Zynga lays off employees in midst of Apple event

Zynga, in an obvious attempt to avoid bad press, laid off some 100-odd employees during Apple's iPad mini event today. A total of 5% of their full-time staff are on the way out, and many were given two hours to clear out of the office today according to inside sources. The Boston studio is shutting down completely, while the Austin studio will see significant reductions. The Japan and UK studios are on the chopping block for closure. 13 games will be shut down, with a significant reduction in investment in The Ville due to dwindling performance. Though the vast majority of these games are on Facebook, there is a fair bit of overlap on iOS. Zynga's downward spiral doesn't bode particularly well for the titles it will be maintaining on mobile. 

It seems awfully skeezy to try to bury this news under all of the iPad mini noise, though if Zynga's going through a rough patch already, one could understand why they would want to minimize the publicity. Some of Zynga's more popular iOS titles include Words with Friends, Horn, Draw Something, Poker, Drop7, and FarmVille. How many Zynga games do you play? Would you be heartbroken if they were taken off the App Store? 

Source: Joystiq

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Zynga lays off employees in midst of Apple event

8 Comments

FarmVille isn't an iOS game anymore but anyways there games seem to be mostly fads. We all play them for a few weeks and then that's it. Or at least that has been my experience.

Agreed. You hear about them one day and everyone wants to play them, then two or three weeks later they are just icons on the phone and nothing else.

I have found the same as above post, play a game for a very short time and move on.

Games are for kids..... they grow up and life happens

Yeah, I was actually a Zynga player at one time. To the point I started buying stuff (looked at it as being the same as me buying a game every month for my xBox since I played it a fair bit it seemed a reasonable thing). All of the people playing the game for free started making buttloads of demands on how the game could be "better" all the while using ad-blockers and such and not generating any revenue for Zynga at all (all it takes is a run through the forums to see that). Using cheat links and so on so that Zynga were constantly trying to stay ahead of what I assume the median may have been for job/quest/etc. completion which isn't where it should have been. People like me started quiting in droves because it wasn't fun trying to keep up with people with 800 "friends" when I had maybe 30 that actually played and I also didn't think I should need to add strangers to my fb account in order to play a game. I voiced my opinion and it didn't matter. I, like most gamers I know, at least like the illusion of being able to finish something if we put a reasonable amount of time into it. (yes I am a gamer who plays just about any type of game including these). I quit with a decent amount of money in wasted in-game currency left. and log in every 3 -5 months just to see if it's still as bad as I remember it getting (its been a year). A good deal of my friends, even a very diehard fan of that particular game quit soon after because it was a full-time job just trying to play the game and earn the completion things and if you didn't you would fall behind and not be able to complete even more things.

My personal belief was that they had tons of games and didn't need to make each game the end-all be-all for everyone, by doing that people didn't try new games even when they had the cross-platform events because they already had enough work in the game they were playing. Each casual game should require at most 30-60 min a day to stay up to date, and if you want to do more then find a different game.

Just my 2 cents on why people dropped based on personal experience and that of friends. Just for reference, I consider myself one not to waste money so the leaving money unspent on the game is the only thing that makes me think about it now.

I agree with your comment, I've not really played many of their games other than draw something, words with friends (I even got the paid versions!!) and poker, but from what I've heard, that's spot on. The other side of it is their super aggressive growth, zynga paid $200 million to buy draw something, which was at the height of its popularity. When zynga bought it, a lot of people I know stopped playing at that point, part of it was just being tired of playing it, and the other part was a "well, zynga is gonna ruin it anyway" attitude.

The problem with Zynga games is they all push you to pay real money for fake money or decorations. You don't have to buy these things but the constant barrage "buy this" crap really gets old. I honestly think people would play more if that aspect was at least mostly eliminated. Maybe even charge a few bucks to get the game then let people play. Stop standing on the corner begging for money Zynga. It obviously isn't working.