Zynga guilty of cloning and 'choking out the competition', claims former studio engineer

Social studio's practices branded 'creepy'

Zynga guilty of cloning and 'choking out the competition', claims former studio engineer
With both NimbleBit and Buffalo accusing the firm of plagiarism, it's not been the easiest few weeks for those at social studio Zynga.

Indeed, further choppy waters appear to lay ahead, with a disgruntled former engineer letting rip into the studio by highlighting what he or she believes were the 'creepy' goings on behind closed doors at the outfit.

Spy vs. spy

Posting a job termination certificate as truth, the former employee has used a question and answer thread on Reddit to dish dirt on the studio, most notably claiming Zynga actively spies on its userbase.

"Getting intimate gaming data, their habits, their networks, and how to effectively monetise given X," said the anonymous engineer when asked just what "creepy" activities the studio engages in.

"Another issue was skewing gameplay for the sake of profit. Example; I actually resorted to bad math, to make the case for making a feature more fun.

"I looked at the code, and tweaked some values, gave it back to QA guy, and fun was restored. Product Manager overrides this, goes for unfun, yet more profitable version."

All work no play

The ex-employee went on to claim Zynga rates metrics far higher than gameplay.

"Product managers rely on metrics more for office politics, not science, not game design," reads the post.

"Zynga is a marketing company, not a games company."

Specifically in relation to recent accusations of plagiarism aimed in Zynga's direction, the engineer said the publisher's attitude can be defined as "if you can't buy em, clone em".

"Even the core technology for FarmVille (MyMiniLife), was bought," the source adds.

"The only 'homegrown' codebases at Zynga is Mafia Wars 2 and maybe Poker, the rest of their tech was just bought from small studios. To me, that's utterly creepy. They try to choke out the competition by gating all these engines and tech."

[source: Business Insider]

When Matt was 7 years old he didn't write to Santa like the other little boys and girls. He wrote to Mario. When the rotund plumber replied, Matt's dedication to a life of gaming was established. Like an otaku David Carradine, he wandered the planet until becoming a writer at Pocket Gamer.


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