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EA finds no joy in Zynga's collapse, reckons social gaming was overhyped

"We always feel bad when people lose their jobs," EA's Peter Moore says.

EA executive Peter Moore.

EA finds no joy in Zynga's collapse.

Last night Zynga canned 13 games, reduced its investment in The Ville, closed Zynga Boston, triggered huge layoffs at Zynga Austin and proposed the closure of Zynga Japan and UK.

The news sent shockwaves rippling throughout the game industry, and means about five per cent of Zynga's total work force will be let go.

Some have revelled in the collapse of Zynga, which has been accused of cloning others' games and being creatively bankrupt. You'd expect EA, which is suing Zynga for allegedly copying The Sims Social, would be first in line to gloat. But it finds no joy in seeing its bitter rival fall to its knees.

"We always feel bad when people lose their jobs," EA second in command Peter Moore told Eurogamer in a phone interview today. "Our hope is certainly the locations I've read online, those folks can get re-employed pretty quickly."

Some analysts reckon Zynga's troubles mark the end of the social games bubble. Its stock price has crashed and high-profile executives have exited the company. And even Facebook has complained about the contribution gaming currently makes to its bottom line.

But Moore remains convinced there's a bright future for social gaming, particularly on mobile.

"The overheating and overhyping of social gaming over the last year-and-a-half has put this thing on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and the Times of London, and has made this an interesting focal point for our industry," he said.

"I think it just got a little overhyped. And now the demise is being overhyped the opposite way. I still think there's a strong place for social gaming. I think a lot of social gaming is moving mobile. We feel well positioned to take advantage of that. And people shouldn't read too much into whatever is going on with Zynga."

Moore said EA's broad portfolio of games across a number of platforms protects it from suffering in the same way Zynga has.

"My primary focus is making sure we're well positioned. One of the things we look at with a certain amount of pride at EA is the diversity of what we offer across all of our experiences. FIFA is available on nine or 10 platforms. The idea of linking your game experience across all of those platforms from your iPhone to your PC to your 360 or your PS3 back to your tablet, that is the future. It's a service. It's not a standalone game.

"It gives a great experience to the gamer, first and foremost, and it also protects us from any downfall in a particular piece of hardware or platform. It spreads our bets a little bit."

Zynga is expected to report its financial earnings later today, which should reveal more about the troubles it's enduring. For now, confidence in social games - and Zynga - teeters on the edge.

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