EA swallows a $300 mill pill and backs away from Facebook

peter moore replacing john riccitiello as electronic arts ceo

In July 2012, when shares in Electronic Arts were trading beneath $11 for the first time since the 1990s, then CEO John Riccitiello tried to explain why it was that the company’s investors were so shaken. He believed that it came down to a misunderstanding of the modern video game industry. “After many years of stellar growth, we more recently got into a place where I think investors are having a hard time understanding where growth in the industry is coming from,” Riccitiello told CNBC at the time. “And they’re unclear about ongoing growth in the Facebook platform for gaming and mobile.” Today it appears that Riccitiello and EA’s other executives were equally unclear about the potential of Facebook gaming. Just over three years after acquiring Playfish, one of Facebook gaming’s biggest competitors, EA is shutting the studio down.

On the official Playfish forums (via GamesIndustry International), EA’s community team announced the impending closure schedule of six Facebook games in total. On May 14, the studio will shut down Madden NFL Superstars ’11 and’12, as well as NHL Superstars. Then on Jun. 14, it will go on to shut down SimCity Social, Pet Society, and The Sims Social. This comes not even a full year after Electronic Arts sued developer Zynga for releasing The Ville, which it claimed copied and therefore hurt the profitability of SimCity Social.

“We know that you may be disappointed by this,” said EA, “Retiring games is never easy, we hope you enjoyed playing SimCity Social as much as we enjoyed making it. Thank you to all of our passionate and dedicated players for supporting SimCity Social. We hope to see you in some of our other titles on Facebook and other platforms. 

For those that purchased and are still holding on to Playfish virtual currency, EA says to spend what you have before the games are shut down in the coming weeks, without offering any kind of compensation.

EA isn’t abandoning Facebook by any means though. The Simpsons: Tapped Out, developed by EA Mobile, remains a major earner, and across Facebook, Android, and iOS, that game generated $23 million for EA during the holiday quarter.

It would seem, however, that Playfish is done for, even after EA spent scads to acquire the company. In November 2009, right as the social game boom was kicking into high gear and companies like Zynga saw their valuation skyrocket, EA spent a whopping $300 million to acquire Playfish­, and it promised the studio another $100 million if it could hit certain milestones. 

Gaming

EA reportedly paid Ninja $1 million to stream Apex Legends for a day

Popular Twitch streamers Tyler Blevins -- also known as Ninja -- was reportedly paid $1 million by Electronic Arts to tweet about and stream the free-to-play Apex Legends for just one day.
Gaming

Make some room in your backlog. Here are all the games to look out for in 2019

2019 is already a huge year for video games, with a large number of series getting new installments, including some that have been dormant for years. Brand new franchises are also being created.
Gaming

Relive Nintendo’s handheld golden age with the 25 best Game Boy Advance games

The Game Boy Advance was the swan song of the Game Boy era. It also happened to have a boatload of amazing games. We decided to countdown our 25 favorite GBA games from both first-party and third-party.
Gaming

Hey! Listen! Here's the entire Legend of Zelda series ranked from best to worst

The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most iconic video game franchises of all time, featuring more than a handful of the very best games ever made. We ranked all of the games in the series timeline from best to worst.
Gaming

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Gaming

Our Fortnite: Battle Royale building tips and tricks will help you survive

Fortnite: Battle Royale sets itself apart from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds with its building mechanics. From gathering resources, to making cover on the fly, to building towers, here is how to build like a pro.
Computing

HP’s Omen Mindframe headset keeps your ears chill, but might leave you lukewarm

The Omen Mindframe headset uses HP's FrostCap technology to keep ears cool during long gaming sections. While it delivers on keeping ears cool, it forgets some of the essentials of a quality gaming headset.
Gaming

Apex Legends cheaters reportedly being kicked out with permanent hardware bans

Respawn Entertainment has reportedly started issuing permanent hardware bans against Apex Legends cheaters. The studio is raising the bar on how cheating in online multiplayer games should be dealt with.
Gaming

Nintendo Switch controllers will soon be compatible with Google Chrome

Nintendo Switch controllers will soon be supported by Google Chrome, according to a new commit spotted by 9to5Google. The code is likely related to Google's Project Stream game streaming service.
Gaming

Hearthstone: Rise of Shadows shines the spotlight on Warcraft villains

Rise of Shadows, the next expansion for Hearthstone, will shine the spotlight on villains. The set will kick off the Year of the Dragon with 135 new cards and two mechanics, and will start the game's first-ever year-long storyline.
Gaming

New Sony patent suggests a wireless PSVR headset could be on the way

Images and documents in the Japan Patent Office appear to suggest that Sony is planning a wireless version of the PlayStation VR headset. It isn't clear which system it will be used for.
Gaming

Get over here! All the details on next week’s Mortal Kombat 11 closed beta

Mortal Kombat 11 will hold its closed beta period from March 28 through March 31, giving those who pre-ordered the game the chance to check it out prior to its official launch in April.
Gaming

Amazon drops a deal on SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset for Nintendo Switch

Amazon is currently running a deal on the SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset, which is compatible with Nintendo Switch as well as Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, mobile, and virtual reality.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?