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Zynga lays off 18-percent of its staff [updated]


UPDATE: It seems that the cuts have already begun, with the New York City-based OMGPOP studio closed and most of its staff laid off. The news spills out of a flurry of tweets, from the official OMGPOP feed, from community manager Joseph Alminawi, and from now-former VP Ali Nicolas. This comes slightly more than a year after Zynga acquired the Draw Something dev for $200 million.

ORIGINAL POST: After a meteoric rise followed by an epic decline, Zynga’s workforce will be cut by 18-percent, or more than 500 people, between now and August 2013, GamesBeat confirms. The struggling San Francisco-based social game provider is also set to close its offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas in effort to reduce infrastructure costs all throughout the company. The news was initially attributed to “sources close to the situation,” but the company later stepped up to confirm.

The move speaks to a redefined focus at Zynga toward mobile, and away from Web-based content of the sort that you see on Facebook. Income is coming too slowly from the former and dwindling too rapidly from the latter. Social networks were, for a time, the juggernaut behind the company’s meteoric rise, but tastes have shifted now in the direction of mobile platforms.

This unfortunate turn of events is only the latest in a recent string of troubles. Zynga shut down four of its games in April 2013, and canceled two upcoming titles that were reportedly bet on heavily. Months earlier, in December 2012, the company shuttered 11 of its older, less profitable games. Social games in general took a big hit in 2012, with a whopping $1 billion drop in investments over the course of the year. 

Hope springs from the newly streamlined business turning the bulk of its attention to the mobile space, but there’s no indication right now of specific content plans. There’s also no word on how the restructuring might impact currently active social games, though it’s a safe bet that strong earners like FarmVille won’t be going anywhere.

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