Games

'FarmVille' Changed Online Gaming Forever, Now It's Going Offline

The Facebook-based game that mainstreamed pay-to-win microtransactions is winding down after 11 years, according to the developer.
September 28, 2020, 4:55pm
'FarmVille' Changed Online Gaming Forever, Now It's Going Offline
Image: Zynga

All things move toward their end, even once-mega-successful video games. And so it is that FarmVille, the breakout Facebook game that consumed people’s attention during the Obama administration, will soon be gone. Developer Zynga announced the game’s dissolution on Monday morning in a press release. 

What does it give as the reason? Dropping sales? Lack of interest more than a decade since its release? No, 'twas Adobe killed the beast. FarmVille was a Flash game, and Flash is dead thanks to Adobe.

“Following an incredible 11 years since its initial launch back in 2009, we are officially announcing the closure of the original FarmVille game on Facebook,” Zynga said in a press release. “As previously stated, Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player for all web browsers, and Facebook will stop supporting Flash games on the platform completely after December 31st, 2020. FarmVille will therefore be directly affected as a result of this.”

Without Flash, FarmVille can’t function and Adobe has said it will stop updating and supporting flash on December 31, 2020. That lack of support will create an untenable security risk for Flash, so most major browsers and websites are dropping it. It’s the end of an era and one of the biggest casualties is FarmVille, a game that defined Facebook gaming and kicked off a trend of pay-to-win and microtransactions in online games.

If you never played it, FarmVille was basically Harvest Moon played on Facebook with long wait times unless you paid for items that sped up the process. It made Zynga a major player in the mobile gaming market and in 2013, just four years after its launch, fans had made $1 billion in in-app purchases.

The original game may be dead, but its successors and spin-offs are alive and well on the mobile market. There’s FarmVille 2: Country Escape, FarmVille 2: Tropic Escape, and hundreds of knockoffs on the iOS and Google Play store.

FarmVille is gone, but its legacy lives on. Every time you’re playing a game you enjoy on mobile and it asks you to spend some money to overcome an obstacle, that’s FarmVille. Every time a child drains their parents' bank account for in-game goodies, that’s FarmVille. RIP.