Game developer and publisher, Zynga, looks to be in serious trouble as CEO, Mark Pincus, reveals plans to shut down studios in Boston, the UK, and Japan. The firm is also “sunsetting” 13 games and laying off over 100 staff at its Austin studio. The remaining workforce will be cut by 5 percent.
The company will also be scaling back support for The Ville which is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with EA. Industry giant EA feels the game is a little too close to its The Sims Social release.
After a meteoric rise based on an incredibly fast-growing player base, Zynga has been in decline for a while now as its stock price has been on the slide. It also spent $200 million to acquire developer OMGPOP based on the success of Draw Something and that’s now looking like a very expensive acquisition.
Many people will feel this is karma of some kind. Zynga has been strongly criticized in the past for cloning rival’s games, spamming people with notifications, and generally chasing profit rather than seeking to turn out great games. Whether you believe that or not Zynga had certainly been working to reverse that impression and hired some well-respected industry veterans over the last couple of years.
The company has released a number of successful games on the Android platform including Words with Friends, Zombie Smash, Zynga Poker, and Horn, but it is best known for Facebook games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars.
Has Zynga failed with a strategy of copying and buying its way to success or did it simply expand too fast? There’s no suggestion that its San Francisco headquarters is in any danger and it has a roster of successful games still out there so this is far from the end of Zynga.