Zynga Lays Off More Than 100 Game Developers [Updated]

Zynga may have shut down their Boston office entirely and performed significant layoffs in their Austin office this afternoon, reports say.

Boston-area game developers are reporting on Twitter that Zynga Boston has been completely shuttered today. The Boston studio, known as Conduit Labs before being acquired by Zynga in 2010, created the Indiana Jones Adventure World Facebook game.

Reports are also beginning to surface of major layoffs at Zynga's Chicago office, and at Zynga Austin:

Zynga's Austin office created city-building game The Ville, the subject of a lawsuit by SimCity owners EA.

Gamasutra is confirming the reports of the Austin layoffs.

The news about the studio closures and layoffs began to circulate during Apple's big press conference, in a piece of timing not unlike THQ's decision earlier this year to announce layoffs during the first day of E3.

We have asked Zynga for comment and will update as soon as we hear back.

Update: Zynga chief Mark Pincus just sent this note to his company:



Earlier today we initiated a number of changes to streamline our operations, focus our resources on our most strategic opportunities, and invest in our future. We waited to share this news with all of you until we had first spoken with the groups impacted.

As part of these changes, we've had to make some tough decisions around products, teams and people. I want to fill you in on what's happened and address any concerns you may have.

Here are the most important details.

We are sunsetting 13 older games and we're also significantly reducing our investment in The Ville.

We are closing the Zynga Boston studio and proposing closures of the Zynga Japan and UK studios. Additionally, we are reducing staffing levels in our Austin studio. All of these represent terrific entrepreneurial teams, which make this decision so difficult.

In addition to these studios, we are also making a small number of partner team reductions.

In all, we will unfortunately be parting ways with approximately 5% of our full time workforce. We don't take these decisions lightly as we recognise the impact to our colleagues and friends who have been on this journey with us. We appreciate their amazing contributions and will miss them.

This is the most painful part of an overall cost reduction plan that also includes significant cuts in spending on data hosting, advertising and outside services, primarily contractors.

These reductions, along with our ongoing efforts to implement more stringent budget and resource allocation around new games and partner projects, will improve our profitability and allow us to reinvest in great games and our Zynga network on web and mobile.

Zynga made social gaming and play a worldwide phenomenon, and we remain the industry leader. Our success has come from our dedication to a simple and powerful proposition — that play is not just something people do to pass time, it's a core need for every person and culture.

We will all be discussing these difficult changes more with our teams and as a company. Tomorrow, Dave and I will be hosting a post-earnings webcast (details to follow) and next week we will be discussing our broader vision and strategy during our quarterly all-hands meeting. I'm confident this puts us on the right path to deliver on the promise of social gaming and make Zynga into an internet treasure.

If you have any immediate questions, I hope you will talk directly with your manager, Colleen, or me.

I look forward to talking with you tomorrow.



    The only reason why I'm not 100% critical of these guys was the fact that they hired developers in an increasingly tough economy. Now they're losing even that silver lining.

    Let me guess - will all these people who have been laid off will now get snapped up by EA? Then will Zynga try and sue EA (again?) for stealing employees/trade secrets/lunch money?

      To be honest, even if EA did hire some of them, they're basically going from one insecure job to another, given EA's habits with studio closures and layoffs.

    By hire developers you mean steal other developer ideas so they didn't have to pay for it.
    They don't have one single original IP

    "We are sunsetting 13 older games"
    TRANSLATION: We are axing 13 older games, including associated staff, and liquidating whatever assets were attached to it.
    "we’re also significantly reducing our investment in The Ville."
    TRANSLATION: We're cutting our losses; project is cancelled. Please give security your ID pass so they can collect any personal items from your office for you.

    Wow, the guys in the higher tiers of zynga really think they are good, honest, professional people.
    Never seen so much delusion in all my life.

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