Zynga puts PetVille and more out to pasture

In its battle to cut costs, the game studio has been forced to close the door on more than 10 of its online and app-based games.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Say goodbye to PetVille, FishFille, Mafia Wars 2, and a slew of other games from the folks at Zynga.

The video game studio has reluctantly pulled the plug on 11 of its gaming titles, as detailed by blog site TechCrunch.

The list of casualities encompass some of the company's most popular games, most of which were playable online through Facebook and a few that were available as iOS or Android apps.

  • PetVille - Shut down as of yesterday.
  • Mafia Wars 2 - Shut down to new players as of yesterday.
  • FishVille - Shut down December 5th.
  • Vampire Wars - No longer available.
  • Treasure Isle - No longer available.
  • Indiana Jones Adventure World - Closed to new players as of November 14. Due to go offline for everyone on January 14.
  • Montopia - Terminated as of December 21.
  • Mafia Wars Shakedown - App no longer available.
  • Forestville - App no longer available.
  • Mojitomo - App no longer available.
  • Word Scramble Challenge - App no longer available.

Some games that escaped the chopping block include Castleville, Chefville, Farmville 2, Mafia Wars, and Yoville. Zynga is encouraging players whose favorite titles are gone to give these other games a shot.

Of course, many players of PetVille, Mafia Wars 2, and the others spent a great deal of time and effort playing and growing these games. I know several friends on Facebook who were heavily invested in certain Zynga titles. But it seems the company had little choice at this point.

Zynga filed an IPO last year , but its life as a public company hasn't gone well. Following a string of losses and an 80 percent drop in the stock price, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus revealed a huge cost reduction plan this past October.

More than 100 employees would lose their jobs. Cuts were to be made on outside services, including contractors, advertisers, and hosting companies. Zynga was also prepping to close its Boston studio and potentially studios in Japan and the U.K. And Pincus revealed that 13 game titles would come to an end and that the firm's investment in the Ville would be significantly reduced.

But the CEO tried to paint a silver lining behind the cloud of cost cuts.

"These reductions, along with our ongoing efforts to implement more stringent budget and resource allocation around new games and partner projects, will improve our profitability and allow us to reinvest in great games and our Zynga network on web and mobile," Pincus said.

Started in 2007 by Pincus, Zynga gained fame by offering a host of games playable via Facebook.

The company did branch out to offer titles for iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms. But its reliance on Facebook for most of its sales was a flawed strategy, according to an annual list that ranked Pincus the 4th worst CEO of 2012 .

Zynga has attempted to branch out into other areas to reduce its reliance on Facebook. And that direction may be needed now more than ever. A recent SEC filing revealed a new agreement in which Facebook will treat Zynga like any other game developer , meaning no more cross-promotion or other special ties.

 

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