MySpace. A stellar example of what can go drastically wrong when you’re sitting pretty at the top. While the flailing social network has seen it’s fair share of blows, it would appear that just another nail in the coffin has recently been stuck. According to notice posted on the game’s MySpace home, Zynga has pulled the plug on MySpace, and is now sending players to Zynga’s own MafiaWars.com; further evidence that the social games maker would like to become less and less dependent on social networks in general. With that said, Zynga is still relying on Facebook Connect from their own platform.
Significant in it’s own right, this move has particular meaning, as Mafia Wars had been the second most popular game on MySpace as recently as March, according to an Inside Social Games report, counting a healthy 13 million players of the title on MySpace. Granted, these figures do not include regularly playing members, but still a grande number.
Zynga’s stand-alone title, Zynga Poker is still available on MySpace, however YoVille and Fashion Wars have already quietly exited the platform, while Zynga’s big guns, CityVille and FarmVille have never been available to MySpace users.
So in addition to Zynga’s push to pull users off the social space and bring them home to their own platform, various sources including TechCrunch are speculating that Zynga is simply beating a dead horse by continuing to put time, money, and effort into a sinking ship, i.e. MySpace.
According to a March ComScore report, MySpace’s numbers are in freefall, dropping from 93 million unique users to 63 million over the course of a year. It would also appear that the MySpace exodus is accelerating, with 10 million monthly users saying sayonara between January and February.
This move by Zynga flies directly in the face of MySpace’s goals, as just last year, the platform took on a Hi5-esque role, shifting their focus from social network to social gaming destination, with little to no success. Adding insult to injury, just 5 short months later, Zynga was able to attract and hire MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta. And then there’s that massive layoff this past January, which saw approximately 600 employees let go.
So with the walls crumbling around them, the question remains; what does the future hold for News Corp. owned MySpace? Remember, the firm paid a massive $580 million for MySpace back in 2006, but can still be seen as a bargain when compared to AOL’s $850 million purchase of Bebo. So when seen in this light, perhaps a tax write off would make more sense?