Zynga quietly lays off 100+ employees, disbands "The Ville" team

By on October 23, 2012, 5:30 PM

In October 2010, social gaming developer Zynga was riding a massive wave of success. The start-up was valued at roughly $5.5 billion - higher than console publisher Electronic Arts at the time. Plans of taking the company public were well under way and the future looked bright and sunny.

Yet here we sit almost two years later to the day, reveling at how sharply Zynga’s fortune has taken a turn for the worse. Share value has tanked in recent months despite the company’s attempts to snatch up smaller firms like OMGPOP of Draw Something fame. It seems the worst is still yet to come.

Zynga reportedly laid off more than 100 employees earlier today at their Austin office. The entire development team behind “The Ville” was let go, likely due to the fact that EA filed a lawsuit against Zynga in June 2012 claiming their product was a direct copy of The Sims Social. 

Employees at the Austin office were given just two hours to gather their belongings and vacate the premises.  Rumors are also swirling that the Boston office might experience similar layoffs.

Zynga allegedly chose to clean house around 10 am Pacific time, just as everyone in the industry had their eyes fixed upon Apple’s media event. It’s a classic media strategy to announce bad news while everyone else is tuned in to someone else’s breaking news. As such, Zynga likely won’t get as much negative press as they might have received on an “off” news day.

Zynga’s stock value is down just over five percent as of writing. We’re still waiting to hear an official announcement from the developer on the subject.

User Comments: 7

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avoidz avoidz said:

Sounds like their bubble finally burst.

PinothyJ said:

Burn, baby, burn...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I was caught up in their buggy games for a while and grew tired of the constant glitches. Now I'm no longer a part of Facebook and couldn't care less about their buggy constantly changing "Ville" games.

Guest said:

I guess people got tired of clicking too much, hahaha...

Tedster Tedster, Techspot old timer....., said:

I liked playing many of their games. In fact, I still play at least one of them frequently. The problem is that in many of their games, they update them and add features too frequently making the game unenjoyable because you can't finish the last task or level. For example, farmville starting adding worlds. Citiville made it dang near impossible to expand. Now castleville is exapanding too fast with add-ons.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I totally agree with that Tedster. I've been playing Castleville with a friend, but if I'm not stocked up on a ton of Zynga Currency ("Crowns" then it takes too long to complete the tasks to progress with the game. The currency rates were also far to high of an exchange for me to justify as well. Others might enjoy it more than I and be willing to pay extra for the game, but I was not. I could maybe see $10 - $15 a month to feel as if I were completing the objectives given, but I'd expect that Zynga would have had me spending in the neighborhood of $300 a month if I tried to finish content as quickly as they were publishing.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

but I'd expect that Zynga would have had me spending in the neighborhood of $300 a month if I tried to finish content as quickly as they were publishing.
I feel that way toward any of the free-to-play games. After all they don't want to miss out on an opportunity to collect, if their is someone willing to spend over $200 a month. I find it repulsive but thats the way it is. I've just about quit playing the two on-line games I play because I can't bring myself to spend the amounts that are being ask of me. Then the idea of feeling as if I haven't purchased anything, when compared to the rest of the content available. The term "nickel and dime" doesn't even apply here because the fees are much higher.

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