Former OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter is bouncing back. He’s reportedly partnering with Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel to create a mobile entertainment startup. [Business Insider]
Layoffs are expected to hit Aol’s Patch unit today. [AllThingsD]
Square’s spacious new San Francisco headquarters supposedly has the city’s largest roof deck. [Wired]
Sony received the greenlight to stream Viacom channels on its new Internet TV service. [New York Times]
Birchbox’s ecommerce sales are on track to triple this year and it has no plans to raise additional funding. [TechCrunch]
Exit This Way
JOBS After much anticipation and even more blather about how Ashton Kutcher prepared for his role as the founder of Apple, Betabeat finally got a peak at Jobs earlier this week, at a special screening at the MoMa.
Outside, we watched Josh Gad (who plays Steve Wozniak) stroll up and start taking photos with waiting fans. He was followed by Matt McGorry, a.k.a Officer Bennett from Orange is the New Black. Apparently Arianna Huffington and Nicky Hilton were also in attendance.
When news came down yesterday that Zynga was shuttering three of its locations and laying off 18 percent of its staff, employees in the New York office, many of whom joined the social gaming behemoth following the acquisition of an indie game studio named OMGPOP, were prepared for the worst.
According to an OMGPOP employee who was laid off yesterday, the office seemed like it was winding down over the past few months. Zynga’s VP of mobile, Sean Kelly, who had been tapped to replace OMGPOP cofounder Dan Porter, was rarely around the office, and though he had charged the teams with brainstorming ideas for new games just two weeks ago, he didn’t follow up with a roadmap to help guide their new game concepts into fruition.
After building that enormous $9 million set for his John William Waterhouse dream wedding in an “ecologically sensitive area” without the proper permits, Sean Parker has to cough up $2.5 million in fines. [San Jose Mercury News]
The Chicago Sun Times fired its entire photography department last week. But don’t you worry: They’re now training reporters to shoot using iPhones. Enjoy your grainy, poorly lit news coverage, Chicago! [The Verge]
Scenes from a layoff: “A tech recruiter named Trent Krupp from DeveloperAuction, chasing fresh — and perhaps raw — leads had dropped off business cards for the bartenders to hand out. He left an open bar: two free drinks for anyone from Zynga.” [BuzzFeed]
Speaking of, OMGPOP reportedly took a sword to the belly during Zynga’s Red Wedding. [The Verge]
A few tips on surviving the Series A crunch from a professed casualty. [Sean Percival]
Twitter’s 30-minute outage yesterday was due to “an error in a routine change.” Sounds like somebody goofed! [Reuters]
Exit This Way
You’ve got to wonder what employee happy hours are like in the legendarily intense environs of Zynga. (We’re gonna guess testy.) A couple days ago, the company announced the departure of New York GM Dan Porter, and former employees are already dishing to Fast Company. A lot of former Zynga staffers, it seems, are ready to trash talk the OMGPOP acquisition, which cost Zynga a $95.5 million write-down.
One former employee complained to Fast Company, ”They bought it at the peak [of Draw Something], and people got tired of the gameplay quickly and the usership dropped. We got the timing wrong.”
Place Your Bets
Dan Porter, the former CEO of New York-based gaming company OMGPOP which was purchased by Zynga in March of last year, has left the company, according to a release obtained by Betabeat.
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.”
Exit This Way
Social gaming company Zynga has endured a rough couple of months. After its acquisition of the NYC-based company OMGPOP–producers of the fad-friendly game Draw Something–Zynga has experienced a downward spiral. Earlier this month, it reported an estimated net loss of $90 million to $105 million for its third quarter, sending its already-low stock price into a tailspin. Now, The Next Web reports that the company has laid off 100 staffers from its Austin headquarters, and may even be shuttering its Boston office altogether.
Be Like the Virus
It looks like the Cinderella story that was Zynga’s $183 million acquisition of the long-suffering (and then suddenly desirable) startup OMGPOP may not have a fairy tale ending. The social gaming giant released ”preliminary financial results” this afternoon, ahead of its third-quarter earnings report and the downgraded forecast sent the stock price down 19 percent in after-hours trading.
The results say that Zynga expects a net loss between $90 million and $105 million for the third quarter. One reason for their lowered expectations? Zynga said it expects an $85 million and $95 million write-down on its purchase of New York City-based OMGPOP, the makers of Draw Something.
Pictionary-like game Draw Something continues to endure a steep decline in players. AppData reports that since March, the number of users logging into the app via Facebook has fallen from 14.5 million a day to 7.6 million, almost halving Draw Something’s daily active users.
With interest in the game quickly ebbing, the Wall Street Journal reports today that Zynga is attempting to justify the $183 million it spent to acquire Draw Something and its parent company OMGPOP by tacking on yet more ads to the flailing game. Because if there’s one thing game players love, it’s ads, obviously.