Yep, that’s right. Zynga has again laid-off in large numbers. This time, the company has released some 100 employees, or more if the tweets about the situation are correct, and gave them 2 hours to vacate the offices of their Austin studio.
Not only that, they did this during the Apple press conference that was occurring at the same time. Many think that this was done to avoid major press coverage of the issue.
Now, is it questionable to lay-off so many employees and think that no one would notice that suddenly about 100 free agents would enter the market place? Slightly. Also, it’s pretty odd to do it during a press conference that most digital and gaming media would be watching carefully.
Do we know for sure that Zynga intended to keep this on the down-low so that no one would find out? No, we do not know this for sure, nor do we want to start pointing fingers at the company and call them out for “clandestine management practices.”
For all anyone knows, the company could have fully intended to make a statement about it and happily answer questions. The Vault does not know if the employees were given notice ahead of time and today was the day they were given two hours to clear out.
From the look of Twitter and many other sites who are covering the event as it happens, it does seem to be a rather unexpected move by the company that no one anticipated.
Granted, the company has been doing less than stellar since they went public some months ago, the stock not being picked up as successfully as the company hoped. This might be due to the claims that the company threatened to fire its employees who still held company stock and refused to give it up since that was their method of compensation for their work.
What is certain is that the company, like many others in the game industry, are suffering large bouts of lay-offs that are putting many out of work. Obsidian Entertainment let go much of its own workforce a few months ago. THQ even did lay-offs during one of E3.
This is not an isolated incident, but the fact that so many are rapidly and angrily posting about does merit some looking into. Should more details arise, we’ll try to keep you up to date.
For those taking the gaming industry seriously as a place of employment, this is a good hard look at it right now. This is not a frequent occurrence, but you have to be prepared for every eventuality.
UPDATE: Zynga Boston has “shuttered its doors.”