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Zynga reportedly dumping staff and shuttering offices

Games developer Zynga has allegedly laid off more than 100 employees from its Austin office, allowing them only two hours to pack their things and leave the building.

A tweet from former Apple, Mint, and Sony designer Justin Maxwell broke the news that the struggling company conducted mass layoffs at precisely the same time Apple was unveiling its new line-up of products in San Jose.

Those let go, according to Maxwell, were the teams responsible for The Ville and Zynga Bingo. Gamasutra also reported rumours that the entire Boston and Chicago studios have been shut down. The San Francisco headquarters seem to be untouched.

Zynga did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation.

TechCrunch tells a different story, citing a Zynga employee who said there are still about one-third of Austin's workers in the office, and mobile teams may be safe from the massive cuts. The site confirmed that the Boston office went dark, though.

The Ville made headlines this fall when Electronic Arts sued Zynga, alleging that the Facebook game copied EA's Sims Social plot and characters.

The online gaming company has managed to keep reeling in overall users, but can't seem to make any money off them.

Earlier this month, the company announced gloomy third-quarter estimates, including a net loss of between $90 million (£56 million) and $105 million (£66 million), an all-time low for the FarmVille creator.

"The third quarter of 2012 continued to be challenging and, while many of our games performed to plan, as a whole we did not execute to our satisfaction," CEO Mark Pincus said at the time.

In August, analysts suggested Zynga create a short list of potential buyers as the company's stock continued to plummet. The idea is an unlikely one, though, since Pincus said last year that he would "never consider a sale. Shareholders, on the other hand, would "welcome" a buyout, analysts said.

Those same shareholders filed two class-action suits against Zynga in early August, claiming the game company failed to warn them about declining revenue ahead of the quarterly earnings report.