Farmville maker Zynga's stock was the second poorest performing stock in 2012 among larger (market caps of over $1 billion) companies. The only way you could have made a worse market bet would have been to buy stock in Groupon. Every other major U.S. company's stock performed better. Zynga stock lost 74 percent of its value in 2012... and it's only October.
The casual game-making company was once valued at $9 billion, but now, according to the LA Times, its stock has sunk below the value of the cash it has on hand, the securities it owns, and the amount it paid in March for its San Francisco headquarters. Essentially, this means that, according to Wall Street, the company is worth nothing. On the bright side, they can just wait until tomorrow to click on a new gold coin.
On the dark side: Analysts are (understandably) predicting layoff for the company, although no announcements have been made as of yet.
In a recent financial statement, Zynga said: "The outlook for [the fourth quarter] is significantly lower than our expectations, which assumed some growth from newer titles launched this summer... We expect fundamentals to remain weak over the next few quarters as the company faces several headwinds."
On the positive side, Zynga says CityVille 2 is in closed beta and will launch soon.
If nothing else, this highlights the volatile nature of the "casual" game market. A game like Draw Something comes along, and suddenly, everyone is playing it, buying paint colors, harassing you with friend requests, but just as quickly, everyone stops playing it. The same with Farmville, and a hundred other titles... except Angry Birds, which seems to have longevity beyond most brush-fire style casual games... at least for now.