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EA: Doom-mongers are exaggerating the demise of social

Peter Moore tells CVG that social buzz 'had overheated', but strong opportunities remain

Electronic Arts has reaffirmed its faith in social games platforms in the wake of news that Zynga, the world's biggest Facebook games developer, has begun to shed staff as its share price plummets further.

On Tuesday Zynga announced an international layoff operation that would affect some five per cent of its 2,000-plus workforce. Its Boston studio has been emptied while scores of staff have lost their jobs in Austin, Texas. Studios in London and Japan are also expected to close.

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Hours before the news of Zynga's turmoil surfaced, it was announced that the CEO of rival social enterprise Bigpoint had resigned. The company will cease its US operations, at the cost of more than 100 jobs.

Amid the turmoil, a key executive at EA believes that the social games platform is still healthy.

The publisher's second-in-command, Peter Moore, told CVG that "people are over-exaggerating the decline" of social games.

"We have watched how social gaming really caught everyone's imagination and it was the lead story for the industry for a while, and it may have got over-hyped," he began.

"Expectations may have ran ahead of what was realistic. But on the downside, people are exaggerating the decline. I think the naysayers and the doom mongers are over-exaggerating. We see a strong future for social gaming. It's going to evolve, it's on platforms that are clearly moving towards mobile very quickly."

Moore, whose company has traded blows with Zynga on many occasions, said it is "always sad when you see people let go".

In the past 24 months Zynga has poached key talent from EA, and the two companies are currently locked in a lawsuit based on plagiarism allegations. Yet Moore appeared to show no schadenfreude when reflecting on Zynga's latest misery.

"Hopefully these folks at Zynga can find employment quickly. They're all in places where talented staff can get reemployment, places like Austin, Boston and London."

He added that the social games space will continue to evolve, and opportunities outside of consoles remain strong.

"Mobile is certainly the future - I'm much more likely to access Facebook or Twitter on my mobile than I am on my PC, and it's the same with games. We're very happy with the investment we made on mobile, and we're delighted to be the number one publisher of games on iOS devices."

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