Nabeel Hyatt, who'd run the local studio until last February, when he left to join the VC firm Spark Capital, told me that he'd heard about the closure from Behmaram-Mosavat and other employees, who all said they'd been completely surprised by the announcement. Hyatt said the studio was within a few weeks of wrapping up work on a new game. "I think this is about getting Zynga back to profitability, which is a big goal for [CEO] Mark [Pincus]," Hyatt said. "And by eliminating a satellite office, maybe it's seen as something that doesn't affect the morale at headquarters as much."
I've e-mailed Behmaram-Mosavat for comment but haven't heard back. Earlier today, he tweeted, "All we have as leaders is trust and loyalty. Squander that and you lose everything."
Local game companies have been posting on Twitter throughout the afternoon using the hash tag "#Zynga" to let the laid off employees know about job opportunities.
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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December 9: Web Innovators Group
Demos of new mobile apps and web ventures at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. Free admission; cash bar.
December 10: Fintech Demo Day
Short demos from startups in the financial technology realm.
December 11: Unpitch
Entrepreneurs and investors sit down for lunch, advice, and feedback. Entrepreneurs must apply to participate.