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11:30 PM on 02.07.2013

Um, what? Brett Ratner is making a FarmVille cartoon

Listen to the bear. Brett Ratner Boards ‘FarmVille’ Animated Series [Deadline]

Hamza CTZ Aziz

8:00 AM on 12.31.2012

Zynga cuts costs by shutting down 11 games

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has just announced that 11 games will be either axed entirely, or stop accepting newcomers to cut costs. It seems as if assets will be funneled into their more popular ventures, and new ones as well. Yep...

Chris Carter



A free version of Horn is now up on the App Store photo
A free version of Horn is now up on the App Store
by Jordan Devore

Phosphor Games Studio and Zynga have put out a "free" version of Horn, the fairly ambitious action-adventure game for mobile devices. That can be downloaded from the App Store right now, offering the Prologue from the main campaign and nigh endless combat in Quest mode.

From what I've played of this, it is indeed a step up what you would expect from most lite games, but it's understandably not going to be as fleshed out as the full, premium game. While Horn doesn't really seem like something I'd want to continue playing for too much longer, there's enough of a hook here, and it did remind me that I should go check out the studio's prior release, The Dark Meadow. I'll take it.

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6:45 PM on 10.24.2012

The DTOID Show: XCOM DLC, Sim City, Zynga & Warfighter

Today on The Destructoid Show, we discuss XCOM: Enemy Unknown's upcoming Slingshot DLC, Sim City's momentary delay, Medal Of Honor: Warfighter's less-than-thrilling reception, and crappy ol' Zynga doing a bunch of crappy stuff. Again.

Max Scoville



Zynga lays off five percent of its full-time employees photo
Zynga lays off five percent of its full-time employees
by Jordan Devore

There were a number of layoffs at Zynga today, as you might have heard from employees who were affected and quickly spread the word. An internal note from CEO Mark Pincus confirms much of what's been said about the significant changes that took place.

For starters, Zynga Boston is being closed. Closures have been proposed for the company's Japan and UK studios, and layoffs are also hitting the studio in Austin. All told, approximately five percent of Zynga's full-time workforce has been let go. 13 older games are being sunset and the social game company will be "significantly reducing [its] investment in The Ville."

Pincus notes that "This is the most painful part of an overall cost reduction plan that also includes significant cuts in spending on data hosting, advertising and outside services, primarily contractors. These reductions, along with our ongoing efforts to implement more stringent budget and resource allocation around new games and partner projects, will improve our profitability and allow us to reinvest in great games and our Zynga network on web and mobile."

It's a shame how frequently layoffs seem to happen in this industry -- even when it is a company whose work you don't particularly care for. Best of luck to those impacted by the layoffs in finding work swiftly.

Zynga lays off five percent of employees during Apple's event, shutters Boston studio [update: Mark Pincus's memo to staff] [The Verge]

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We have a file on you: The tools & tricks of social games photo
We have a file on you: The tools & tricks of social games
by Allistair Pinsof

Meet Melissa. She's a forty-year-old mom who has recently become hooked on DragonVale, a free-to-play iOS game. She is what social game analysts call a whale. No, this isn't a comment on her physical stature or deep, raspy cafeteria-lady voice. Whale refers to the type of player she is, financially speaking. Whales are a very good thing for developers, as they are the ones that make the most and largest purchases in free-to-play games.

Developers' analytical tools compile data and profile Melissa, determining if she is likely to be a whale. At this point, the tools analyze whether she will churn soon (read: depart the game) and what would be the best offer to prevent her from leaving the game for the rest of her life.

There is a world of data, audience manipulation, and visual tricks that occur within social games without players ever realizing it. While it's too early to judge where these tool may take the industry, learning how they work does give one some ideas. Let's turn back the veil and see social game design for what it really is, shall we?

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1:15 PM on 08.30.2012

Zynga apes Pokemon with suspiciously similar Montopia

Oh Zynga, will you ever learn? Despite being embroiled in a lawsuit against fellow evildoer Electronic Arts, those wacky rouges at Zynga are hard at work with another "inspired" game -- Montopia.  Montopia casts you in ...

