The youngest of the place may not remember it, but there was a time (in the early 2010s) when every day we received an invitation from a friend on Facebook inviting us to “visit his farm”: many friendships were broken then because of spam.
And is that the aforementioned farm was virtual, and referred to Farmville, a social game created in flash that marked an era in the social network… And that generated a multimillion dollar business.
In fact, although it seems impossible, there was a time when what attracted users to Facebook were mini-games and it was not all full of ‘fake news’. But when Facebook began to bet heavily on mobile, flash games could not be brought to that platform. And, in turn, new games started to ‘happen’ from Facebookya bet on being offered to the user directly from the app stores.
Then we had the feeling that an era was ending, but it is nothing compared to what we are going to experience in the coming months: Farmville, and many other contemporary games, die. And we will have to start 2021 without them.
Farmville will die alongside the technology that made it possible
The bad thing about flash games is that they need Flash Player to work… and that software already has an expiration date: as we recently told you in Genbeta, Adobe will stop updating it on December 31st, at the same time that the major browsers will stop supporting it.
Many flash games have been ported to HTML5, the technology that succeeded Flash as the spearhead of multimedia programming on the web. But Farmville is too big and old for it to be profitable to recode whole set.
So it seems that the first game in history that knew how to make the most of ‘the cloud’ (when hardly anyone called it that yet), the game that became for a few years the number one cause of procrastination among Internet users, is doomed to die.
This has been confirmed by Zynga, its developer company, who emphasizes that, although its popularity is far from that of its best moments, after these eleven years it was still a widely used game, and that his death is due solely to technical causes.
Zynga has announced that in-app purchases will be available on Farmville only until November 17, and that the game’s payment system will close after that. After that, Farmville will remain active although without payments for another month and a half, after which it will disappear forever.
“We realize that many of you have been with us from the beginning, helping to build an incredible global community of players over the years who have enjoyed this game as much as we have. For that, we thank you.”
But the Farmville legacy won’t go away entirely: Zynga reminds us that we can all move on to ‘Farmville 2: Tropic Escape’ and ‘Farmville 2: Country Escape’, which are no longer developed in Flash and have long competed with the original game, and heralds the future release of a ‘Farmville 3’ for mobile devices.
We will not say goodbye to flash games at all, calm down
However, if melancholy has entered you thinking about the hundreds of flash games you spent thousands of hours on during your childhood / youth that are now doomed, like Farmville, to get lost like tears in the rain … let me give you some good news: although indeed many (especially those who had social / multiplayer functions) will not be able to survive New Years Eve , in 2021 you will still have the possibility to play 59,000 of them.
And it is that a company called BlueMaxima has decided to collect the flash games that survive scattered around the Internet and package them together with a software, Flashpoint, which is actually an encapsulated web server that comes prepared to run Flash (and other plugins of the time, such as VRML, Pulse, etc) offline and free.
Even if the websites where you used to play them are going to close (or have done it a long time ago), you can download and play them whenever you want, as if they were Steam games (and you had bought them all). Of course, be careful with the vice because, although many of these games were quite light, your entire database is several hundred GB.