Long-running browser-based social game YoVille
has been granted a stay of execution by Zynga, who announced
an agreement today to transfer the game to Big Viking Games despite promising to shutter the project earlier this year.
The game will be rebranded YoWorld
and transferred -- complete with all user profiles and game history -- to Big Viking Games by May 11th. Zynga is allowing players to withhold their account information from the transfer by filling out a form
by May 9th.
It's a homecoming of sorts -- Big Viking Games is the studio previously known as Tall Tree Games, who launched YoVille
in 2008 and sold the game to Zynga shortly thereafter.
By reassuming control of their game in the face of its impending demise, Big Viking seems to be adopting an approach similar to RockYou's new "rerun" strategy of rescuing games
that other publishers don't want in the hope of continuing to operate and monetize them past their peak popularity.