Zynga Closed Its Boston Office

Zynga Boston, the Cambridge-based arm of the social game maker behind such newsfeed-cluttering hits as “Farmville,” shut its offices Tuesday, laying off its 50-some employees, according to reporters on Twitter. It was part of a round of layoffs in offices around the country. Broadly speaking, this is further confirmation that the San Francisco-based gaming company is not doing very well, looking to cut costs while it works on a new advertising platform. More narrowly, it’s some majorly bad news for the several dozen employees here and in a few other offices where the company has cut jobs today.

Rumors began spreading on several tech blogs about the lay-offs, and The Globe‘s Scott Kirsner confirmed them with Zynga former Boston head, Nabeel Hyatt:

Zynga Boston came into existence about two years ago, when the company bought out the local Conduit Labs. Located in Harvard Square, it housed the team behind the company’s “Adventure World” game.

We’re reminded, of course, of another high-profile gaming company closing its doors; Curt Schilling’s disastrous 38 Studios. In that case, The Globe‘s Michael Farrell reported recently, employees often landed on their feet (unfortunately for some, that meant landing at Zynga Boston…) Farrell wrote:

Big studios that invest millions of dollars and years of work building elaborate games usually don’t survive if the results aren’t a big hit. When they fail, rivals in the competitive game industry move swiftly to snatch up top talent; and other former employees are choosing to strike out on their own for now.

Already Hyatt is pimping out his former people to local companies on Twitter, and retweeting offers from companies looking to soak up some talent.

Hopefully Boston’s gaming scene can send out some life rafts in the coming weeks.