24th September 2007
Wow. Some select quotes. The thing is 5 pages.
"I don't fucking want innovation," the ex-employee recalls Pincus saying. "You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."
Cash infusions from the small but dedicated subset of players who purchase virtual goods with real money comprise the bulk of its revenues. These players, known as "whales" for the large sums they toss away online, pony up $20 or more per month.
Most former Zynga workers who spoke with SF Weekly about the company's approach to copying competitors' games did so on the condition that their names not be published, citing fears of retribution from the company. In 2009 alone, Zynga filed lawsuits against seven former employees.
Given Zynga's emphasis on user volume and revenue over product quality, efforts by its designers to create deeper, more artistic, or more original games were not always welcomed. A former high-level employee tells the story of Burning Realms, a sword-and-sorcery role-playing game that a group of Zynga designers "killed themselves to put together," only to have it placed on the back burner by Pincus, who was wary of a product outside the tried-and-true molds of apps like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and Zynga Poker.
"It was just beautiful. It was innovation," the former employee says. "And it was like, his money is not going to go to innovating. For people who were creative and actually wanted to make something, it was really depressing."
29th January 2007
Well when you think about it - that business model is not all that different from most other genres. The amount of innovation in FPS game for instance seems utterly nill.