 million before EA shut the games down.

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Full Answer

Electronic Arts bought Playfish in 2009 for $300 million during the height of Facebook-game speculation, fueled by the success of companies such as Zynga. Other major corporations also made a number of high-priced acquisitions of social-gaming companies during this period, including Disney's $563 million purchase of Playdom and EA's own purchase of PopCap Games for $750 million.

Some commentators consider these purchases to be signs of a social-gaming bubble around that time. A large portion of social gaming migrated to cellphones from Facebook in the years following 2009. While one Playfish game, Sims Social, once had 10 million active users, only 500,000 were playing by the time it was shut down. Additionally, commentators considered the launch of SimCity for Facebook in 2012 to be largely unsuccessful, despite high expectations and a history of successful SimCity games.

EA retains a presence in Facebook gaming through its ownership of PopCap games, which is responsible for popular games such as Bejewelled and Peggle. PopCap also ports many of its games to cellphone platforms.

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