Play Your Video Games
Mark Pincus is stepping down from his role as CEO and being replaced with the former head of Microsoft’s entertainment division, Don Mattrick, according to Bloomberg. Several sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that the deal could be announced as early as today, with Mr. Mattrick officially beginning the appointment on July 8th.
Screw the tasteful minimalism of Dots: I am completely, hopelessly addicted to the gloriously tacky Candy Crush.
I play it on the subway, riding the elevator, in bed trying to fall asleep at night. It’s killing my battery. I’ve resorted to begging friends for additional moves, in hopes of escaping the replicating chocolate squares of level 65.
Nor am I alone in my addiction: According to App Data, it’s currently the most popular app on Facebook. It even makes real money off in-game purchases from desperate obsessives like yours truly.
That’s really not enough to justify an IPO, though. And yet the Wall Street Journal says that’s exactly what the makers of Candy Crush want.
Exit This Way
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.
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]
Perhaps Zynga New York employees running into traffic was a harbinger of terrible things to come: AllThingsD reports that the social gaming company intends to lay off 520 people–about 18 percent of its total staff–and permanently shutter its New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices.
Lying Bitches 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, known for his rather dirty mouth, made a big slip-up at the Nebraska-based thinkfluencer festival Big Omaha today. According to Valleywag, Mr. McClure was giving a talk at the conference when he asked someone how good her iPhone battery life was. When she responded with a presumably positive answer, Mr. McClure called her a “lying bitch.” On stage. In front of tons of people.
Apple stock is down 24 percent this year. Shares slipped briefly below $400 earlier this week. [Wall Street Journal]
Did an adding error in Microsoft Excel exacerbate unemployment? [Ars Technica]
“It really is that simple–just design something great, something that users love.” Damn, someone ought’ve told Zynga. [Forbes]
Should we really be so worried about hackers? [TechDirt]
Barry Diller says, “I see the death of irrelevant media.” You think he relishes the angel of death role?[NetNewsCheck]
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.”
It should probably come as no surprise to you that Facebook has employees whose job it is to read private messages that have been flagged as inappropriate, particularly if they contain malicious URLs or child porn. [BuzzFeed]
Zynga’s first big real-money casino games, ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino, are launching this week in the U.K. At least you’ll have the potential to win actual dollars instead of spending them on virtual crops? [AllThingsD]
Apple is finally beginning iPhone production this quarter so calm down ya fanboys. [Wall Street Journal]
If you live in California, you may soon be able to know exactly what personal information your telecom company collects on you. [Ars Technica]
Happy 40th birthday to the cellphone. Oh, how far we’ve come. [The Verge]