Reflections on Zynga and where social games might go next.
Significant losses, declining ARPUs, failing mobile acquisitions and shareholder selloffs. A stock price down to $3.01. A product catalog repeating previous mistakes. Media coverage ranging from the mystified to "I told you so". A vague promise to get into gambling. Last week was miserable for Zynga and, as the bellwether of social games, was not good news for the whole sector. As Zynga goes, so eventually go Wooga, EA Playfish and countless others.
Both inside and outside the walls of Facebook, the story of social games has become one of dead geese and golden eggs, flatlined growth, formulaic games and shady practises. Many warned that the sector was slowing down, but sometimes giants need to fall. It needs to get bad enough before people start to really consider what's next.
So what comes next?