Almost a year ago, casual game publisher Big Fish attempted to bring its games to Facebook in the form of Treasure Quest. Log into Treasure Quest, and every day, you'd be able to play snippets of some its popular casual games, such as the best-selling Mystery Case Files.
Looks like my sunny predictions about Treasure Quest way back when didn't come true (it only reached a max of 323K players per month) and Big Fish has announced that the Facebook game will be shuttered on March 15. Starting today, players will no longer be able to buy gold for the game.
On an FAQ linked from the game's FB fan page, Big Fish says they decided to close Treasure Quest because it was 'not sustainable."
If you've been playing this game and/or spent money on this game, the FAQ says that it will all go away, so if you have gold to spend in the game, you need to do so before the game closes."Many options were assessed and seriously considered before this final decision was made. The decision was very difficult, but as a business, it was one that we had to make."
So -- you've been officially warned. Everything you've done in the game will disappear into the ether, which brings up one of several bigger issues in the world of social gaming and digital entertainment in general. When you decide to spend money to buy virtual assets in a game, you're buying something that you don't really own. If the game closes, you run the risk of losing your property for good.
The other big question that this closure brings up is -- can established video game and casual game companies really make it big on Facebook? With Big Fish closing down Treasure Quest and Ubisoft talking about how social games don't make enough money, it seems like companies who have been making games for a long time are still searching for the magic formula that makes games like Zynga's CityVille such runaway hits.
Big Fish doesn't seem to be giving up completely on Facebook just yet. In recent weeks, its other Facebook game My Tribe has seen a jump in traffic, and the company has also maintained a Facebook page where people can go to download Drawn: The Painted Tower.
Will you be sad to see Treasure Quest go? Sound off in the comments.