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Despite great press, social dev lays off staff and focuses on casino games

Idle Games, the start-up that sought to establish a new breed of social games with innovative mechanics, has laid off 25 workers from its Idle Worship team, and is now focusing on casino games.
Idle Games, the start-up that sought to establish a new breed of social games with innovative mechanics, has laid off 25 workers from its Idle Worship team, and is now focusing on casino games. The developer previously described itself as "the instigator of a holy war against social games that suck and aren't actually social," garnering plenty of positive press and even a GDC Online Award nomination (for "Online Innovation") for its first release Idle Worship. But the game has struggled to build a sizable userbase since launching in March, and currently has only 10,000 daily active users. Co-founder and CEO Jeff Hyman explained to Inside Social Games that all the attention Idle Worship received failed to make the game profitable. "There's a good life lesson there that you don't need to innovate on every single vector," he said. "In order to be successful, you don't want the press, reviews, and accolades. You want bucket loads of money." Based in San Francisco, Idle Games has raised $19 million from investors since opening in 2009. The company still has 40 employees after the headcount reduction, who will focus on the company's new title Fresh Deck Poker and future social casino games. Hyman notes that with this headcount reduction, Idle Worship can now pay for itself (it currently generates around $0.12 to $0.13 in average revenue per daily user). The game will continue to receive support from the studio.

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