If you (or your loved ones) are currently playing Electronics Arts/Maxis games on Facebook, make the most of any cash you’ve spent on it. Come June 14th that money will be worthless.
In a move that’s hardly going to dampen down claims that it is the “worst company in the country”, EA has decided to switch off three of its games that are currently housed on Facebook: The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet Society.
Those games produced by other EA subsidiaries such as PopCap (maker of Bejeweled Blitz) will remain active. Players of the three games that are shutting down will get an introductory offer to the remaining games.
EA is quite open about the fact that although the three Maxis games attracted large audiences at launch, “the number of players and amount of activity has fallen off.” It says it needs to close the games to make better use of its resources, particularly server space.
The shutdown will be on June 14th and it doesn’t seem there’ll be any gently phasing out: the games will simply disappear. That will also mean the instant disappearance of any balances in SimCash, Pet Society Cash and Sim City Diamonds, the in-game currencies that players can acquire using real world cash.
EA has confirmed that any in-game currency will become invalid when the game closes, with no opportunity to turn it back into real money. It says players are “encouraged” to spend the game currency on in-app purchases before then.
There might be better news for people who’ve bought a Playfish card, which allows you to buy a card in a retail store and then redeem it for in-game currencies. At this stage EA is simply saying anyone who still has a card after June 14 must contact customer service, suggesting refunds might be in order for unredeemed cards.
The response to the closure on the respective official game forums is understandably hostile. If nothing else it shows that although social gaming may attract players outside of the traditional “male teen and 20s” demographic, abusive comments and foul language certainly aren’t restricted to that group.