Internet provider and general giant Yahoo has announced this December that it will proceed to shut down a number of free to play brands in its classic games portfolio – including bingo.
Yahoo! Bingo and Yahoo! Poker are among the first to go, with both expected to be removed by 31st December. This has come as a major blow as the poker product only launched in November 2014, whilst the bingo brand launched its free to play version only a few months earlier, in March 2014.
The embarrassing move is due to what Yahoo describes as the games themselves being incompatible with many devices by today’s standards, with many inconsistent functions meaning that some games no longer function correctly. In addition to this, Yahoo has cited security concerns, due to many behind the scenes changes on sites. This paired with the enforced increased security requirements for all Yahoo web pages has led to the decision to withdraw the free to play games from the market.
At the beginning of the year, Yahoo announced the launch of their brand new Yahoo Games Network. This was a new platform intended for third party developers to be able to use the company’s large distribution network. This was the internet brand’s first major move since acquiring the cross platform gaming provider Playerscale in May 2013. The launch of free to play bingo, poker and pool products available on both web, Android and iOS was part of the new network announcement, and the first taster of what was to come.
However criticisms if the games network soon surfaced, as the revenue share for developers and sales alike was relatively low compared with a lot of other brands and sites. This could perhaps be one of the reasons that the free to play games have not proved so successful and are having to close so soon after opening.
Despite this disappointing news, there have been some successes for the Yahoo Games Network this year, with some brands still going strong, in particular the social casino titles. SGN’s Bingo Blingo is just one of the titles excelling under the network which looks to be making the most of the shift to social games. Although not classed as free to play as there are options for in app purchases (not compulsory), the comfort of this social gaming app remaining open to US players may soften the blow of losing the Yahoo! Bingo brand.
All may not be lost as there is already speculation that the closure of these games is just the beginning. Rumours are rife that Yahoo intends to replace all these games with newer, better versions in 2015. In the UK, Yahoo offers GTECH powered bingo, scratch cards, slots and much more in real-money gambling sites. This is another route Yahoo in the US might opt to go down, despite having to also consider individual state gambling laws and jurisdictions.