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EA Popcap ends  Baking Life  over low user numbers
EA Popcap ends Baking Life over low user numbers
January 20, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

January 20, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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EA Popcap will shut down underperforming social game Baking Life at the end of the month, attributing the closure to its players numbers not being "enough to justify continued support."

This marks the first confirmed closure of a PopCap game since Electronic Arts acquired the casual game developer and publisher in July for as much as $1.3 billion ($550 million of that dependent on Popcap meeting certain performance milestones through 2013).

Though the Facebook game's monthly active user count has fallen dramatically in the past 18 months, shrinking from 6.7 million to now 760,000, Baking Life still has more users than previous EA social game releases like Monopoly Millionaires, Madden NFL Superstars, and Pogo Games.

"Player numbers have dropped in such a way that Baking Life is no longer performing well enough to justify continued support," Popcap's communications VP Garth Chouteau explained to Inside Social Games. "As such, we are reallocating resources to games that we are developing for future release."

The game was originally created by Bay Area-based developer ZipZapPlay, which PopCap purchased for an undisclosed sum last April. Though Baking Life was the studio's biggest title, its audience numbers were already on a downward slope at the time, having dropped to 2.2 million.

As part of its acquisition deal with PopCap, ZipZapPlay closed another social game last year, Happy Habitat, to focus on another project. The two companies were reportedly still deciding whether to close Baking Life during negotiations.

PopCap currently has two titles on Facebook, Bejeweled Blitz (9.4 million monthly players) and Zuma Blitz (2.1 million monthly players). It began open beta testing an original game called Pig Up in July, but as of press time the game is not functioning. It's also working on Lucky Gem Casino.


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Comments


Matt Fleming
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760,000 players isn't enough?

Jamie Mann
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free to play games are based on the microtransaction model, which essentially consists of taking very small amounts of revenue (ad click-though, premium items) from a small subset of a very large userbase.



Also, the per-user overheads in the microtransaction model can be significantly higher - for example, you could be processing 1000 $0.04 payments from ad revenue, rather than a single $40 subscription change. Which in turn increases the size of the userbase you need to break even.



The Wikipedia article on f2p (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-to-play) suggests the paying userbase is generally somewhere between 0.5% - 6%, though it doesn't say where this figure was derived from. Even if we take the upper end of the scale, this would still suggest that Baking Life's paying userbase was only around 40,000, which isn't particularly large by any standards...


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