Zynga New York Is Back With a New Game at No. 1 in the Apple App Store [UPDATE]

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UPDATE: Yesterday evening after our post went up, Zynga’s What’s the Phrase moved from no. 3 to no. 1  for top free games in Apple’s App Store and is currently holding down the top spot.

Zynga New York hasn’t always had the chummiest relationship with Zynga’s corporate office back in San Francisco. The East Coast outpost was formed a year ago after Mark Pincus acquired OMGPOP and its mobile juggernaut Draw Something–installing OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter as general manager.

Things started to sour last fall when Zynga blamed a $95.5 million write down on its $183 million OMGPOP acquisition for a bad quarter. But after a round of office closures, Zynga New York remained open, which is in line with gaming giant catching the all-mobile-all-the-time bug from Mark Zuckerberg. COO David Ko (Mr. Pincus’ no. 2 man) also continues to speak highly of Draw Something and the upcoming, Ryan Seacrest-approved Draw Something 2.

Soon he may have even more to crow about to wary Zynga shareholdersRead More


Zynga Tries Again With Draw Something 2, a Celebrity-Endorsed Social Network

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Celebrity revelations rarely arrive without some behind-the-scenes orchestration, which is what we imagine happened this afternoon when Ryan Seacrest “gave away Zynga’s secret,” by outing the launch of Draw Something 2 on Twitter.

After all, Mr. Seacrest’s production company RS Productions also happens to have acquired the rights to the Draw Something game show. 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


BummerVille: Sounds Like Zynga’s Plunging Stock Is Sending Morale Down the Tubes

Plotting? (Photo:

If you’ve got shares in Facebook, here’s a sure-fire way to make yourself feel better. Take a look at Zynga’s current value (somewhere below $3), and you’ll feel nothing but a sharp rush of pity and there-but-for-the-grace-of-God gratitude.

So naturally, someone took to Quora to inquire, “How do Zynga employees feel about the company’s summer 2012 stock price drop?” One word in particular leaps out: Devastated.

One blistering response, from an anonymous user claiming to work for a studio acquired by Zynga, quickly climbed to the top of the pile, with over 600 upvotes. And it is a pretty nightmarish testimonial: Read More


Sue Something: Employees File Class Action Lawsuit Against Zynga

No reprisals here!

This is the Summer of Zynga’s discontent. There are Zynga’s stock woes, which have prompted Forbes to question whether the gaming company is really worth any money at allForbes‘s Eric Savitz writes that “the market is basically saying it simply does not see any long-term value in the company’s ongoing business.”

Then there’s also this class action suit filed against Zynga in a California Superior Court on July 16, which alleges Zynga failed to pay overtime and has unfair business practices. Read More


Can Zynga Go From Schoolyard Bully to Class Angel by Backing a Charitable Facebook Game?

This dude wants some butterbeer. (Photo:

It appears that Zynga, the evil mastermind behind FarmVille and Mafia Wars, is not completely hell-bent on destroying the world. The online game producer turned super villain announced today that it would help design a Facebook game to fight the oppression of women around the world.

The game is based on the novel Half the Sky, which follows the lives of women who have been victimized through sexual violence and trafficking, insufficient educational and financial opportunities and poor healthcare. It is part of a larger multimedia effort based on the book’s themes that will include a PBS miniseries as well as mobile games in India and Africa. Read More


Buying Draw Something Was Not a Mistake, Says Company That Bought Draw Something

Draw Something

Zynga is trying its best to present its $180 million acquisition of OMGPOP, the New York City developers behind Draw Something, in a good light–despite dwindling usership. The Guardian obliges today by quoting a bunch of Zynga execs trying to explain how not having a sustained hit was actually part of their plan all along.

But even when given an opportunity to explain itself, Zynga reps sound, well, less than convincing. Read More


Draw Something Expands to 12 New Languages, Enlists J-Lo for Promo

Ms. Lopez. (Photo:

The Internet is called the “world wide web” for reason, and Zynga has no intention of leaving those additional players on the table. And so starting today, you can play Draw Something in no fewer than 12 languages: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Danish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

That sound you just heard was high school language teachers nationwide ripping up summer reading assignments and replacing them with “download this app, play until your brain melts.”

Bonus: There are celebrities involved. Zynga has enlisted Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias (who have a joint North American tour to promote) to help them celebrate the launch. And if you’ve ever wanted to play a social game with J-Lo, good news, because the pair are going to engage Draw Something players via Twitter. They’ll also be selecting words that’ll be featured in the “JLo Enrique” option of the new “Special Words” feature. A new word will be added every day. Read More


Zynga Optimizes for Players Who Spend More Than $10K, Says Purported Former Zynga Engineer

The Future of Literature?

A person claiming to be a former Zynga engineer hosted an Ask Me Anything on Reddit last night. As proof, he or she submitted a snapshot of a termination notice and claims to have quit and have no axe to grind. Take it with a grain of salt, but Redditors and Hacker News users seemed to think the poster was legit. The person certainly talked the talk, dishing on everything from spying on users, to maximizing for profit at the expense of fun, to treating contractors like “second class citizens.”

Overall, the Q and A by user mercenary-games doesn’t end up doing Zynga any favors: they say Zynga releases unstable code regularly, is rife with brogrammers who can’t program, and affirmed when another user marveled, “it’s like the games play you.Read More