Our Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors Mark Pincus today sent a note to employees announcing the departure of our current CEO Don Mattrick and Mark’s return to his role as CEO of Zynga. Please find his note, posted in its entirety, below.
I am writing to you today to share some significant news. Don is departing the company and I am returning to Zynga as CEO effective immediately.
I want to thank Don for his incredible efforts and leadership. He has laid groundwork that will benefit our players and company into the future.
Don joined us at a very important time in our evolution. In less than two years under his guidance, our teams have worked hard to better serve our mobile players and deliver world class quality and value to our consumers.
This hard work for our mobile players has resulted in bookings growing from 27% mobile when Don joined to 60% by the end of last year. Further, to deliver unique and differentiated value to our mobile players, Don and the team acquired NaturalMotion. NaturalMotion has surprised and delighted the world with Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing resulting in more than 160 million installs.
Now that we are a mobile first company, it’s time to renew our focus on our vision to make play and social games a mass market activity.
I am inspired by our upcoming products – it is the most exciting slate of mobile games in Zynga’s history with titles like Empires & Allies, Dawn of Titans and FarmVille: Harvest Swap. These games are coming on the heels of one of the most successful mobile launches in our history with Wizard of Oz Slots, which was launched this past November by our Spooky Cool team in Chicago.
I am returning to the company that I love in order to accelerate innovation in the most popular categories like Action Strategy and strengthen our focus on our core areas like Invest and Express. I look forward to partnering with our leaders to intensify our focus on social experiences for the millions of consumers who play our games.
Zynga pioneered social gaming for the mass market and our mission to connect the world through games has never wavered. We will be sharing more details on the plan that I believe will help us win together and engage more players on mobile when we announce our Q1 Earnings on May 7.
Later today, I will be hosting a flash All-Hands in the Café at 4:00 pm PT. We will be making the session available via vidcon to our global studios and teams in Austin, Chicago, Eugene, Orlando, San Diego and Toronto. For our teams at NaturalMotion and in Dublin, I’ll be hosting a vidcon meeting tomorrow morning at 8:00 am PT, and another at 9 am PT for our employees at Studio-I – details to follow.
Finally, I know many of you across the company globally are heads down focused on readying new player experiences and supporting our evergreen, live games. I want to thank you all for continuing to dedicate yourselves to our mission and what’s best for our consumers.
If you have questions about today’s announcement please feel free ask them at our All-Hands or send them in advance to Dani firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll read them live on a “no names” basis.
To our players:
We want to share some news regarding a few of our longest standing games.
Based on the natural evolution of our game storylines and changing consumer preferences, we have made the tough but important decision to close 11 of our older Web and mobile games, some of which have been in market for more than 4 years. The games impacted are Ayakashi: Ghost Guild, Bubble Safari Mobile, Bubble Safari Ocean, CastleVille, ChefVille, Duck Dynasty Slots, Pioneer Trail, Puzzle Charms, Skateboard Slam, Riches of Olympus Slots and Zynga Slots. All games will be ending by April 30th. Games have begun rolling out closure information via in-game messages and include a thank you to players.
As a team we do not take the decision to close our games lightly but we have made this decision in order to pave the way for our game teams to put their passion, energy and creativity into developing new, world-class games for you. We greatly appreciate your support of these games over the years.
We are proud of the connections and relationships these games have fostered for our players and we are looking forward to sharing the new experiences our teams are creating. With mobile games like FarmVille: Harvest Swap, Empires & Allies and Dawn of Titans all slated to launch later this year, we are excited to usher in a new era of Zynga and NaturalMotion games that we hope you will enjoy.
Thank you again for playing and sharing some of your time with us. We look forward to seeing you in our new Zynga and NaturalMotion games soon.
We’re super excited to announce the Android version of Empires & Allies is ready for testing, and we’re looking for a few good men and women to join us in a special closed beta!
While the geo-lock beta of Empires & Allies on iOS has amassed a loyal and vibrant community, we’ve been hard at work developing the Android version of Empires & Allies in our secret research labs. Now we’re unveiling the Android version of the game for the first time and looking for feedback from Android players.
Be the first to sign up and send early feedback directly to the dev team on how Empires & Allies plays on your Android device.
To gain access to the Empires & Allies closed beta program and be among the first to play Empires & Allies on Android, simply fill out the online survey form. Signups for the Android closed beta program are open for all players with an Android device. Access will be granted based on eligibility, and the closed beta will be available for a limited time.
The iOS version of Empires & Allies is available for download in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, the Netherlands, Philippines, India and Costa Rica.