OMG: Game over for fifth of Zynga staff

The internet gaming giant has suddenly announced it is laying off 18% of its workforce. An 'emotional and hard day', for its billionaire CEO.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

The boss of the social gaming outfit, Mark Pincus, today had to eat some humble pie as he told his trendy start-up workforce that one in five of them is about to lose their job. They probably feel rather like throwing a sheep at him. That’s a FarmVille reference, for the uninitiated. Look it up.

In a blog post – memorandums are so old school – Pincus said: ‘Today is a hard day for Zynga and an emotional one for every employee of our company.  We are saying painful goodbyes to about 18% of our Zynga brothers and sisters.  The impact of these layoffs will be felt across every group in the company.

‘None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth. But I think we all know this is necessary to move forward.’ 

Are we the only ones that think ‘brothers and sisters’ makes it ever so slightly cultish? Anyway, he said that the changing landscape of social gaming thanks to the growth of mobile devices means the company’s PC-centric model is becoming outdated. That, in turn, means some restructuring is needed. 

Of course, this day is no doubt least hard and least emotional for Pincus himself, who will remain one of the richest people on the planet with a net worth of $1.8bn. 

It’s worth noting that the firm’s much-vaunted IPO was hardly 18 months ago. Shareholders are running scared: the share price had fallen 12% at the time of writing. After all, you’ve really got to go some (in the wrong direction) to need layoffs in year two…

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