Playfish founders Sebastien de Halleux and Sami Lababidi will depart their day-to-day roles at Electronic Arts at the end of March according to Inside Social Games, roughly one year after Electronic Arts spent over $300 million to acquire the company. Both men will stay on with EA in a limited capacity, as consultants. De Halleux was the first COO of Playfish and became a Vice President at EA Interactive after Playfish was acquired. Lababidi oversaw Playfish’s development and technical operations. Founder Kristian Segerstrale remains with the company. Playfish’s other founder, Shukri Shammas, departed Playfish in March of last year.
It is not unusual for founders to depart a company after acquisition, though Playfish’s founders depart amid close scrutiny of EA’s acquisition. In the year since Playfish was absorbed into Electronic Arts, the publisher’s top three Facebook titles are still Pet Society, Restaurant City, and Hotel City. Playfish has launched games based on major EA franchises like FIFA and Madden, FIFA Superstars remains Playfish’s fourth-largest title at 3.3 million monthly active users. Madden is the fifth-largest, at 2.2 million monthly active users.
Playfish’s total Facebook MAU across all games is 35.9 million and DAU across all games is 6.2 million. EA has announced that Playfish’s total MAU across all platforms is 55 million. Playfish is the third-largest social game developer on Facebook by MAU and second-largest by DAU. Top developer Zynga publishes three different individual games that draw larger audiences by MAU: CityVille (96.1 million), FarmVille (51.3 million), and Zynga Poker (38.1 million). When EA acquired Playfish, the company served around 60 million MAU and 13.6 million DAU. The company’s traffic has effectively fallen by half in the past year.
In a related story, BioWare Austin Vice President Gordon Walton is leaving the studio to become an Executive Producer at Disney-owned social game developer Playdom. Walton was a senior staffer working on development of Electronic Arts’s long-delayed subscription-based Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic MMORPG. Playdom is the fourth-largest social game developer on Facebook, serving 24.8 million MAU and 2.8 million DAU across all games.
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