Playfish’s Quiztastic game may be the first failed Playfish game, as it recently was shut down with no warning to gamers. The game had never broken the 500,000 monthly active users mark, and despite a strong premise and some of the best production values on Facebook, the game was ultimately unsuccessful.
Quiztastic was released in early 2009 and had a ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ feel. The graphics and sounds made the player feel like they were in the midst of a game show, and the quizzes available tapped on a user’s ability to answer general knowledge questions. The difficulty improved gradually and the experience was certainly fun.
The game also had a user-created quiz mode, which was surprising for a Playfish game. Typically, Playfish games are focused on maintaining a strict level of quality, and that means reducing the amount of amateur content in the game. But Quiztastic was able to bridge the gap by maintaining great production values but allowing users to create quizzes about topics of their choice.
That said, the game likely failed due to it’s lack of virality. In my first few sessions, I didn’t get the usually intrusive prompts to constantly ‘invite my friends’ or ‘challenge’ my friends, and I enjoyed that. However, the nice guy finishes last, especiallly on Facebook. If you want to get attention, you need to be loud and get users to invite, invite, invite. Hopefully we’ll see games move past that in the future, but definitely not at this early stage.