Massive Layoffs at Zynga Prove FarmVille’s Going the Way of Actual Farms
We had to sell Bessie the Belted Cow to the bank for only 10 measly farm coins.
Remember when you couldn’t go anywhere on the Internet without someone either loudly proclaiming their love for the Zynga Facebook game FarmVille or making a snide ironic joke about its existence? Their turn-based Facebook games haven’t exactly made waves in the news since then, and we’ve all been pretty happy about that. Everybody except Zynga, of course, which had to lay off around 500 people yesterday as a result. Wow, who’d have thought that a business based entirely on offering useless virtual goods for actual money would be unsustainable?
All schadenfreude aside, this is really unfortunate news for the 18% of Zynga’s workforce that are suddenly out of a job. Offices in New York, Dallas, and LA have already been shut down, and word is that OMGPOP, which Zynga bought only last year for $200 million, is already on the chopping block — that is, if it isn’t dead already.
In a post on the company blog, CEO Mark Pincus writes, “None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth.” I was under the impression that Zynga’s culture was about ripping off ideas for Facebook apps from other smaller companies and then marketing them to death, but I guess you could call that growth. Maybe you should have slowed down before you got the bright idea to release board game versions of all your games? If people were going to buy the board game for Draw Something, they would already own Scrabble.
Zynga hopes that by preemptively downsizing their workforce before their situation gets too dire, they’ll be able to bounce back from this and continue on with their “quality player experience.” At least they’re offering all their newly fired workers a very generous severance package, which they totally deserve after the sheer amount of crap they must have gotten for working at Zynga.