June 16, 2012
PopCap, Wooga Pull Some Games From Google+
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com
The first one went quietly, Wooga pulled its Game Monster World from the Google+ games section. This happened on May 1 with little fanfare. The absence of Bejeweled Blitz from Electronic Arts' PopCap Games this past week got a little more notice. The games were withdrawn from Google + not quite a year from when the search giant began offering games on its social networking site.
Wooga left a notice stating "Monster World says goodbye!" on the page that used to contain the game. A link to a support page on Wooga's site informs players, "By May 1st, 2012 Monster World on Google+ will be shut down. If you have general questions about the game, please find the answers on our Customer Care Page." The notice then offers a support email address for players concerned about payments and refunds.
Following the closure of Monster World, SocialGamesObserver reports that Wooga will also remove its Bubble Island and Diamond Dash from the network on July 1.
In a query about the removal of games, TechCrunch confirmed with Wooga about the procedure. A spokesperson told the site, "In the coming weeks Wooga games Diamond Dash and Bubble Island will follow Monster World in leaving the Google+ platform." The spokesperson didn't provide much in the way of reasoning. Wooga also exited its presence on StudiVZ, a Berlin-based social network for students in Europe. TechCrunch cites declining user engagement for the withdrawal from some sites, and says the company still has several game titles playing on Facebook.
PopCap, which is a unit of Electronic Arts, also pulled a game from its Google+ line-up. The company took Bejeweled Blitz from the platform. The Wall Street Journal heard from a source at PopCap say it would "redeploy resources" for that particular game, but reinforced that "Google is a valuable gaming partner."
While PopCap says it will continue its relationship with Google+, a search on the PopCap site for the Google+ platform shows no games. On Facebook, PopCap runs Bejeweled Blitz and Zuma Blitz.
Wooga games appeal to a youth audience and include Diamond Dash, Magic Land, Monster world, Happy Hospital, Brain Buddies and Bubble Island. Launching each of those games from the Wooga.com website takes users to Facebook to play.
Even though Wooga and PopCap combined are pulling three games, at the present time, from a catalog of many more games on the Google+ games platform, it could signal a lack of confidence in the platform. Google+ has had limited adoption in its brief existence, and needs to attract engaging content to keep users on the site and interacting with friends. If Wooga and PopCap have had limited users running their games on the Google+ platform, other publishers might now evaluate their engagement.
While it was slow to start, Google+ has made some ground in recent months. A report from Experian Hitwise showed the network grew 27 percent between February and March. It's possible some game publishers will allow more time for the network to grow before looking for platforms that will produce more players.
The most popular games on Google+ include 8 Ball Multiplayer Pool, Angry Birds, Bubble Witch Saga, Crime City and Zombie Lane.