Ex-Zynga employee exposes secrets – copying, spying, contractors treated like “second citizen employees”

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Spying on players in order to get personal data, no wonder Facebook and Zynga need each other. A former ex-Zynga staff member has opened up an IAmA Reddit post, revealing both the good and the not-so-good bits of the company.

“No, this isn’t payback, or about a grudge. This is just word from someone who’s seen what this industry is capable of doing,” he writes explaining his motivation to do so.

So, what did the former employee reveal?

  • Zynga hires contractors and “treats them like second citizen employees, they almost have no feedback or say on their work schedule… they are [also] NOT welcome to company events, they are openly excluded from them. Yet they want them to work twice as hard as regular full timers.”
  • They spy on their players, “getting intimate gaming data, their habits, their networks and how to effectively monetize given X”. Also revealed was to skew gameplay in order to profit.
  • Worst things on the office? “Color Wars”, which was a company ‘cheerleading’ event apparently; and their walls covered with old memes. If you need an image – “Just imagine a bunch of noobs in /b/ mass bukkakeing your workspace with old memes.” Good luck getting that image out of your head.
  • “If you can’t buy em, clone em.” He even reveals that the core technology for FarmVille was bought. Though, he does point out that MafiaWars2 was “homegrown”. Also, to any developer, “Lawyer up” and “resist the urge to get bought out”.
  • What are some of the good things? “An awesome chowhall for food. 2 meals a day. Arcade machines all over the campus. Living in the carcass of the old SEGA building. Brogrammers committing bad XML and pretending to be programmers. (entertainment value) Designers and Artists committing bad XML. (moar entertainment value)”
  • All the best coders are flagged for Farmville, and all the crap games are “shipped to India, to die. Zynga India is ‘maintenance'”.

So, if you do find anything else interesting, do post in in the comments.

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