In a major loss for Google’s languishing social network, EA/Popcap is breaking away from Google+ and putting more attention towards Facebook, citing that they need some space to do other things. In particular, Popcap is pulling the plug on Bejeweled Blitz for Google+ and refocusing their efforts on the much larger and more active Facebook crowd.
It’s a bad trend for Google, as AllThingsD points out that other game developers have been jumping ship on Google.
Wooga, a German company that hosts social games for 45 million monthly active users and 9.7 million daily active users, is also moving away from Google+ since the user base is apparently too small to justify the costs:
“We decided to remove certain games from Google+ because we have a much larger following on Facebook and they are active users,” said a Wooga customer care representative, who responded to an email sent to Wooga’s PR team. A PopCap spokesperson was a little more diplomatic: “PopCap has decided to suspend Bejeweled Blitz on Google+ to redeploy our resources to other adaptations of Bejeweled. Certainly, Google is a valuable gaming partner for PopCap and EA, and we’ll continue to develop for Google platforms.”
When EA and Popcap say that they’ll continue working with Google’s platforms, you can assume that they mean Android via Google Play, which has a huge following that rivals Apple’s own App Store and iOS ecosystem. PopCap and EA have already been finding a lot of success with the Android gaming base, having re-released several popular titles formerly exclusive to iPhones and iPads, including Bejeweled 2, Mass Effect: Infiltrator, and Peggle.
Still, Google still has plenty of companies in their lineup, including perennial powerhouses like Rovio (Angry Birds) and Zynga (everything else). To their credit, their profit sharing percentages are a lot more fair than the competition’s, which is why a partnership drain like this looks odd at a glance:
After the game platform launched, Google+ received a lot of attention from game developers, in part because they were looking for somewhere else to go besides Facebook, but also because the company was sharing 95 percent of the revenue from virtual goods with developers, and was keeping only 5 percent for itself. That was, and remains, much more generous than the 30 percent cut that Facebook takes.
No matter how you slice it, though, losing support of some of the world’s biggest game publishers and developers is never a good thing for business. It’s too early to tell how Google+ is going to hold up in the social media market, but it doesn’t help them that Facebook has had an eight-year (and over 700 million users’ worth) head-start.