Jim Sterling

3:00 PM on 08.27.2012

Jimquisition: EA vs. Zynga - The Lesser of Two Evils

Electronic Arts and Zynga duking it out is one of the biggest supervillain slap-fights in history. Both companies are reviled by gamers the world over, but as is our nature, we can't just sit back and watch the carnage. Peop...

Jim Sterling

11:00 AM on 08.21.2012

EA vs. Zynga: EA claims it's a game industry defender!

Electronic Arts' delusions of grandeur have reached new heights this week, as the company continues to milk its lawsuit against Zynga for cheap applause and gamer cred. Its latest claim? The lawsuit positions Electronic Arts ...

Jim Sterling

9:00 AM on 08.07.2012

EA vs. Zynga: EA thanks gamers for support

Electronic Arts couldn't have asked for a better enemy in Zynga. The social game kingpin is not only in financial trouble, it's also one of the most despised companies in the industry. EA must realize this, and has started su...

Jim Sterling

11:00 AM on 08.06.2012

EA vs. Zynga: Zynga hits back, says EA is a copycat too

The supervillain slapfight of the century was initiated on Friday, with EA announcing that it would take Zynga to court for copying The Sims Social. Today, Zynga has fired its opening salvo in response, accusing EA of copying...

Jim Sterling

8:15 PM on 08.03.2012

The DTOID Show: Zynga, Dishonored, and QuakeCon 2012!

Happy Friday, lovelies! We've got a jam-packed show today, full of all the QuakeCon and copyright infringement news you can handle! We've also got footage of Assassin's Creed III's AnvilNext engine, a list of famous people l...

Tara Long



EA suing Zynga over copyright infringement  photo
EA suing Zynga over copyright infringement
by Jim Sterling

Electronic Arts has announced that it will be twisting the knife into the beleaguered Zynga by taking it to court -- suing the trouble company over its new social game, The Ville. EA alleges that The Ville is a rip-off of The Sims Social. Man, we knew EA was gunning for Zynga, but they brought out the cannons now.

"The core legal issue is our belief that Zynga infringed copyrights to our game, The Sims Social," wrote EA.  "In legal terms, our claim is that Zynga copied the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a clear violation of the U.S. copyright laws.

"The legal reasons are solid. But for creative teams who feel that their hard work and imaginations have been ripped off, there’s obviously an emotional element too."

The full allegation can be read here, as Maxis manager Lucy Bradshaw attempts to garner sympathy in what can only be described as the villain face-off of the century. Seriously, Electronic Arts versus Zynga. What next? Two pedophiles having a fistfight? 

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7:30 PM on 08.01.2012

The DTOID Show: Aliens, Zynga, Ada Wong in RE6, & PAX

Today's episode of The Destructoid Show is brought to you by a flock of magical falcons who carried it here in a net woven out of gossamer spider-silk. Okay, not really. I just wanted to write something interesting. Sega rel...

Max Scoville

10:00 AM on 08.01.2012

Zynga shares plummet, lawsuit coming, gravy train crashes

Farmville creator Zynga is ... buggered. After a few years of living large and sucking as much cash as it could from Facebook users, the proudly "evil" company's bottom is well and truly falling out. Share prices have been fa...

Jim Sterling



Preview: Horn could be an admirable game  photo
Preview: Horn could be an admirable game
by Steven Hansen

So, there certainly was a reaction to the newly announced Horn when Jim posted a little clip a few days ago in which the game was shown off and Phosphor Games’ Chip Sineni made some innocent claims about the mobile and tablet spheres becoming the main way people play games.

And he isn’t necessarily wrong. Obviously a lot of gaming enthusiasts would not deign to merely play games on these growing platforms, let alone replace consoles with them, but these sectors are huge. I mean, Infinity Blade is Epic’s most profitable game.

All that silliness and scoffing aside, I was able to play Horn at Zynga Unleashed, as well as talk to the aforementioned Chip Sineni of Phosphor Games, and it’s a pretty neat thing.

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