Zynga’s P.R. Trick: Announce Bad News During Apple’s iPad Launch Event

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Zynga, creators of the once unbelievably popular FarmVille game, has followed an age-old public relations tactic of releasing its own bad news during the height of someone else’s good news.

In Zynga’s case, that meant laying off hundreds of employees at the very same time Apple was hosting a widely touted launch event for its latest iPad and iMac devices, one that kept the majority of the world’s tech journalists glued to their live feeds.

(MORE: Zynga Plunges 40% in Tech Bloodbath)

Reports have surfaced that San Francisco-based Zynga laid off more than 100 employees in the firm’s Austin office and entirely closed its Boston office during the Apple event on Tuesday. The Next Web reports that employees were forced to turn in company-issued laptops and other devices and clear out their desks — all while the rest of the tech industry was debating if $329 was too much to pay for an iPad Mini.

Zynga, which hasn’t exactly seen a lot of good news lately, was apparently trying to bury negative publicity in a deluge of Apple announcements. The company went public last December in the biggest tech IPO since Google’s in 2004, but since then its fortunes have largely run downhill. They created an entire series of games based on the “Ville” concept, but soon faced a copyright infringement lawsuit from gaming giant Electronic Arts. Meanwhile their flagship FarmVille game lost its luster, new games haven’t proven as popular and, because of all this, Zynga’s stock prices have plunged — dropping as much as 40% following a weak earnings report in July.

MORE: Back to the Farm: Zynga Launches FarmVille 2