Zynga Seems More Sinister Than You Might Expect

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Zynga Seems More Sinister Than You Might Expect

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Aside from dubious marketing tactics and nasty lawsuits, Farmville maker Zynga looks even more villainous thanks to a damning feature article.

Whoever said "there's no such thing as bad press" obviously never heard of Zynga, the casual games company that has come to dominate Facebook while simultaneously earning a pretty bad rep in the media. Aside from being accused of defacing the streets of San Francisco, being sued by Digital Chocolate, and being reported to the Norwegian Data Inspectorate for breaches of the Data Protection Act, the company is now the focus of a new feature in SF Weekly that does not paint a flattering picture in the slightest.

The article, "FarmVillains" essentially explains that Zynga's CEO Mark Pincus (seen here) encouraged productivity over originality at his company. In layman's terms, Pincus told his developers to just copy the games created by competing studios instead of trying to make better titles.

According to an ex-Zynga employee, Pincus once told his underlings, "I don't fucking want innovation. You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

Another ex-contractor, who claimed he was offered freelance work from Zynga to copy a game, had this to say: "I was around meetings where things like that were being discussed, and the ramifications of things like that were being discussed - the fact that they'd probably be sued by the people who designed the game. And the thought was, 'Well, that's fine, we'll settle.' Our case wasn't really defensible."

The overall article is pretty unsettling. Until recently, I was under the impression that Zynga was a plucky underdog that had gotten lucky and hit a goldmine thanks to its casual games. Now, I'm just glad I never played any of their games nor gave any of my money to someone like Pincus.

Source: SF Weekly via GamePolitics

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vansau:
Until recently, I was under the impression that Zynga was a plucky underdog that had gotten lucky and hit a goldmine thanks to its casual games.

Jeez, you can tell you're a new lad around here. ;)

But seriously;

Pincus once told his underlings, "I don't fucking want innovation. You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

That sounds like almost every boss I've ever had.

And this company nearly won March Mayhem?

Zynga doesn't deserve any of their success.

But I know how to stop them.

Shut down every other gaming company on earth, so that they don't have ideas to steal!

Yeah I'm pretty sure thats what they did. I mean, Farmtown was out before Farmville, right? Apparently the games are extremely similar. I don't really play their games that much but I don't think they're a very good company.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Pincus once told his underlings, "I don't fucking want innovation. You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

That sounds like almost every boss I've ever had.

hah really? i thought the going trend was to carve a niche and specialise in perfection, cause if anything gets big/popular it gets gobbled up/copied by others with more money

LOL I wonder if people will start to realize now that them being in March Mayhem was a mistake?

Damn... another game maker has gone to the dark side...

Kragg:

hah really? i thought the going trend was to carve a niche and specialise in perfection, cause if anything gets big/popular it gets gobbled up/copied by others with more money

I'm not really that sure, as soon as I get dragged in and hear the word "fucking", I just switch off and nod. Works for angry partners as well.

When they say "I'm glad we had this talk", you know you're free to go.

"I don't fucking want innovation. You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

ouch. do we really want someone that says stuff like this to be the pioneer of "casual gaming"?

It's a pretty well-known fact Zynga steals the concepts for their games. This makes me more and more happy I never gave a chance to FarmVille.

Can't wipe the smile from my face after sharing the article on facebook. :)

I knew for the whole time that Zynga was evil, even before March Mayhem.

I'm happy knowing that by not being on Facebook, I've never played this jerkoff's games.

Having read fully the linked article all I have to say is...ouch! That evil, huh? I wonder if these guys are running against the East India Trading Company for the title of 'Most evil company in all history.' Granted they don't work for the government in a linked capacity yet perhaps, but still...doesn't mean that can't be 'fixed'. :p

Isn't Farmville Harvest Moon without the charm? I can pick up one of those games for pennies on the dime so I think I'll stick to that. Not so much because they're more original but because Zynga openly despises their customers. That's not how you do business, guys.

As odd as this may sound, I really admire Pincus's attitude. So what if he's not an ideal game developer? He definitely isn't in this business to make a glorious, creative contribution to video games as an art - he's in it to make money.

Is there suddenly something wrong with wanting to make tons of cash and being honest about how you're going to it?

DannibalG36:
As odd as this may sound, I really admire Pincus's attitude. So what if he's not an ideal game developer? He definitely isn't in this business to make a glorious, creative contribution to video games as an art - he's in it to make money.

Is there suddenly something wrong with wanting to make tons of cash and being honest about how you're going to it?

No. But I would say it's wrong to not warn your customers upfront about this being your attitude - that is NOT being very honest to begin with really. And do you really think all of those facebook peeps even bother to look up, of their own initiative, as to what Zynga does and how its CEO thinks?

You can state it's just 'exploiting the dumb fucks who deserve to be exploited', but in the end that doesn't stop you from being the kind of person who relishes in squeezing fellow human beings dry of their cash with dishonest cons and scams. And if you still don't see anything evil with that well then...feel free to apply to Zynga I guess.

You only started realising this... now? Wow, truly, wow.

Originality, new ideas or 'not-plagiarism' in Zynga's games are some things that aren't even fucking remotely imaginable.

