It may not surprise anyone, but it looks like Zynga is shutting down Omgpop, the studio that made the wildly popular Draw Something mobile game. Zynga bought Omgpop a year ago for $180 million as Draw Something rocketed past tens of millions of players. It is an object lesson in how fast things change.
But the Pictionary-style game collapsed quickly, and Zynga took a $95 million write-off for Omgpop in October. Now Zynga is believed to be shutting down the studio as it lays off 520 people, or 18 percent of its 2,902 employees. The layoffs are expected to be completed by August, and Zynga spokespersons declined to say which studios would be closed and which games would be discontinued.
[Update: An employee confirmed with us that the studio is shutting down and a few employees will stay around to transition the work to San Francisco.]
AllThingsD reported that Zynga would shut offices in Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York. Those offices include the team in L.A. that made Empires & Allies, the Dallas team that created CastleVille, and Omgpop in New York. Putting two and two together, it’s not a surprise if Omgpop is a casualty. But so far, Zynga has made no official announcement.
Meanwhile, Omgpop’s Twitter account and some staffers have tweeted that they are out of work and that Omgpop is in fact gone.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase your ticket now to save $200!