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Zynga Announces Street Racing Closure, Upsets Fans

Zynga's decision to shutter its Street Racing social game has incited frustrated players to accuse the developer of providing inadequate compensation [Update: Zynga's response within].
Zynga's decision to shutter its Street Racing social game has incited frustrated players to accuse the developer of delivering the cancellation news insensitively and providing inadequate compensation. The San Francisco-headquartered company announced the game's termination in its forums and app page with a brief note that reads, "On August 2, 2010, Street Racing will be shutting down its garage doors and will no longer be open for business. But if you liked Street Racing, try out FrontierVille by Zynga... See ya there partner!" Social games analyst Nicholas Lovell, who described the announcement as "asking for trouble," told trade site Develop, "Telling people to try FrontierVille from Street Racing is telling people to play a game that is completely different in terms of concept and design. A hugely apologetic email would have made more sense." Zynga posted a similar note when announcing its cancellation of Roller Coaster Kingdom last month, inviting players to try out Vampire Wars. And while some Street Racing fans are upset over the studio's apparent indifference, even more are complaining about losing the virtual cars and modifications they've purchased in the game with real cash. Said Lovell, "[What] they could have done is offer people credits, where every pound you spend in Street Racing will be used in other games. But I imagine they didn’t want to set that precedent." Zynga didn't provide any reasons for why it's removing Street Racing from its servers, but the title has received very few updates in recent months and has a shrinking audience of around 444,000 monthly active users -- an impressive number for smaller developers, perhaps, but a fraction of what the company's top releases pull in. Despite Zynga's biggest games attracting tens of millions of monthly active players, this isn't the first time the firm has shut down one of its social games. It previously discontinued titles like Ponzi Inc. (after acquiring its developer Challenge Games), Dope Wars, and most recently Roller Coaster Kingdom. Update: Zynga has since addressed these issues by offering to compensate any Street Racing players who have purchased in-game goods within the last 90 days with virtual currency they can spend in some of Zynga's most popular titles. "As an acknowledgment of the inconvenience these changes may have caused, we have offered credits to all players who have made a purchase in the last 90 days," said a representative for the developer. "Those players will receive a credit for the exact amount of their purchases, plus an additional 100 units of premium currency, in any of Zynga’s nine most popular games." "We thank the Street Racing community for their support and hope they enjoy a new Zynga game of their choosing."

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