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SmallWorlds: The Rise Fall and Possible Return of a Beloved Virtual Game

SmallWorlds was a popular social network and virtual game that provided users with a space to create their own avatars and interact with one another. It was known for its extensive avatar customization options, furniture customization, and pets, which made it stand out among other virtual games.

However, on April 8, 2018, SmallWorlds shut down, much to the disappointment of its dedicated users. In this article, we will take a closer look at what SmallWorlds was all about before it closed down.

What is SmallWorlds? SmallWorlds was a virtual game that allowed users to create their own avatars, interact with each other, and become a part of the game’s virtual world.

It was built using Adobe Flash technology, which gave it a unique feel and look. The game provided users with several customization options to make their avatars unique.

Avatar customization and Features

One of the defining features of SmallWorlds was the extensive customization options it provided for avatars. Users could customize their avatars’ looks by choosing from a wide selection of clothes, hairstyles, and accessories.

Moreover, the game allowed for the customization of the avatars’ room, furniture, and pets. Along with the customization options, users had a popularity rating, which increased as they completed more quests in the game.

If a user’s popularity rating was high, they could create their own public spaces. Missions, rewards, and skill improvements

SmallWorlds featured many quests and missions that users could attempt to complete.

The game provided users with rewards such as “wearables,” which they could add to their collection. These wearables included clothes, accessories, and other items that could only be obtained through completing quests.

Moreover, completing quests added to the user’s skill level, which could lead to unlocking new features and customization options.

Integration with social networks

SmallWorlds was integrated with several social networks, including Facebook and MySpace. Users could invite their friends to play the game with them, and it was free to play.

SmallWorlds was also available on smartphones from 2010 onwards.


SmallWorlds was a unique virtual game that had an extensive amount of customization options for avatars. It allowed users to complete quests, earn rewards, and improve their skills.

It was a social game, and players could invite their friends to join them in the virtual world. While SmallWorlds may no longer be around, it left behind a legacy of a unique game that engaged users in exciting ways.

What happened to SmallWorlds? SmallWorlds was founded by Robyn Van Der Merwe, Mitch Olson, and Darren Green in 2008, following their success in developing Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) on Adobe Flash technology.

The game was developed after an extensive private beta that collected feedback from users, which helped shape the game into what it became.

Success and growth

SmallWorlds enjoyed rapid success and growth that made it stand out among other social network games. Within the first year of its launch, it had over 600,000 registered accounts, with the number rising to over 6.5 million within ten years.

The game was integrated with multiple social networks, including Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, and Hi5, among others, which helped promote the game to a wider audience. SmallWorld’s popularity led to self-sustaining growth, which enabled the game to attract over $2.5 million in venture capital.

The company used this capital to fund international expansion, which saw the game become available in several countries.

Controversies and setbacks

SmallWorlds faced some controversies that affected its growth and popularity. One such controversy was an addiction case involving a teenager who spent over $7,000 via in-game purchases, leading to a lawsuit against the game’s developers.

This case drew attention to the potential addiction risks associated with virtual games. Another setback involved the launch of a Brazilian version of the game.

The launch was plagued with problems, including technical issues and a localization that turned out not to be adequate for Brazilian players. Why did SmallWorlds shut down?

On April 8, 2018, SmallWorlds announced its shutdown, leaving behind a massive following of disappointed users. The reasons behind this shutdown were mainly revenue and cost issues, with the company struggling to attract sufficient revenue to sustain its operations.

One of the game’s primary sources of revenue was through the sale of in-game Gold and Item Bundle purchases. With the rise of free-to-play games, users were becoming less inclined to purchase virtual goods, leading to a decline in revenue for SmallWorlds.

Moreover, the company relied heavily on ads to generate revenue, but this proved to be insufficient for sustaining the game’s operations. As a result, SmallWorlds was unable to meet the cost of running the game, leading to its eventual shutdown.

In conclusion, SmallWorlds was a popular social network game that provided users with a unique and immersive virtual world environment. Its success and growth came through international expansion, integration with various social networks, and many unique features such as avatar customization, missions, and quests.

However, its rapid growth also caused a few controversies, and eventually, the game shut down because of revenue and cost issues. Is SmallWorlds coming back?

Following the announcement of SmallWorlds’ shutdown, many devoted fans of the game were left wondering whether it would ever return. Although the game has yet to return, there have been some indications that suggest it may be possible.

Attempt to find a buyer

One possibility for SmallWorlds’ return has been through the search for a buyer. The game developers made an announcement in October 2018 that they were actively seeking someone to purchase the game.

However, the search for a buyer proved unsuccessful.

Trademark filing and possible return

In 2019, SmallWorlds made a move that many fans saw as a hopeful sign, the company filed a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This trademark covered various software and electronic platforms for use in creating and operating virtual worlds and other games.

The filing of this trademark suggests that the game developers may have some plans in the works for a possible return of SmallWorlds. However, there has been no news of when or if the game will return.

It is important to note that while the trademark filing suggests possible return, it is not a guarantee that the game developers will bring SmallWorlds back. There may be several factors that would need addressing before the game would be ready for relaunch.


SmallWorlds’ journey was a unique one that helped to shape the virtual game industry. Though the game’s fan base was disappointed by its shutdown, they remained hopeful for a possible return.

However, despite the filing of a trademark and the search for a buyer, there has been no news of a relaunch as of yet. Only time will tell if SmallWorlds will make a return and whether it will maintain its unique place in the virtual game industry.

In summary, SmallWorlds was a popular social network game that allowed users to create avatars, complete missions and customize their virtual world. However, the game had to shut down due to various revenue and cost issues, which made it unsustainable.

Although there were hopes for SmallWorlds’ possible return, it has not returned to date. The game’s unique journey and eventual shutdown provide a learning opportunity for potential developers of virtual games who might need to consider various factors in creating and operating virtual games, such as revenue sources, localization, and addiction risks.

Ultimately, SmallWorlds remains a memorable virtual game that many users still recall with fondness.

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