Ngmoco announced today that in ten days it will shut down all four of the titles it took over when it acquired mobile social developer Miraphonic. The remaining Miraphonic games Epic Pet Wars, Epic Chef Wars, Epic Crime Wars, and Titan Wars will close permanently on January 16. When ngmoco acquired Miraphonic, it also operated a game called Epic Soldier Wars, which has since been shut down. Miraphonic was ngmoco’s first major acquisition as a company, dating back to a period in late 2009 when ngmoco seemed interested in launching Facebook versions of its then-upcoming iOS social games.
Miraphonic was a developer that created games available both through Facebook and the App Store. Despite the 2010 boom in freemium gaming on iOS, Miraphonic’s games were never as successful as ngmoco’s own efforts. Likewise, ngmoco never launched any of its games for Facebook. All of Miraphonic’s games sold virtual goods as in-app transactions. Instead of seriously pursuing expansion to Facebook, ngmoco was instead acquired by Japanese mobile social network DeNA last year. Ngmoco has not announced any plans to refund players for recent purchases or cease selling items until the games are shut down.
While refunds don’t always accompany the announcement that a declining freemium game is shutting down, they’re becoming more commonplace as a way to placate faithful players. When refunds aren’t announced, disgruntled players have a tendency to file public complaints in the comments section of any blog or Website that’s written about the game or company in question. This is how Engage Digital became aware of Zynga’s closure of GoPets last year and how news often emerges about other high-profile shutdowns.
In the case of Zynga’s Street Racing, the public complaints lead to Zynga promising to give players who’d purchased anything in the game in the 90 days prior to closing a virtual currency refund that could be applied toward the purchase of virtual goods in any other Zynga game. Ngmoco could conceivably offer a similar credit good toward purchase of virtual goods in any of its mobile social games like We Rule. That said, according to AppData, Miraphonic’s only remaining Facebook game– Epic Pet Wars, its oldest and presumably most popular title– draws less than 10,000 MAU and around 600 DAU.
Join us for App Conference – October 18-19, 2012 in Santa Clara