Zynga to close 13 games after shakeup, reduces focus on The Ville

But which 13 games are they? That's the question on our minds after today's unfortunate layoffs of over 100 Zynga employees and the closure of its Boston Studio. Games.com News received an internal note from Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, which deals with far more than just the layoffs, as we've learned that Zynga plans to close down 13 different games in the process, and also shift its focus away from The Ville.

These 13 games are described by Pincus as being "older" games, but we still have no confirmed games to add to that list. Of course, we could speculate that games like FishVille, PetVille, YoVille and even the original Mafia Wars may be done for, but let's not also forget the large catalog of mobile games Zynga has also released over the past few years. Could games like Dream Zoo, Dream PetHouse or ForestVille also be on the chopping block?

Furthermore, what does this news mean for The Ville, which has been tied up in a copyright controversy with EA since earlier this year? Will the game remain open but stop being actively updated?

We've reached out to Zynga for comment and/or confirmation of this news, but for now, here's the complete memo.



Earlier today we initiated a number of changes to streamline our operations, focus our resources on our most strategic opportunities, and invest in our future. We waited to share this news with all of you until we had first spoken with the groups impacted.

As part of these changes, we've had to make some tough decisions around products, teams and people. I want to fill you in on what's happened and address any concerns you may have.

Here are the most important details.

We are sunsetting 13 older games and we're also significantly reducing our investment in The Ville.

We are closing the Zynga Boston studio and proposing closures of the Zynga Japan and UK studios. Additionally, we are reducing staffing levels in our Austin studio. All of these represent terrific entrepreneurial teams, which make this decision so difficult.

In addition to these studios, we are also making a small number of partner team reductions.

In all, we will unfortunately be parting ways with approximately 5% of our full time workforce. We don't take these decisions lightly as we recognize the impact to our colleagues and friends who have been on this journey with us. We appreciate their amazing contributions and will miss them.

This is the most painful part of an overall cost reduction plan that also includes significant cuts in spending on data hosting, advertising and outside services, primarily contractors.

These reductions, along with our ongoing efforts to implement more stringent budget and resource allocation around new games and partner projects, will improve our profitability and allow us to reinvest in great games and our Zynga network on web and mobile.

Zynga made social gaming and play a worldwide phenomenon, and we remain the industry leader. Our success has come from our dedication to a simple and powerful proposition – that play is not just something people do to pass time, it's a core need for every person and culture.

We will all be discussing these difficult changes more with our teams and as a company. Tomorrow, Dave and I will be hosting a post-earnings webcast (details to follow) and next week we will be discussing our broader vision and strategy during our quarterly all-hands meeting. I'm confident this puts us on the right path to deliver on the promise of social gaming and make Zynga into an internet treasure.

If you have any immediate questions, I hope you will talk directly with your manager, Colleen, or me.

I look forward to talking with you tomorrow.


Which games do you think Zynga is going to shut down as part of this move? Do you think the Ville has a long-term future on Facebook after hearing this news? Sound off in the comments!

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