Sea change at Zynga: As its COO steps out, hardcore games step in

FarmVille sad cow
FarmVille sad cow

In a classic case of "when it rains, it pours," recently-appointed Zynga COO John Schappert has left the company completely. All Things D reports that Schappert has stepped down from his role and has left the FarmVille maker's board of directors, effective immediately. The announcement was made recently in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

"We can confirm that John Schappert has left Zynga and its Board of Directors effective immediately," Zynga CEO and founder Mark Pincus said in a statement. "John has made significant contributions to the games industry throughout his career and we appreciate all that he has done for Zynga. John leaves as a friend of the company and we wish him all the best."

This follows last week's news that Schappert handed game oversight duties to Mr. Pincus himself, with two execs that previously reported to the former COO now answering the chief. But this might not be the only move that Zynga is making to save the farm amid a tumbling stock and multiple lawsuits (one being with Schappert's former company).

Business Insider reports, citing nameless sources, that Zynga is interested in games tailored for the "hardcore" or traditional gaming crowd. (And we're not talking published games like the upcoming Horn, but in-house creations.) Companies like Kixeye have made a name for themselves doing just that, and it's said that their games make quite the pretty penny. One question: How does Zynga plan to escape the stigma it's created with the hardcore crowd?

Will these moves be enough to keep Zynga as top dog? Would you play a "hardcore" Zynga game? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.