OMGPOP team "relieved" after studio closure
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."