Zynga

Chris Nuttall

Zynga appears to have wasted the $200m it was understood to have paid last year for OMGPop – with the Draw Something maker’s New York office being reportedly shut down as part of the restructuring announced this week.

It had already written down the March 2012 acquisition by around $90m last October as the drawing game’s popularity waned. Zynga is laying off 18 per cent of its global workforce – around 520 people – as it tries to shift the focus of its business away from Facebook to mobile games. One alleged victim of the cuts has been sounding off on Reddit over the past few hours about his experience at Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters. 

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has announced a management reshuffle following another significant departure from its executive ranks.

The leading social gaming company said Dave Wehner, its chief financial officer, had resigned and was joining Facebook. The company lost John Schappert, its chief operating officer, and Jeff Karp, chief marketing officer, in recent months, among a string of executive departures as Zynga reported disappointing earnings and its share price plummeted. 

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has acquired the Silicon Valley game developer A Bit Lucky as it tries to attract players more eager to spend money on its social games.

Rivals such as Kixeye have been monetising at much better rates than Zynga by making games that appeal to hard-core gamers. Zynga has focused on casual players to date, but it described its acquisition as a “mid-core” (whatever that means!), “multi-platform games developer”. No financial details were released, but Zynga described the deal as “small”. 

Chris Nuttall

Two more executives have left Zynga, the leading social gaming company whose stock has lost 70 per cent of its value since going public in December.

There has been a string of departures this month after the San Francisco-based company issued disappointing quarterly results and its stock price continued to slide. The latest to leave are vice presidents Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle. 

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

As Facebook’s lock-up period expired this week, its stock price tumbled, fueling concerns that the social networking site may crack under further pressure from investors to expand its revenue streams. 

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has announced the resignation of John Schappert, its Chief Operating Officer (pictured left as his Zynga character), in a sign that the social gaming company is wrestling to recover from its poor financial performance.

Mr Schappert quit on Wednesday, with the company stating in an SEC filing that his resignation was not because of any disagreement over Zynga’s operations, policies or practices. 

Facebook’s second full week of trading ended just as dismally as the first, and it wasn’t the only one that was ailing. Tech stocks across the board, from Zynga to Groupon, were down. While this was partly a result of a broader market decline, doubts about social media’s money-making potential have taken hold on Wall Street. 

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts has criticised its social gaming rival Zynga for paying high prices for “instant one-hit wonders” that give it a “temporary lead” in the charts.

John Riccitiello, chief executive, also used EA’s quarterly earnings call with analysts on Monday to argue the success of EA’s own digital and social strategy, defend falling subscriber numbers for its Star Wars online game and announce a big investment in next-generation console games. Details after the jump. 

Richard Waters

Is Zynga hopelessly exposed to the hit-driven nature of the games business, or do its scale and business model give it a sustainable competitive edge?

Depending on your point of view, its acquisition on Wednesday of OMGPOP, maker of the red-hot game Draw Something, could be used to support either side of this argument. 

Chris Nuttall

It’s nice to see social gaming companies being sociable with one another – employees of Wooga, the third largest on Facebook, were mingling happily at Zynga’s headquarters on Wednesday night during its Happy Hour as part of the 2012 Game Developers Conference, being held here in San Francisco this week.

Mark Pincus, Zynga chief executive, held an off-the-record dinner with we the media in another part of this rented building, which Zynga said on Monday it would now buy for $228m. I had on-the-record chats with Zynga’s three closest rivals Electronic Arts, Wooga and King.com on the fringes of GDC, with King.com’s CEO revealing its plans to join Zynga in going public. Highlights from those conversations after the jump.