Photo: Twitter / @iqpierce
Game developer Shay Pierce is refusing to work for Zynga, even though Zynga just bought OMGPOP, the company Pierce works for, for $180 million in cash.
In a guest column on Gamasutra, Pierce says Zynga is an “evil” company.
He says it is evil not for trying to make a profit, but for trying to make one without regard for the harm it’s doing along the way:
An evil company is trying to get rich quick, and has no regard for the harm they’re doing along the way. It’s not making things of value, it’s chasing a gold rush.
An evil game company isn’t really interested in making games, it’s too busy playing a game — a game with the stock market, usually. It views players as weak-minded cash cows; and it views its developers as expendable, replaceable tools to create the machines that milk those cows.
It follows unsustainable practices (like cloning or even completely screwing innovators; or abusing viral channels until they have to be curtailed) — all practices which, in the long-term, not only make things worse for every other company in the industry, but ultimately for itself. Zynga is not the only one of these, but yes, they fit my definition.
Pierce has since turned down the offer to start an independent game studio. Pierce was not on the team that created Draw Something, the app that was so popular it forced Zynga to buy OMGPop.
Zynga makes games that 70 million people play every day. They must be doing something right, because people like playing their games. Just because the games are built for virality over Pierce’s definition of quality, doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t good games; it just means that they appeal to a different audience.