FarmVille is coming to an end on December 31st. That’s the date when Adobe will stop supporting and distributing the Flash Player that FarmVille uses for its web versions, and subsequently, Facebook (the platform that initially made the game famous) will also stop supporting Flash, as well. FarmVille‘s maker, Zynga, has issued a statement about the game’s Facebook version coming to an end, saying: “We’re aware that many of you have been with us since the very beginning, helping to build an incredible global community of players over the years who’ve enjoyed this game just as much as we have. For that, we say thank you.”
This is far from a tragedy, obviously. FarmVille was at the forefront of the social gaming craze in the 2010s, blowing up to an estimated 80+ million active monthly users, and helping to greatly expand Facebook’s user base, in the process.
However, like all pioneers of great trends, FarmVille also experienced a decline just as quickly as it rose. After being the most popular game on Facebook in the early 2010s, FarmVille fell below 100th place by 2016. The sequel game FarmVille 2 was released in 2014, this time on mobile devices like iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, allowing the IP to truly takeoff. So even if the original Facebook game is now obsolete, FarmVille is still strong enough as an IP to how any number of new roads into the future.
At the same time, FarmVille‘s popularity as an early social gaming giant has also made it the case study for the genre’s more negative aspects. FarmVille has been criticized by analysts for its addictive nature, as well as the system of in-game purchasing that takes real-world cash from gamers. However, the biggest critique of FarmVille was the “social networking” aspect of the game, which prompted users to go out and invite (read: coerce) other Facebook users (and then non-users as well) to come into the game and work on the farms of friends, co-workers, acquaintances. It was that two-pronged option (pay cash or coerce friends) that ultimately earned FarmVille noteriety for creating a new kind of gambling-like turn in gaming that has only gotten more prevelant with time.
Here’s Zynga’s full statement on FarmVille closing down:
“Dear valued player,
Following an incredible 11 years since its initial launch back in 2009, we are officially announcing the closure of the original FarmVille game on Facebook. As previously stated, Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player for all web browsers, and Facebook will stop supporting Flash games on the platform completely after December 31st, 2020. FarmVille will therefore be directly affected as a result of this.
We’re aware that many of you have been with us since the very beginning, helping to build an incredible global community of players over the years who’ve enjoyed this game just as much as we have. For that we say thank you.
In advance of sunsetting the game, we would like to point out that in-app purchases will be available up until November 17, at which point the game’s payment system will be completely turned off. Thereafter the game will not be accepting any in-app payments and any refunds will not be processed during this time. FarmVille will, however, continue to be playable until December 31st, 2020, at which point it will be shut down completely.
Any remaining credits that you have during this period should be used before December 31st, 2020. We are also working on fun in-game activities to be announced soon that are designed to make your remaining time with FarmVille even more enjoyable.
We hope that the in-game experiences we’ve developed over the years have provided you with the highest level of entertainment that we strive to fulfill here at Zynga. We look forward to you joining us in Farmville 2: Tropic Escape, Farmville 2: Country Escape and the upcoming worldwide launch of FarmVille 3 on mobile.”