DannibalG36:
As odd as this may sound, I really admire Pincus's attitude. So what if he's not an ideal game developer? He definitely isn't in this business to make a glorious, creative contribution to video games as an art - he's in it to make money.

Is there suddenly something wrong with wanting to make tons of cash and being honest about how you're going to it?

Uhh yeah, it's called not being productive to your species. Also, in the case of Zynga, lowering the IQ of masses of people.

Onyx Oblivion:
And this company nearly won March Mayhem?

Zynga doesn't deserve any of their success.

But I know how to stop them.

Shut down every other gaming company on earth, so that they don't have ideas to steal!

This is so crazy that it might just work! But lets take the easier solution and shut off the internet. HAH take that Zynga! No more browsargames!

The_root_of_all_evil:

Kragg:

hah really? i thought the going trend was to carve a niche and specialise in perfection, cause if anything gets big/popular it gets gobbled up/copied by others with more money

I'm not really that sure, as soon as I get dragged in and hear the word "fucking", I just switch off and nod. Works for angry partners as well.

When they say "I'm glad we had this talk", you know you're free to go.

or you could just say "Im glad we had this talk" while they are in mid-sentence and go back to playing your video games.

works for me.

OT: is..........is it too late to put up some "I TOLD YOU SO HARD, YOUR DECENDANTS FELT IT THREE MILLENIA IN THE FUTURE!" signs?

Daemascus:
Damn... another game maker has gone to the dark side...

except, he started in the dark side...

this is the perfect example of people that only care about numbers instead of their consumers or their product.

SirPumpkinLongshanks:
Isn't Farmville Harvest Moon without the charm? I can pick up one of those games for pennies on the dime so I think I'll stick to that. Not so much because they're more original but because Zynga openly despises their customers. That's not how you do business, guys.

The harvest moon series rules so damn hard. Charming enough to make me do digital farmwork for fun. A nice break from the action and racing games I frequent.

Onyx Oblivion:
And this company nearly won March Mayhem?

Zynga doesn't deserve any of their success.

But I know how to stop them.

Shut down every other gaming company on earth, so that they don't have ideas to steal!

But then Farmville/Whatever other shit they do would be the only other game left.

I had no idea who this was until now. Farmville strikes me as evil, anyway.

Sooo... can we keep these guys out of March Mayhem next year?

Onyx Oblivion:
And this company nearly won March Mayhem?

Love the fact the no one here is ever going to forget about Zynga's inclusion in March Mayhem...

More sinister than I might expect? I already thought they ate souls!

OT: I'm not that surprised. Farmville was terrible when I played it, and it really wasnt all that Intuitive.

To be honest, the creepy ass cut-out behind the guy should tell you they're evil. The girl looks like she's learnt how to weaponise corn.

Well, there is a chance this aint for real, but with Zynga... who knows (except Kotick).
But... I cant wait for March Madness. So much awesome posters i got. I lost 16 gb of my harddrive to funny pictures and Warhammer shit. I cant wait. Next year it will be even more vicoius with zynga as we link even this and they continue to swarm.
Now if GSC gets to the great eight (at least) I will be even happier. And if we or ValvE kill Zynga this time.

[quote="vansau" post="7.231405.8099191

The overall article is pretty unsettling. Until recently, I was under the impression that Zynga was a plucky underdog that had gotten lucky and hit a goldmine thanks to its casual games. Now, I'm just glad I never played any of their games nor gave any of my money to someone like Pincus.

[/quote]

That's either the best use of sarcasm I've seen in a post or you never read anything about how the CEO flat out admitted to using scams to suck money out of people via games like farmville in order to turn a profit.

Zynga is the scum of the gaming industry and I sincerly hope they get their comeupens(spell check inc) in the end.

I agree that Zynga is a stupid company, but I also dislike this article (especially) and a lot of members on the Escapist who are really desperate to defame Zynga and insult them.
They are making money, you aren't, they are lucky, sitting back and complaining isn't making them lose any money. Nothing you can do about it except ignore it.

Edit: I doubt the quote in this article is word-by-word true, and companies like Jagex and Sulake (the creators of Habbo Hotel) have been 'ripping' people off for years.

Onyx Oblivion:
And this company nearly won March Mayhem?

Zynga doesn't deserve any of their success.

But I know how to stop them.

Shut down every other gaming company on earth, so that they don't have ideas to steal!

This sounds like a great idea with no potential drawbacks for me as a gamer. Lets do this! Bobby already started with infinity ward and that was a big one.

Wow.. Now Bobby Kotick don't seem that bad.. I mean, i knew they were evil, but this was more than I had imagined.

Glad i boycotted(?) Zynga long ago, those guys aren't getting a dime from me!

Here we go again repeat after me "Four legs good, two legs bad". Its a business what did you except? I suggest you look up Thomas Edison and examine his business practices, which included bribery, copyright violations and forming a monopoly over movies in the US. Zynga are just following a tried, and tested successful path.

Clearly the director chap in the picture has an evil face.

OT: I never have or will ever play a Zynga game. They're pointless timesinks designed to rob people of money and the will to live. Frankly, I have a WoW account for that.

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