Zynga Lays Off a Fifth of its Staff in Move to Mobile

| 4 Jun 2013 13:01

The once-great publisher of FarmVille once again faces strife.

It seemed it was only yesterday that you were being barraged by Farmville notifications from distant branches of your family. Two years ago, Zynga was everywhere, but the heavyweight social gaming developer has seen a steady decline in its value, today culminating in numerous staff layoffs.

The news comes by way of All Things D, which reports that the Zynga offices in New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles are all being shuttered. Until today, 2,900 people worked on titles such as Farmville 2, CityVille, and Cafe World. That number's now been cut down by 520 employees, representing an 18% rate of layoffs and a saving of $80 million in staff costs.

FarmVille 2

FarmVille lets players cultivate their farms by plowing, planting and harvesting crops and trees. Players also care for their farm animals: milking their cows and collecting eggs from their chickens.

According to a company email shared on the Zynga blog, CEO and founder Mark Pincus attributes the mass layoffs to the company's recent refocusing on the mobile gaming market.

"I think we all know this is necessary to move forward," he explains. "The scale that served us so well in building and delivering the leading social gaming service on the Web is now making it hard to successfully lead across mobile and multiplatform, which is where social games are going to be played."

He continues, "Our opportunity is to make mobile gaming truly social by offering people new, fun ways to meet, play and connect. By reducing our cost structure today we will offer our teams the runway they need to take risks and develop these breakthrough new social experiences."

There's no word on how Zynga's existing repertoire of social games will be affected by the layoffs today, but I'd advise you to spend your money wisely. Zynga has already performed two cullings of its games, shutting down big names such as PetVille and Mafia Wars 2. In a move to mobile, it's hard to say how much longer our favorite Facebook games might remain.

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