UPDATED: Oxford studio loses QA staff as part of cost reduction measures

NaturalMotion jobs cut as part of Zynga layoffs

UK developer NaturalMotion has been the latest studio to take a hit in the ongoing Zynga layoffs, making QA staff redundant from the Oxford studio.

Zynga’s financial troubles led the mobile and social games giant to announce last week that it would be laying off 18 per cent of its workforce – a total of 364 people.

Now Eurogamer reports that the Zynga-owned NaturalMotion has let go of quality assurance testers assigned to live games, with a source telling the site that the studio will instead use outsourced zero-hour contracts.

It is also claimed that NaturalMotion founder and studio boss Torsten Reil informed staff affected by the cuts last week.

NaturalMotion is best known for Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing, the latter of which was developed by Boss Alien, with NaturalMotion owns. The firm is currently working on the high-end mobile game Dawn of Titans.

UPDATE: Zynga has been in touch with Develop to clarify that only Oxford-based QA tests on live games have been affected, not the entire QA department as was originally reported.

They also sent us a statement from Zynga CEO Mark Pincus on the ongoing job cuts, which are part of cost reduction measures:

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

"We expect these cost reductions to generate $100 million in annualized savings. We are reducing our workforce by 364 people or approximately 18%, decreasing our outside services and reducing our central functions. This was a hard but necessary decision and I believe this plan puts us in the best long term position for success."

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