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Plugged In

EA kills The Sims Social, other Facebook games

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The Sims Social (Credit: EA)

Electronic Arts is unfriending Facebook.

In a surprise announcement Monday, the publisher revealed plans to sunset several of its games on the social network, including The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet Society.

The shutdown of The Sims Social is particularly shocking since the game was one of the most popular titles on Facebook just over a year ago, with the number of daily active users topping 10 million.

That number has dropped, though, in a big way. Today, the game boasts just 500,000 daily players, according to App Data, and is about to fall out of the Top 100 Facebook titles.

"After millions of people initially logged in to play these games, the number of players and amount of activity has fallen off," said the company. "For people who have seen other recent shutdowns of social games, perhaps this is not surprising."

The affected games will no longer be available as of June 14th, but EA will maintain a presence on Facebook through its PopCap subsidiary.

People who are still playing any one of the affected titles were encouraged to spend their in-game cash before that date in an announcement in the forums of EA subsidiary Playfish (as spotted by Joystiq). The overall state of Playfish seems to be in question, too, since with this shutdown, the group will have no active titles. EA bought Playfish for $300 million in 2009.

While the number of players of these games is nowhere close to what it once was, Sims fans tend to be ferociously loyal to the franchise. EA could face some sort of blowback with this announcement.

It's also likely to find itself the object of some Monday morning quarterbacking, since The Consumerist, in naming EA the worst company in America last week, cited game support issues as a factor in the decision.

"The support issue is only going to become an even bigger concern as EA includes more ways of making in-game purchases and requires Internet access just to play games," the watchdog site said.

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