'Massive layoffs expected for social devs in 2012'

'Massive layoffs expected for social devs in 2012'
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

December 12th 2011 at 5:05PM

'Many publishers simply weathered 2011' says Exent exec

There will be massive layoffs in the online social game space, says an exec of games on demand provider Exent.

Rick Marazzani, head of content programming at the company, said that faced with the reality of an overcrowded sector, developers will be forced to create less games and subsequently lay off staff.

He cited ZooWorld developer RockYou, which axed 40 per cent of its staff last month, reportedly 55 employees.

The studio was also forced to sell its recently acquired Playdemic studio back to the original founders after a sharp fall in profits.

“With multiple hit games and big marketing budgets needed to stay afloat at the top of the Facebook game charts, many social publishers simply weathered 2011 waiting to see what Zynga's IPO would foretell for their own futures,” said Marazzani.

“Faced with the reality that there are too many people working on too many games for the market to bear, social developers will be forced to place smarter and fewer bets as user acquisition cost and competition grows.”

Other predictions from Exent include a large increase in Android sales, backed by the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook, as well as an increase in location-aware mobile gaming, with Zynga and Mocospace expected to tap into the market.