Social game star Zynga slashes staff, closes studios

Social game star Zynga slashes staff, closes studios

SAN FRANCISCO - Struggling social games star Zynga on Monday said it is cutting 18 per cent of its staff to focus on mobile play.

"Today is a hard day for Zynga and an emotional one for every employee of our company," founder Mark Pincus said in a blog post as the company cut 520 jobs and closed several of the San Francisco-based company's studios.

Zynga shares slid more than 10 per cent to US$3.06 (S$3.7) on the news.

The layoffs would be felt across the entire company, according to Pincus.

"None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth,' Pincus said.

"But I think we all know this is necessary to move forward."

The company has been pulling the plug on unpopular games and investing in titles for play on smartphones or tablets, as well as its own online arena at zynga.com.

Zynga rose to stardom by tailoring games for play by friends on Facebook.

The company has also made moves into real-money gaming with the potential to generate windfalls from popular titles such as Zynga Poker.

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