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. Read more

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. Read more

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”. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Two trends clear in Facebook’s IPO filing on Wednesday were the inexorable rise in importance of digital-based gaming revenues and the growth in mobile – we learned Zynga was a key revenue-generator for Facebook and half of Facebook’s members were now users of its mobile products .

Earnings and data from Electronic Arts, THQ and Japan’s Gree over the past 24 hours further emphasise that the old order of disc-based console gaming will have a declining share of consumers’ attention, as consoles become more general entertainment boxes and smartphones and tablets proliferate. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The social gaming leader Zynga has lured away another top Electronic Arts executive, hiring Barry Cottle (pictured) as head of business development.

The news represents a blow to EA, which lost its chief operating officer John Schappert last April when he took up the same position at Zynga. Mr Cottle was head of Interactive at EA, covering the mobile and social gaming areas where EA is in direct competition with Zynga. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga employees showed up for work in their hundreds at least three hours early on Friday – encouragement perhaps for all its new shareholders on its opening day on the market that the social gaming company is already working hard to provide a return on their investment.

However, the 5am start was more of an excuse to celebrate Zynga’s IPO – the Nasdaq had moved its “opening bell” button for the start of trading to Zynga HQ – the first time it had come to San Francisco for such a ceremony. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has announced that Owen Van Natta, the former Facebook executive and chief executive of MySpace, has resigned from his position as Chief Business Officer at the leading social gaming company ahead of its IPO, surrendering 4.64m share options in the process.

The news came in a regulatory filing detailing management changes and new numbers on users – the kind of detail requested by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a public offering nears. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Downloads of Android’s apps overtook those of Apple’s iOS apps in the second quarter of 2001, Business Insider reports. According to figures from ABI Research, the market shares of Android and iOS were 44% and 31% respectively. However, Apple still gets more downloads per user than Android. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has updated its IPO filing with a breakdown of the sales contributions from its most popular games – FarmVille, FrontierVille, CityVille, Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker – as it faces questions on whether its games cannibalise one another and on how it will maintain its record of success.

The leading social gaming company also announced it would list on the Nasdaq rather than the New York Stock Exchange, with a ticker symbol of ZNGA, although the timing is still unknown. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga reduced the odds of its IPO on Wednesday as it revealed worsening financial numbers and complained of market volatility.

The social gaming company is earning less but is still worth more, according to an amended IPO filing . Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Amazon is in discussions with book publishers about a Netflix-style service for digital books, in which customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content, the Wall Street Journal reports. Amazon would offer book publishers a fee for participating in the service, sources told the WSJ. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga, which reportedly prepared the fastest IPO filing in history, is being a little more circumspect about its actual debut on a fragile stock market. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Apple is to phase out access to the unique device identifier, or UDID, on devices such as iPhones and iPads in the next update to its iOS mobile software, according to TechCrunch. The UDID is used by mobile ad and game networks or any app that needs to identify its users. If it is scrapped, companies would have to create their own unique identifiers to keep track of their users. This, TechCrunch warns, would mean companies may well have to get rid of all of their historical user data and start from scratch. Read more