Zynga slashes games and jobs in effort to regroup

Say goodbye to "PetVille," but we'll still have "Words with Friends"

Topics: Zynga, Farmville, words with friends, Mafia Wars, Social Media, Facebook, Mobile Apps, mobile devices, technology, Internet Culture, , ,

Zynga dealt a blow to time wasters and procrastinators when it ended several of its games yesterday as part of a wider retrenchment, TechCrunch reported.

The social gaming company skyrocketed into the collective brainspace with addictive fare like the simulation “FarmVille” and “Words with Friends.” But the public markets haven’t been kind to the company. Its ongoing restructuring effort involves cutting more than 100 jobs, closing offices and eliminating more than a dozen of its titles.

TechCrunch wrote that, “Investors feared it had become bloated, free virality on Facebook had been curtailed, competitors were proliferating, and the shift of Facebook users to mobile from Zynga’s stronghold on the desktop canvas would break the company.”Zynga went public in December 2011 at $10 per share. On Monday morning it was trading at $2.37. It has not traded above $4 since July.

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Games shut down this month include “PetVille,” “Mafia Wars 2,” “FishVille,” “Vampire Wars,” and “Treasure Isle.”

TechCrunch:

These shutdowns might not seem like a big deal to everyone, but they were near cataclysmic for some players who pumped countless hours and dollars into these games. If you’d spent years tending your virtual aquarium only to have it disappear, you can imagine how disappointed or angry you’d be. Comments from gamers on the shutdown notices included things like “my daughter is heartbroken” and “Please don’t remove petville. I been playing for 4 yrs. and I’M going to miss my pet Jaime….why do you want cause depression for me and others. Why do you want to kill my pet?”

To numb the pain and try to get gamers hooked on titles that will keep running, Zynga offered people who played FishVille, Adventure World, and some other titles a free bonus package of virtual goods.

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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