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Former Zynga employee reveals on Reddit Zynga’s game copying ways

News   •   Jun 08, 2013 19:09 BST

Are you a Mafia Wars or FarmVille player on your Samsung Galaxy S4 (see the Samsung Galaxy S4 here) or Apple iPhone 5 (see the Apple iPhone 5 here)? If so, you might not be anymore, after a former Zynga employee revealed the developer’s game copying ways on Reddit.

The anonymous former Zynga employee goes by the name of former_zyngite on Reddit (see post here). He says, “I was just laid off yesterday, along with 520 other employees. I’m willing to talk about the company that all gamers love to hate if anyone wants to know more about it. I need to keep my identity on the down-low because I’m job hunting now and not trying to burn bridges. So I can’t give specifics on the the projects I worked on, but can talk to a lot of the games, processes, culture, infamous game copying, etc. I was there for almost two years. I was in a creative position.”

Former_zyngite adds, “Their business strategy is terrible. 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.

“At this rate, I’d give them another 2 to 3 years. They make money and have a lot in the bank. But they also throw away money like you wouldn’t believe. If they actually manage to change their strategy and start putting out some big hits, they could be around a lot longer.”

Talking about Zynga’s copying ways, he says, “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 being that if it works for that game, it would work for our game.

“In general though, most of us knew what game was copying what. Bubble Safari was a copy of Bubble Witch Saga. The Ville was Sims Social. Hidden Chronicles was Gardens of Time. The company didn’t call it out for what it was, but you knew because whatever project you were on most likely had similar pressures to match and beat a game on the market.”

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