Following mass layoffs at Zynga, a former employee has described the company's business strategy as "terrible", criticising a lack of foresight and inability to adapt to new mobile markets.
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus speaks during the Zynga Unleashed event at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, California June 26, 2012. (Credit: Reuters)
Under the username former_zyngite, the ex-employee hosted an Ask Me Anything thread on online forum Reddit. As proof of his identity, he posted an image of a letter sent to Zynga employees who were recently sacked, before fielding questions about the company's businesses practices.
"Their business strategy is terrible," he wrote, also criticising "a serious lack of foresight over all" and saying that too many decisions at Zynga are "quick reactions to sudden changes in the market."
The company, which previously held a contract to develop games exclusively for Facebook, creating titles such as FarmVille and CityVille, has seen its share price drop 75% during the past year and is now looking to alter its strategy and move into real-money gambling games in both the UK and US.
However, former_zyngite said the odds of Zynga successfully turning itself around were slim:
"I'd give them 10:1. The CEO is hellbent on believing that their current course is the correct course.
"Their major issues are the inability to adjust to the changing market. They did great when Facebook gaming was on the rise, but now it's declining and Mobile is on the rise. They're trying to change over, but employ too many of the same game development 'best practices' that were developed for Facebook games. These just don't translate to the mobile market, which is why they're suffering in that market."
Zynga has also been targeted recently in a copyright lawsuit from EA, which claims Zynga's game The Ville is overly similar to EA's The Sims Social.
Another Zynga game, Dream Tower, has also been the subject of controversy due to similarities to NimbleBit's Tiny Tower.
"In general, most of us knew what game was copying what," wrote former_zyngite. "I think that early on it was blatant. Later it became well known practice at Zynga, but rather poor taste. Dream Heights/Tiny Tower was a big slap in the face. Sims Social/The Ville was the last straw.
"Towards the end of my time it was not so much that games were straight up ripped off, but key features would be. Such as the general method or menu flow that a game handles it's multiplayer. The idea was that if it works for that game, it would work for our game."
The former employee also spoke about the layoffs which affected 520 Zynga employees and resulted in the closure of offices in Dallas, New York and Los Angeles:
"I had no idea this was coming. Totally out of the blue. Before all these layoffs they started cracking down on head count for all the teams because they had too many employees but not enough projects for them all. They tried hard to keep everyone around, which I really respected. I think they just hit critical mass and finally had to let us go."
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