Zynga lays off 18% of its staff, "necessary to move forward," says CEO

Katie Williams at

We've come a long way from Zynga's farm-planning heydays. Following last year's closure of three Zynga studios and the subsequent discontinuation of eleven browser-based titles, Zynga continues to downsize. Maybe it's about time to admit that taking "inspiration" from other games just isn't that profitable after all. The official reason for the layoffs, says founder and CEO Mark Pincus, is so that Zynga can focus more on "mobile and multiplatform" gaming.

Zynga on copying social games: "the debate about originality is vastly overblown"

Omri Petitte at

Social gaming titan Zynga isn't known for diversity in its products. It often deals with accusations of cloning popular games from other developers—app studio NimbleBit's response to a Zynga game uncannily similar to its Tiny Tower sim is perhaps the best sarcasm-laden example. But in an open letter on the company's website (via Eurogamer), Zynga New York boss Dan Porter claims that in the world of social gaming, everyone copies everyone else.

Zynga shut down 11 games, close Japanese studio

Phil Savage at

Troubled Facebook game/vacuous money-trap maker Zynga is rushing to cut costs in the wake of its fast falling share price. TechCrunch are reporting that 11 titles are being shut down, including PetVille, Mafia Wars 2, and Vampire Wars, among others. FarmVille remains safe. I know you were worried.

One developer's account of how he cheated his way on-stage at GDC

Tom Francis at

Flash game developer Ryan Creighton wasn't on the panel for the Social Game Developer's Rant session at GDC last week. Nor did he have anything he particularly wanted to get off his chest. But the panel played a game with the audience: whoever could amass the most tokens, given to every audience member, would win the right to speak on stage.

And by the time Ryan won the game, he had something to rant about.

Farmville launched as a "minimum viable product". Took 32.5 million users in one day

Matt Purslow at

Zynga have revealed that they launched Farmville as the most 'minimum viable product' possible.

Mark Skaggs, Vice President of Product Development at Zynga, explained that at the game's inception at GDC today. The philosophy for its development was "Fast, light and right". Skaggs commented that at the beginning his idea was “Lets just go for it, get it done as fast as possible. Pedal to the metal.” Read on for some astonishing figures on FarmVille's rapid growth and domination of the Facebook game scene.

FarmVille developer worth '$10billion'

Matt Purslow at

Zynga - the developer behind Facebook phenomenon FarmVille - is worth close to $10billion according to recent investment discussions.

In an article over at The New York Times, the casual social game developer is said to attract 275 million users to it's titles, which also includes CityVille. Such figures make it one of the major contributors to Facebook's revenue stream.

What do you make of this? Do you think this a triumph worth celebrating, or do you believe - like Jonathan Blow - that social games are 'evil'? Discuss in the comments!

[via CVG]