Slide Confirms Game Closures, Ending a Long and Wild Journey Building Social Apps

Some social gamers are going to miss SuperPoke Pets. But in Silicon Valley, social developer Slide will be remembered for how it saw the opportunity in social apps early on, and for how it doggedly and sometimes successfully adapted as social platforms changed.

It will also be remembered for how it didn’t quite hit the key part of the trend at the right time as the industry evolved. Zynga instead cornered a big portion of social gaming, and is now heading towards an initial public offering worth billions.

After being acquired by Google in 2010 for more than $182 million, Slide initially seemed poised for a second wind (or more like a fourth wind) helping to lead the creation of a product to go against Facebook. Instead, some of the team continued running SuperPoke and other apps — it still has nearly half a million monthly active users on Facebook — or worked on new ones like photo-sharing mobile app Photovine. Those efforts were more on the peripheral of Google+ products, if not in competition with them. Tellingly, Slide’s games weren’t even included in its games launch earlier this month.

So, it’s not all that surprising that Slide announced to the company yesterday that it would be shutting down almost all of its apps.

AllThingsD, which broke the story, also reported that founder Max Levchin is leaving, and so is up-and-coming product leader Jared Fliesler, who will join fellow former Slide executive Keith Rabois at mobile payments company Square.

This still isn’t a failed acquisition in the way that other recent big ones have been, like Cisco’s closure of its Flip device line. Most Slide employees are staying to work in other parts of the acquirer, and we’ve heard that attrition to date has already been very low. And because Google is busy hiring anyway, including for its game platforms and social products, these 100-some veteran employees are still in a good position to make an impact.

A Look Back at Slide’s Products Over the Years

The company began life as a desktop photo browser app back in 2005, but quickly transitioned to take advantage of MySpace. It built an online photo app of sorts that users could embed in their profiles. To get a sense of how early this was in the industry, MySpace sometimes viewed third-party developers as threats and at various points tried to block their embeds.

> Continue reading on Inside Social Games.

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