It’s hard to pity Zynga. The company rose to prominence with its share of social network games on Facebook that literally printed money. Be it Cityville, Farmville, you name it and chances are, Zynga made a cheaply designed game around it. