Everybody's favourite casual gaming firm, Zynga, yesterday laid off around 150 employees, shuttering its studios in the UK, Japan and Boston in the process. The axe reportedly also fell on employees at the company's Austin and Massachusetts studios, in a brutal cull which took the rank and file by surprise and left them only two hours to clear their desks. Ouch.
It sounds like a particularly bitter pill for the Boston team, who, TechCrunch report , were on the verge of releasing a new product which had been the source of much enthusiasm within the company. It looks like that will now never see the light of day.
The announcement follows a series of high-profile departures from the company over the course of the summer, and no shortage of rumours regarding the working conditions to be found at Zynga. It's been a pretty calamitous year for a company that was valued at $7 billion dollars back in December 2011. Since then, Zynga's stock has collapsed from $10 dollars a share to a miserable $2.20, taking a hit with Facebook's IPO launch, gradually crumbling under the abrasion of multiple high-profile IP lawsuits, and then tumbling off a cliff with the ludicrous $200 million plus acquisition of OMGPOP, developer of the fleetingly popular but otherwise obviously crap Draw Something.
The Telegraph has a particularly bleak perspective on all of this, interviewing a (presumably Cockney) serial tech stock investor, who says: "From the investment side, the professionals know that this is just a high-beta play – ride the wave while it's going up and jump off just before the muppets get burned. The retail investors, as usual, are screwed."