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Zynga

Zynga develops social games that work stand-alone on mobile phone platforms such as Apple iOS and Google’s Android and online through its website, Zynga.com, and social networking websites such as Facebook. Its best known game is FarmVille, which it launched in 2009.

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Zynga CEO Pincus quits as FarmVille loses favour, stock price sinks

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 July, 2013, 3:30am

He is not heading out to pasture, but the chief executive of FarmVille maker Zynga is stepping aside as the troubled online game company looks to revive itself and lift its stalled stock price.

Mark Pincus will be replaced on Monday by Don Mattrick, who was most recently head of Microsoft's Xbox division. Zynga said on Monday that Pincus, who founded Zynga and named it after his American bulldog in 2007, will stay on as chairman and chief product officer.

Mattrick, 49, had served as the president of Microsoft's entertainment business, which includes the Xbox, since 2010. He had been with Microsoft for six years, helping to launch the Kinect motion controller. He also helped grow the Xbox Live online service from six million members to 48 million in roughly six years.

"Zynga is a great business that has yet to realise its full potential. I'm really proud to partner with a product-focused founder like Mark and work with the executive team to grow the DNA of the company and lead this transition," Mattrick wrote in an e-mail to Zynga staff that was posted on the company's website.

In a note to Zynga employees, Pincus said he has always told the company's board "that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I'd do all I could to recruit and bring that person in. I'm confident that Don is that leader".

Mattrick faces a difficult task. Zynga's stock is down almost 70 per cent since the company's 2011 initial public offering at US$10 per share. Its games have waned in popularity and in June, the company announced that it was cutting 520 jobs, or about 18 per cent of its workforce to save money. It shuttered OMGPop, a mobile game company it paid US$183 million to acquire last year. OMGPop made mobile game Draw Something. It was popular for a brief period in early 2012, and then it tanked.

Zynga's own games have also fallen out of favour, too. FarmVille became a household name in 2009 as millions of Facebook users spent hours clicking on virtual cows and crops - and spent real money to get ahead in the game.

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