29th August 2012  Employees Continue to Flee Zynga as Share Price Falls Further.

Since the publication of second quarter results at the start of the month Zynga (ZNGA) has been hit with a slew of departures of top level staff.


Early in August Erik Bethke, who oversaw "Mafia Wars 2", the companies attempt to reignite one of its most import brands, left, followed by Alan Patmore who had been involved in "CityVille". Patmore left for Kixeye, a gaming company which focuses on producing games to appeal to hardcore gamers on Facebook. While lagging behind in terms of users Kixeye says its games make as much as 60 cents per user, well over the 4 cents most other social game companies make. Patmore will also be able to verify if Kixeye's depiction of CEO Mark Pincus in its recruitment video is accurate.


Others to leave this month included Jeremy Strauser, a general manager and Ya-Bing Chu, vice president of their mobile division, an area where Zynga is very weak at the moment. Chief Operating Officer John Schappert stepped down following a restructure in which Pincus began overseeing the company's game development directly.


Now AllThingsD confirms that Zynga's Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu has left to start a new company. As yet Verdu hasn't commented on even the name of his new company, other than Zynga will invest in it and it will focus on making mobile games.


These departures come in the wake of Zynga's stock price plummeting below $3, driving down the compensation many employees have received. The atmosphere at Zynga has been described as "grim" and one employee earlier this month posted a "horrifying account of working" at the company. Feelings at the company weren't improved by the secondary offering of stock completed on the 3rd of April in which top brass sold off over 49 million shares while low level employees weren't allowed to take part and had to wait until the lock-up period ended on the 28th of May. In that length of time the price fell from over $12 to just over $6. Zynga's directors are currently under investigation to see if they acted in their own interests rather than in the best interests of the company.


Zynga blames changes to the way Facebook (FB) promotes games for its poor performance but the truth is that they are facing user apathy to their older games while failing to attract users to their newer games which are often attacked as copies. Zynga currently finds itself being sued by Electronic Arts (EA) who accuse them of ripping off "The Sims Social" to make "The Ville". Other games companies have come onto the scene to challenge Zynga for users and it is no longer heavily protected and promoted by Facebook as it once was. The social network has now turned its attention towards advertising to raise revenue and on a fair and balanced field Zynga isn't playing well. Currently there appears to be nothing in sight to stop either their crashing share price or the outflow of talented employees.



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