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Zynga kills soft launched CityVille game for failure to meet expectations

But still committed to brand
Zynga kills soft launched CityVille game for failure to meet expectations

It's always worth reading the small print.

And doing so in Zynga's earnings reports reveals this tiny nugget from CEO Frank Gibeau.

"We continue to focus on quality over quantity in terms of our new titles. As a result, we have decided to stop development of our current version of CityVille mobile, which was originally scheduled to launch later this year.

"Based on extensive testing and soft-launch data, the game failed to meet our expectations and those of our players.

"As a company, we remain committed to the Invest Express category and our CityVille brand long-term."

Sensible decision

As a brand, CityVille has proved to be a difficult one for Zynga in recent years.

The two PC versions were shut down in 2013 and 2015.

This was the vision
This was the vision

The mobile version Gibeau refers to has been in soft launch in the Philippines and India since December 2015, reaching #43 grossing on the Philippines iPhone chart and #194 in India.

Perhaps the strongest conclusion to draw from the news is how important the soft launch period now is for big publishers; something Zynga has already underlined with the prolonged soft launches of CSR Racing 2 and Dawn of Titans.

This is especially the case given the high cost of launch marketing campaigns.

So if a game can't retain players and/or monetise them at a sufficient level, it makes business sense to kill them as early as possible; something rival Kabam has also practised in the case of its Marvel United game, which was canned in late 2015.