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Zynga laying off 18 percent of its workforce in effort to cut $100M

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Farmville and Words with Friends maker Zynga is making more cuts in an effort to save money, the company announced today. About 18 percent of the company — 364 people — will lose their jobs as Zynga tries to cut $100 million in costs.

"For our people, we need to create an empowered, entrepreneurial culture that fosters more creativity and innovation," Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said in a statement. "Over the years we've seen that tighter, more nimble teams can drive faster innovation and deliver more player value. As a result, today we announced a cost reduction program to focus, simplify and align us against our most promising opportunities...

"This was a hard but necessary decision and I believe this plan puts us in the best long term position for success."

Zynga said in a press release that the layoffs will be complete by the end of the year and generate about $45 million in savings. Another $55 million in other reduced costs is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2016.

The social game maker is making other cuts as well. The company is refocusing its efforts on five game categories — Action Strategy, Social Casino, Invest & Express, Casual and Racing — instead of six. Previously, the company categorized its games into Farm, Casino, Words, Racing, People and Sports.

"We now expect to launch between 6 to 8 new mobile games in 2015 with a continued investment in our future pipeline for 2016 and beyond," Pincus said.

Pincus took over the role as CEO last month, replacing former Xbox executive Don Mattrick, who left the company after less than two years on the job.

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