A few years ago, declining a FarmVille request on Facebook or not knowing of Restaurant Story was akin to committing social harakiri. That no longer seems to be the case. Figures from metrics tracking firm SuperData, which were out recently, reveal that social gaming is on the decline. Their data shows that the total number of monthly active social gamers have dropped below 200 million for the first time in over a year, down by 10 million users in March in comparison to February. It even noted that revenues from social gaming had fallen.
Almost on cue, Electronic Arts (EA) announced that it would shut down three of its own social games, The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet Society, on Facebook, from June 14. Their statement read: “After millions of people initially logged in to play these games, the number of players and amount of activity has fallen off. For people who have seen other recent shutdowns of social games, perhaps this is not surprising. We had to make the difficult decision to close down (these games) so we can reallocate development resources to other titles that we hope you’ll have just as much fun playing.”
Zynga, the company behind the Facebook hit FarmVille, too withdrew Party Friends, CityVille 2 and The Friend Game earlier this year, as have several small and medium-budget game developers.
Moksh Juneja, CEO, Avignyata Inc, a company that specialises in social media marketing, believes there are several reasons for this decline. He says, “Boredom tops the list. Secondly, the time devoted to gaming is now split between platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat. The third possible reason could be that people want to meet each other offline. This is a huge trend in teens in the US.” Limited attention span was cited as another reason.
Indian game developers too are tracking this trend. Mahesh Khambadkone, co-founder of Games2win, says he has noted a drop in social gaming on Facebook. He says, “Consumers are moving to mobile, and developers are moving to where the consumers are.”
Gaming enthusiasts seem more than happy with the options available. Tanvi Shah, 23, an avid gamer, says, “Earlier, one was restricted to playing socially on one or two platforms. But as individual platforms open up, there are more options available and social and individual games are benefiting from it.”
Tweeple list their favourite social games:
@beingdipesh57: Zynga Poker
@DiMystify: Poker and cafe world.. but very slow apps.
@pedal_India: Played Mafia wars for 2 years, almost 60 hours a week. Best social criminal game and Zynga’s best game.
@dhwani2993: Candy Crush...
@BreakingViews4u: Criminal Case, Farmville (also based on the number of requests I get) - in months 15lakh+ people started playing CC