Booyah Lays Off 13 Employees After Traffic for Nightclub City, MyTown Fades

Booyah, an Accel and Kleiner-backed mobile and social gaming startup, laid off 13 people after early breakout hits like MyTown and Nightclub City faded among mobile and Facebook users.

“We’ve recently made strategic moves internally to better align our needs with our vision and product development goals that we’re very excited about,” chief executive Keith Lee tells us. “We should have lots of cool products to talk about in the next few weeks.” The employees were mostly in sales.

Founded by three gaming veterans who were behind games like Activision Blizzard’s Diablo III, Booyah scored early funding from Kleiner Perkins’ mobile-focused iFund. The company experimented with mobile apps that let users share life achievements then shifted gears into the hot space of location-based social networking with MyTown, a Monopoly-like mobile game that let players own their favorite nearby venues and earn virtual rent. With MyTown’s momentum, Booyah was able to attract $20 million in funding from Accel Partners as the venture firm looked for a bet in the space.

After that, the company started eyeing the Facebook platform and launched Nightclub City, an electronica-oriented social game that let players manage a virtual nightclub. Between the music, art and thoughtfulness of game mechanics, we thought it was one of the best games of last year. But that game has also declined in monthly and daily active users as the company grapples with the same hits-driven nature of the business that other social gaming competitors have confronted.