A former employee of Zynga, the social game developer behind the seven most popular titles on Facebook this month, has spoken out against the company's business approach and studio culture, calling it "one of the most evil places I've run into."
Staff were explicitly told to steal competitor's ideas, said the anonymous senior staffer, speaking to alt.paper SF Weekly. "I don't f***ing want innovation," the ex-employee claims company founder Mark Pincus told him. "You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."
The paper said that it spoke with other former Zynga employees who echoed the same sentiments. None of the sources gave their names. Zynga did not offer SF Weekly a comment on the claims.
Zynga's business model has proved successful for the company. An investors' brief compiled for financial-research site Track.com estimated its revenues would be nearly $530 million in 2010, up from $300 million in 2009 although, as a privately-owned company, its true income and worth remain unknown.
Meanwhile, despite dropping 24 percent of its players since its peak, Zynga's flagship game, FarmVille, still dominates gaming on the Facebook platform, with 62 million users each month -- almost double that of the second-best performing title.