Sure profitability has something about the decision, however I can assure you that a creative mind could figure a way to restructure the business
You don't need to assure me, I already mentioned that same thing. But It's less of an issue of creativity, so much as flexibility that most larger companies lack.
They are destroying the consumer confidence in this type of business model.
This (free-to-play) business model was designed from ground-up to exploit consumers. Destroying your confidence in a model that was designed to take advantage of you is probably a good thing.
(Note: Not all free-to-play games are bad and exploitive but many of them are, and the business model has developed around the exploitation more than not)
Whats next, Amazon Instant Video decides its not profitable to stay on line - and lock out millions of users from their digital acquisitions.
Why not? It's happened before. Virtual worlds have shut down, and the digital "property" disappeared without even puffs of smoke. Plenty of consumer annoyance... but the business world, and eventually the consumers, moved on.
Regardless of TOS, the backlash of such action would be devastating to the online distribution and service industry.
Citation needed? The past thirty years of internet history suggests otherwise.
We have gut feelings about what should happen in a just and fair world, relying on the basic good tendencies of the average human beings. But hey, the selfishness of the average human being outweighs their good tendencies a hundred times over - it's just well hidden. When push comes to shove, decisions get made that leave people lying in the dust while others make a quick buck.
It was not long ago that Zynga games represented the majority of FaceBook's revenue, and with 6 million registered users, Yoville's contribution is not an insubstantial share.
That's a four-year old 'ostensibly' 6 million.
According to Wikipedia, Zynga has 240 million monthly active users over all their games.
Many program managers and entrepreneurs would jump at the offer to tame the beast. She may be unwieldy, however she is a proven winner and I am shocked there is no Yoville2 in plans. Its more than can be said about most business opportunities.
You're speaking from the perspective of an emotionally-invested fan. Many program managers and entrepreneurs would jump at the offer, if the game was given to them for free, sure. But how many are wanting to spend several million for the "opportunity" to tame a "beast" that they've never met in person and that they don't have full info on?
There are thousands of people who joined the California gold rush. Most didn't become wealthy. Aside from the few who won the geological lottery, the real winners were those providing services and selling equipment to the miners.
About finding gold... I have been somewhat successful with my own determination and limited patience in finding gold, and here is the best advice I ever received by one of the most respected Death Valley Prospectors. http://goldpeeps.com/gp_features_cms.html
I fully agree: "gold is a devilish thing". So important, he mentioned it twice.
Zynga is a big company looking for big gold veins, but smaller more flexible studios can definitely profit from an already-mined mine. But it's not free money: it does require work; it does require up-front investment of time, money, and labor; and it's not a guaranteed success even when all is said and done.
And because it requires corporate flexibility that those big companies almost always lack, that's why it doesn't make sense for Zynga to keep running it, even if it might make sense for another company to buy and run it.
Zynga is required by law to look after it's shareholders. It can't do charity for the sake of charity, unless it benefits shareholders, because our government forbids it.
Note: Companies can do charitable things... but only if it benefits the company's shareholders in the long run.
It's not that you seeing something that everyone else is magically blind to; it's actually that you're seeing only a part of the whole picture, and there are more that goes into these decisions than you'd think. It's not a clear-cut, "Hey, they're leaving nuggets of gold on the ground!". We're talking about greed-filled humans (just like all of us) running a business that is required by the government, by law, to make money for the shareholders above everything else. If they leave nuggets on the ground, it's either fool's gold, or they see more profit elsewhere and don't want to waste the effort.
Question: When is it a good idea to hire a plumber for $250 to fix your leaky sink if you know how to fix it yourself in only an hour?
Answer: When you can make more than $250 an hour, it'd be better to devote your hour to earning the money, and paying the plumber. Any money you earn over the plumber's fee (over the $250) is profit. By not hiring the plumber, you lose money - or at least the potential money that could've otherwise been earned.
Question: When is it a good idea to close a social game making you $2 ARPU (average revenue per user) per month, with (ostensibly) 6 million subscribers?
Answer: When you think can take the exact same resources you are devoting to running that game, and redirect those some resources to something more profitable.
I'm not saying what Zynga did was correct, I'm just answering the shocked, "Why?" question that everyone keeps repeating. Why? Because Zynga feels there is more profit in (Zynga) closing the game, then in (Zynga) running it. Full stop.
And if that is what Zynga thinks, then Zynga is required, by law, to do so. Full stop.
Edited by Servant of the Lord, 12 January 2014 - 01:04 AM.