Zynga lays off ‘more than 100’ employees during Apple event

The Ville

In case you weren’t aware, this morning Apple unveiled its latest devices, including a new 13-inch MacBook Pro and the iPad Mini. Given the site you’re currently reading it’s likely that you were following the event with rapt attention and already knew about all of this. However, obscured by this news is far less pleasant word that Zynga (the people behind Farmville and a number of other suspiciously derivative yet wildly successful casual games) has laid off a huge number of employees.

Before we get to the conspiracy theories or specific impact reports, you should have a look at the tweet that initially broke this news. Former Apple employee Justin Maxwell tweeted the following shortly before 11AM PST this morning:

Zynga just laid off 100+ employees (incl. my friends) in its Austin office during the Apple Event. Gave them 2 hours to vacate. RT please.

This rumor then sent gaming journalists scurrying for verification and while we’d like to say it was a hoax, the facts say otherwise. According to TechCrunch, Zynga’s Boston office has been completely shuttered, while “there are still about 1/3 of the workers still around the Austin office.” Hit hardest in Austin are the development teams working on The Ville (pictured above) and Zynga Bingo. According to The Verge, the extent of the layoffs is even worse than initially thought: “A second source has confirmed there were layoffs in Austin, Chicago, and Boston today,” The Verge claims

As one might expect, Zynga is being completely silent on the matter. We have attempted to contact the company’s representatives, but have yet to receive a response. Given that the company is no doubt being bombarded with the same questions over and over again by various journalists and has yet to say anything in its own defense, we honestly doubt we’re going to hear anything.

Obviously it’s always terrible news when people are laid off, but these particular mass firings weren’t at all unexpected. Zynga has been going through a rough time lately, both because The Ville has been hemorrhaging users like a hemophiliac bullfighter and because EA sued Zynga over the similarities between its SimCity Social and The Ville. Given Zynga’s history of stealing design concepts from popular games, then bullying their creators with legal threats, this is very, very bad news for the company. Most of the firms and people Zynga finds itself in court with don’t really have the finances to defend themselves against Zynga’s lawyers, but EA is one of the biggest gaming publishers in the world. It certainly has the cash and legal resources to combat Zynga and given how much revenue the SimCity franchise has brought in over the years, we doubt EA’s legal team has been instructed to show mercy or compassion.

Regardless of how inevitable these layoffs may have been, their timing comes as very suspicious to most observers. We don’t want to attempt to ascribe motivations to the company that haven’t been confirmed, but legions of Internet cynics believe that Zynga timed these layoffs to coincide with the Apple event specifically so that the tech and gaming industry would be focused on new tablets and ultra thin computers instead of the unceremonious fashion in which Zynga dropped a bunch of its employees. 

Believe that theory or not, it’s entirely up to you, but what is not debatable is that over 100 people now find themselves jobless. Here’s hoping everyone can find new employment quickly.

Computing

Acer gives Predator, Nitro gaming notebooks CPU and GPU upgrades

Acer's latest gaming notebooks will be getting a processor and graphics boost. The company announced that Intel's ninth-generation mobile CPU and Nvidia's GTX 1660 Ti will land on the Predator Helios 300, Nitro 7, and Nitro 5 laptops.
Movies & TV

First reactions say that Avengers: Endgame will make you laugh and cry

The events of Avengers: Infinity War changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some big ways and left fans wondering how its heroes can possibly recover. Here's everything we know about Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Infinity War.
Movies & TV

Best new podcasts of the week of April 13, 2019: Spacebridge and more

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series, we’ll help you pick out the best of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include a spacebridge, love advice, Topher Grace, and bite-sized history.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Here's our guide to becoming a master of Fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11

Fatalities are the bread and butt of any Mortal Kombat game, and they're particularly brutal in Mortal Kombat 11. Here's how to do Fatalities in the game, and how you can unlock new ones.
Gaming

Anthem update 1.1.0 adds new stronghold, subtracts need to visit Fort Tarsis

Anthem update version 1.1.0 patch notes reveal overhauled mechanics that allow players to stay in the fight longer and even change weapons without going to Fort Tarsis or the Launch Bay.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla taxis, NYC auto show, and Sony’s 8K TV

On the latest episode of DT Live, we discuss Tesla's autonomous taxi plans, a Face ID lawsuit against Apple,, choosing imperfect produce, the release of Mortal Kombat 11, sustainable fashion, and more.
Gaming

These great games will make you pull out your PSP again

Grab your PlayStation Portable and take a look at some of our favorite games for the aging PSP, including entries in the God of War, Ratchet & Clank, and Grand Theft Auto franchises.
Gaming

You can now stream PS4 games on your PC using Remote Play (and here’s how)

Remote Play is one of the PlaySation 4's most intriguing features. This guide will show you how to properly set up Remote Play, so you can start streaming your PS4 games on your PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac, or Xperia device.
Computing

AMD's upcoming Navi graphics cards are incoming. Here's what to expect

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

Working hard or hardly working? Do it right with these versatile PC desks

Looking for a new piece of furniture that will fit in your office, dorm, or gaming cave? Here are some of our favorite computer desks on the market, whether you're a serious gamer looking for an upgrade, or just moved into a new space.
Gaming

From the most 'Toasty!' to the least, here are the Mortal Kombat games ranked

The Mortal Kombat franchise has provided shocking delights and spilled copious pints of blood since 1992. With Mortal Kombat 11 out now for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, we decided to rank the mainline fighting series from best to worst.
Gaming

Collected ’em all? Here are 10 collection-based RPGs Pokémon fans should try

The Pokémon games offer more than 700 monsters to catch and train, sure, but what do you do once you've caught 'em all? These 10 Pokémon-style games will help you find your next fix when need a new set of critters to catch and train.