Zynga lays off 100 staffers during Apple event

Josh Constine at TechCrunch:

Possibly trying to hide the grim news by announcing it during Apple’s event, we’ve just independently confirmed that Zynga has shut down its Boston office and laid off 2/3s of the employees in its Austin office

The staff had 2 hours to vacate their desks; it must have been tempting to vacate on their desks.


  1. There’s two ways to think about this:
    1. Just a coincidence, and the Apple/Zynga zealots (arguably many of the same people) are seeing a conspiracy where none really existed (after all, it is earnings report season)
    2. The PR people actually thought this would work, and didn’t understand the Streisand Effect.

    Aside from that, immediate (2 hours) is pretty SOP for developers and designers (digital code is so easy to whisk out of the building).

      1. 15 minutes to fill up a box.  15 minutes to clone mission-critical files.  90 minutes to deface and damage company property.  Seems legit.

    1.  “the Apple/Zynga zealots (arguably many of the same people) are seeing a conspiracy where none really existed”

      Yes, obviously, It’s them doing that. THEM.

    2. As an Apple Zealot I take offense. I had to google Zynga to find out what the hell it even was!

      Also, all but 2 of the layoffs I’ve been in, you are handed a box and you get a personal escort to your workspace, and you have about 5 minutes to collect your stuff while being carefully watched. They are usually more concerned with employees whisking away equipment than source code, which — let’s face it — most engineers have several back ups of lying around on their kitchen counter (one of my layoffs, however, from a small bankrupt company, the CEO himself helped me load the back of my car with all kinds of equipment and gear…)

      Layoffs suck — I wish the best for those employees. You always take the first one really hard, then the next ones are just business as usual.

      1. This is why it is so important to steal expensive office equipment long before getting laid off / fired. Do it when nobody will suspect it and that way you will have stuff to sell when the going gets rough.

    3. It did work in a way. I’m sure they expected that it would get noticed but the Apple event and Surface reviews later that night are dominating the headlines instead of “What happened to Zynga?”

    4. And it would have worked too, had it not been for that pesky Johnny Ives and his underwhelming iPad Mini….

  2. Their motto is “Be Evil”. If you got a job there, what were you expecting? Goodness?  Respect?

    This is about as shocking as that time Sylvester tried to get Tweety bird.

  3. well, after their ridiculous over estimation of the company’s worth when they became publicly traded it’s become obvious that no one at the company does anything.

  4. Kurtzmann: [on Buttle] You see? The population census has got him down as “dormanted.” Uh, the Central Collective Storehouse computer has got him down as “deleted.” 
    Sam Lowry: Hang on. 
    [goes to a computer terminal] 
    Kurtzmann: Information Retrieval has got him down as “inoperative.” And there’s another one – security has got him down as “excised.” Administration has got him down as “completed.” 
    Sam Lowry: He’s dead.

  5. I thought the plan was to wait until AFTER the election to demonstrate how continuation of current policy would lead to economic catastrophe.

  6. I’m a bit torn here.  I hate seeing people lose their jobs, especially in a mass “everyone take your stuff and get out now” manner.  But Zynga is a terrible company with awful business practices such as shamelessly cloning the game ideas and mechanics of their smaller (and larger) competitors.  But worse is the psychology of addiction that they engineer into their “social games”, with “engagement wheels” and “compulsion traps” designed not for fun but to addict players to the game and train them to spend money on it.  See http://insertcredit.com/2011/09/22/who-killed-videogames-a-ghost-story/  (And then, of course, there’s also the insider trading lawsuit against the senior executives there.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/31/zynga-insider-trading-lawsuit_n_1724410.html )  So I’m kind of left with some of the same feelings I’d have if some huge telemarketing firm announced a bunch of layoffs. 

    Hopefully all those people find a better job somewhere else.

    1. Bingo.

      To all of the former Zynga employees who’re now facing having to find a new job: That sucks, I hope you find something soon.

      To the average Zynga employees that don’t make the decisions, they just do what they’re told in exchange for a (living, I hope) wage: Start looking for alternatives now.

      To Zynga as a whole, excluding the above: The faster you and your manipulative Skinner boxes die, the better.

  7. Damn. Well, Zynga goes on my list of “companies to not apply to”, and the job market just hotted up in Austin. Darn.

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