Zynga lays off 100 employees during Apple event

The social-gaming developer laid off two thirds of its Austin, Texas, staff during Apple's iPad-focused media event, and closed down Sims clone The Ville.

The social-gaming developer laid off two thirds of its Austin, Texas, staff during Apple's iPad-focused media event, and has closed down Sims clone The Ville.

Screenshots from The Ville (top) and The Sims Social (bottom). (Credit: Zynga; Electronic Arts)

Things have not been going well for Zynga; over the past year, the developer has been haemorrhaging money, stock value and staff, and has been in the firing line due to the similarities between its games and the IP of other developers.

Now, overnight, in a move that seems calculated to slide under the media radar, Zynga has laid off over 100 staff from its Austin, office — around 7.7 per cent of its 1300-strong global workforce.

According to The Next Web, the developer is also discontinuing The Ville, the subject of a copyright lawsuit from EA, which claimed that the title is a clone of The Sims Social and to which Zynga filed a countersuit.

The news filtered onto the web on Twitter via Justin Maxwell, a web designer who has worked with Apple and Sony, and who is friends with some of the now ex-employees of Zynga. The layoffs included the entire teams from The Ville and Bingo, who were given just two hours to clear their desks and vacate the premises, Maxwell tweeted.

Zynga CEO Marcus Pincus confirmed the layoffs with an internal email, according to TechCrunch:

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 makes 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 per cent 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.

Zynga has not yet responded to a request for comment by our CNET colleagues.

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