Back when Facebook first launched in the UK, I became addicted to the Flash games that it supported. These were tiny games that you could tag others in, and play against one another, in the sense that you’d brag about how good you were, or how much progress you’d made. I got stuck into a business game about buying and selling stock, racking up millions of fake dollars. Everyone else though, they got stuck into FarmVille.
FarmVille first launched in 2009, and now, eleven years later, it’s being shut down. The developer, Zynga, have posted a blog update discussing the reasons why, and they’re pretty tragic. Adobe is now going to stop distributing and updating the Flash Player for web browsers, which is what FarmVille runs in. To top things off, Facebook is about to stop supporting Flash games, as of December 31st this year in fact. As a result, FarmVille has to shut down.
Now Zynga could spend a lot of time and energy porting the original game over to Steam or somewhere else, but the fact seems to be that there just aren’t enough players to justify it. Add into the matter that there are games like FarmVille 2: Tropic Escape, and FarmVille 3 on mobile, and there’s not a lot of motivation here for the developer to bother maintaining this original release. I do hope that they keep a physical copy of the code somewhere though, just for historical and preservationist purposes.
It’s not all over yet though! Zynga is going to be putting out a number of in-game events so that players have a reason to keep returning up until the game shuts down. It’s a monumental moment really. This is one of the games that made it big on Facebook, and started this developer off on a path to success. Now, Facebook is turning their back on them, though they’re doing a lot of other questionable stuff as well.
This marks the start of that wave of web games, which became popular with so many people who had never even touched games before, coming to a close. In a way it’s a good thing, because the developers can move on to focus on other projects, but it’s also now just something those of us who were around can pull out as an anecdote.