When it launched in 2009, Playdom's Facebook game Tiki Farm promised to whisk you away to a tropical island where it's nothing but you, your crops and exotic pets, such as a pair of blue-footed boobies.
Sad to say, we come bearing bad news, island dwellers. Playdom plans to shutter Tiki Farm on July 16 (Tiki Resort, another Playdom game, was quietly canceled several weeks ago). The tropical-themed farm game went from an all-time high of 6.4 million players a month to a dismal 260K players per month, according to AppData.
Based on the drop in the game's popularity, the game's closure doesn't come as a surprise. A notice on the Tiki Farm Facebook fan page, says its shutting down the game to "focus on building new more engaging games." OK, fair enough. The surprising part, however, is the finality of the last sentence of the notice that says "refunds on the basis that the game is no longer available to play."
It would, admittedly, be absurd to expect Playdom or any other social game company refund all of a player's money when a game is closed, but this also highlights an important ethical question that all Facebook and freemium game makers must face. When you close an online game that some have spent thousands of dollars to play -- should the company (in this case, Playdom) be required to throw their big spenders a bone? At the very least offer additional credits that can be used in another game?
We've reached out to Playdom to see what, if anything, Tiki Farm's big spenders will get when the game closes. In the meantime, we'll be donning our virtual grass skirts and paying one last visit to our quiet tropical/farming paradise.