Anonymous Says: Remember the 5th of November, 2012

29Oct12

The game company Zynga announced layoffs of approximately five percent of its workforce, or about 3,000 people, including the closure of its Boston office and cuts to its staff at the Austin branch. The company’s CEO Mark Pincus framed these lay offs as “necessary” for streamlining operations, focusing resources on more strategic goals, and “investing for the future.”

Meanwhile, the ‘hactivist’ group Anonymous launched their #OP maZYNGA operation, accessing Zynga’s servers and acquiring confidential information about the company’s plans to layoff more workers and to outsource jobs to Bangolore, India. The ‘outsourcing’ prevalent in the game industry is indicated by Deuze (p. 204) as one of the strategies used to “cut labor costs and flexibilize production of increasingly expensive and challenging games projects.” Zynga’s outsourcing and other practices frustrated the hactivist group and led them to take action. The hactivists published information about the communication of executives in their statement announcing their attack, which said that the actions of Zynga will result in a “massive layoff of a thousand people and legal actions against everyone that speaks to the public about this plan.”

Hactivists see this as the end of the US game market and announced that they cannot allow this to happen. Along with releasing leaked documents, they marked the 5th of November as the day they plan to release code of Zynga games and even plans to shut down both the gaming site and Facebook (Zynga is widely known on Facebook for its FarmVille game, among others).

The comments under the article contain mixed reactions, while some support the hactivists, others think it will not affect the game company and also will not do any good for the people who got laid off. Anonymous last year threatened to shut down Facebook on November 5, 2011, but it did not follow through with the threat. It might be interesting to see whether Anonymous will be able to release the codes of games or shut down the website, or how their action are perceived by the players or people working in the gaming industry.

The article can be found at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2224555/Facebook-Zynga-threatened-shutdown-Anonymous-hacktivists-retaliation-gaming-giants-layoff.html.

Muge Fazlioglu

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