‘Their Business Strategy Is Terrible:’ Fired Zynga Employee Takes to Reddit for Tell-All AMA

(Photo: Imgur)

It wasn’t long after Zynga announced it would be laying off 18 percent of its staff that fired employees began to speak to the press. But one enterprising ex-Zyngaite decided to circumvent the traditional media route by hosting his own AMA on Reddit.

“What do you want to know about Zynga?” wrote the poster under the handle former_zyngite. “I’ll try to be as honest and open as possible.” As proof of his identity, the poster included a photo of his layoff paperwork. Read More

Forget That Fake Money

Meet Your New Addiction: Derby Jackpot, an OTB for Casual Gamers, Lets You Bet on Actual Horse Races

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“Any horse that has the name ‘Awesome’ in it? I bet on it!” Walter Hessert told us earlier this week from inside one of those noise cancel-ish sofa pods in the south wing of General Assembly. Also present in said pod: his brother Thomas Hessert. Along with a third brother (Bill) and their CTO Eric Gay (no relation), the Hesserts are the cofounders behind Derby Jackpot, an addictive online game that almost made Betabeat late for our meeting.

Showing up for an appointment seemed more professional than waiting to see if we’d parlayed the $2 offered to beta users into something more, so we sucked it up and hopped on the N. But it was a heady example of why companies like Zynga are counting on real money gaming to offer real revenue in the otherwise hits-dependent social gaming industry that relies on ad revenue or virtual sheep.  Read More

Forget That Fake Money

New Deal with Zynga Shows That Facebook Wants to Keep Its Frenemies Close When It Comes to Real-Money Gaming


Both Facebook and Zynga filed documents with the SEC today detailing the terms of a new, more lax partnership. The two-year-old contract between the once interdependent companies–just check out their IPO filings–was slated to expire.

Under the loosened agreement, Zynga is free of a number of obligations, including implementing Facebook credits on Zynga game pages and using Facebook as its exclusive social platform. Naturally Zynga is interested in establishing its own network, with the ability to own its own players and establish its own ad relationships. Zynga also no longer has to display Facebook ad units, for example.

But Facebook also got one (big!) thing: the ability to develop its own games. That might explain why Zynga stock is trading almost 13 percent down after hours.  Read More

New Deal

Zynga CFO Dave Wehner Departs for Facebook as Social Gaming Company Shuffles Execs


David Wehner is out at Zynga and David Ko is up, as the social gaming company shook up its C-suite in an announcement after stock markets closed.

Mr. Wehner, who’s served as the company’s chief financial officer since coming over from investment bank Allen & Co. in 2010, may have lost Wall Street’s confidence after Zynga’s share price plummeted nearly 80 percent since the FarmVille maker’s IPO at $10 last December.

He’s not the first high-level employee to leave Zynga in recent months, nor have the departures been limited to the top executives: Zynga laid off about 150 employees last month, and it said it would shut down 13 games. Read More

Place Your Bets

After Significant Layoffs, Zynga Officially Rolls the Dice on Real Money Gaming in 2013

Mr. Pincus (Photo: Wikipedia)

After two big blows in succession–downgraded earnings forecasts, followed by 5 percent layoffs and the end of its studios in Boston, Japan, and the UK–Zynga’s third quarter earnings report exceeded the Street’s “rock bottom expectations.” That might explain why after hours trading is currently up 13.6 percent.

Zynga had predicted a net loss of $90 to $105 million for the third quarter, but only reported a net loss of $52.7 million. The company attributed part of that loss on a $95.5 million impairment charge on its acquisition of OMGPOP, the New York City-based makers of Draw Something. Zynga also said that a 28 percent sequential decrease in monthly unique payers (MUPs) from the second quarter (4.1 million) to the third quarter (3 million) as “largely driven by Draw Something.” Read More


Zynga Hires Online Gambling Vet, Everyone Gets Psyched for CasinoVille

You know what happens to Joe Pesci at the end, right? (Photo: Wikipedia)

Things are not going so hot for Zynga. The company bought Draw Something, and people promptly stopped playing it. Employees are complaining on Quora, and high-level execs are decamping to greener pastures. The stock is, pardon our crassness, in the crapper. Things are so bad over there, it must be enough to make Zuckerberg and Mason feel downright blissful.

Something must be done, and it looks like that something will be the time-honored money-maker of high plains drifters and mob bosses alike: gambling. Read More