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OMGPOP team "relieved" after studio closure

OMGPOP team "relieved" after studio closure

Wed 05 Jun 2013 7:36am GMT / 3:36am EDT / 12:36am PDT
MobileDevelopment

Former employee describes the final hours of $180 million Draw Something studio

A former employee of Draw Something developer OMGPOP has expressed the sense of relief as its entire team was laid off in Zynga's latest round of redundancies.

The developer was renamed Zynga New York after its $180 million acquisition during the peak of Draw Something's success. However, 15 months later and barely 6 weeks after the launch of Draw Something 2, the studio has been closed for good.

In a report from Business Insider, one former employee described the feeling of expectation, and then relief, at Zynga's decision.

"There were no hard facts or figures. No real explanation. Just typical corporate BS," the employee said of the moment the Zynga New York team was informed. "Everyone was just like, 'Yep.' Not surprised at all. It was like the weight had been lifted off our shoulders, that a decision had finally been made."

"Most layoffs are sad. This was the opposite. Music was being played loudly, and people were ripping up Zynga hoodies and T-shirts"

According to the employee, recent signs had indicated that the end was coming. Dan Porter, the company's founder, left in April, swiftly followed by several key members of the team. In addition, orders from the top had dried up, and the team's workload had eased from managing numerous IPs to fixing bugs on Draw Something 2.

In total, Zynga made 520 people redundant - around 18 per cent of its workforce - ostensibly to cut costs as it shifts from the desktop to mobile. However, the former Zynga New York employee expressed doubt at this explanation, citing the survival of desktop-oriented teams on games like FarmVille 2 as evidence.

"We thought, 'You just laid off your most talented mobile team.' We were totally under-utilized."

Nevertheless, the atmosphere at the Zynga New York offices as its employees cleared out their belongings was far from dour.

"Most layoffs are sad. You imagine big corporate settings where security is there to lead people out of the office so they don't make a scene. This was the opposite. Music was being played loudly, and people were ripping up Zynga hoodies and T-shirts.

"Anything that was Zynga was completely left there. The sentiment felt positive."

8 Comments

Christopher Thigpen
Lead Producer

47 92 2.0
Popular Comment
Good for them. They were talented and the employees were the reasons for the game's success. Corporate culture is the bane of game development. The absolute bane.

It is refreshing to hear that they celebrated the closure as well as they could. You will see some wonderful things coming from those talented and creative people in the near future. While Zynga dies, those who were just let go will thrive and survive.

Posted:10 months ago

#1

James Wells
Gaming Contributor - digboston.com

70 29 0.4
I second Christopher's sentiments, and am happy to hear the team remains in such good spirits.

I look forward to what this talented team will most certainly deliver as a (hopefully soon-to-be) reborn independent developer.

Posted:10 months ago

#2

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
"Former employee describes the final hours of $180 million Draw Something studio"

THIS. No other story is needed.

Posted:10 months ago

#3

Simon Dotschuweit
VP Integration Asia

23 1 0.0
Wish you guys all the best with your next projects :)

Posted:10 months ago

#4

Shane Sweeney
Academic

329 211 0.6
180 million lol.

I remember when Microsoft bought Rare for 375 million.

Posted:10 months ago

#5

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
Although on the other side of that coin, skype.

Posted:10 months ago

#6

Murray Lorden
Game Designer & Developer

199 71 0.4
Teams aren't there to do their best work. They're there to be bled, fools!

Posted:10 months ago

#7

Paul Gheran
Scrum Master

129 27 0.2
"...around 18 per cent of its workforce - ostensibly to cut costs as it shifts from the desktop to mobile."

Theres nothing ostensible about it. It DOES cut costs.

Posted:10 months ago

#8

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