Zynga is pulling the trigger faster on weak games. Today, the company announced it would close down its CityVille 2, The Friend Game, and Party Place games, even as it praised the success of FarmVille 2 and moved to launch its real-money gambling games.
David Ko, chief operations officer, said in an analyst conference call that Zynga is closing down games that don’t meet expectations, such as CityVille 2, which failed to match the audience of its record-breaking CityVille game.
The move shows that Zynga is willing to take swift action that may upset some consumers, if it means the company can put more effort behind its games that are getting traction. That’s important as the company tries to hit its goal of becoming consistently profitable in 2013.
Zynga, a bellwether for social and mobile gaming, fell in hard times last year as growth slowed for its Facebook games. Now, the company is showing no mercy. It has closed its Boston and Japan studios, and is trying to reduce operating expenses further.
During the fourth quarter, CityVille 2 failed to get a huge audience. But FarmVille 2 exceeded expectations and was the company’s best launch in two years.
Mark Pincus, chief executive of Zynga, said during the call that Zynga took a bunch of actions to realign around its core goals. It shut studios and laid off staff. It realigned its teams for mobile first, so that it now has more teams on mobile games than it does for the web or Facebook. It promoted four leaders — Ko, Steve Chiang, Barry Cottle, and Mark Vranesh — into key management roles. And it realigned its studios around social casino games, casual, midcore, and “invest and express,” or its simulation games like FarmVille 2.
Pincus said that Zynga “leveled up,” or promoted, 550 people in the quarter.
“We’ve always been a learning company, learning from our successes and our failures,” Pincus said.
Filed under: Games
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