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RockYou Focuses On Social Games, Reduces Staff, Hires Two Execs

As it welcomes two industry veterans to focus on its Facebook game output, social games and app developer RockYou laid off a considerable amount of staff from its non-gaming divisions.
As it welcomes two industry veterans to focus on its Facebook game output, social games and app developer RockYou laid off a considerable amount of staff from its non-gaming divisions. The Redwood City-based company didn't specify how many workers it made redundant, but RockYou said those losses came from its "legacy" businesses for non-game apps and social media advertising -- layoffs the firm believes are necessary to move more of its focus to social games. Founded in 2006, RockYou produces a variety of apps for social networks, such as Birthday Cards and Pieces of Flair. Its most popular release, Zoo World, is a game that generates almost $1.2 million in revenue each month and has nearly 7 million monthly active users on Facebook. “This is a whole shift in the DNA in the company,” says COO Marino, according to the San Francisco Business Times. “We wanted to be a gaming company, but we never really cut the cord from our history, and that’s what needed to happen and that’s what this represents.” RockYou intends to continue operating its social media advertising business, presumably with its operations scaled back. It also plans to maintain its existing non-game apps, but the developer doesn't won't support them to the same extent it has so far, TechCrunch reports. With its increased emphasis on social games, RockYou has appointed former Electronic Arts executive producer/vice president Jonathan Knight as its senior vice president, and Gazillion Entertainment interactive design manager Steve Cartwright as general manager of its Redwood office. RockYou has so far raised $127 million from a number of backers and has an annual run rate (earnings estimated from current trends) of $50 million, though it has never been profitable. Marino says the firm is in late-stage negotiations to acquire several game studios.

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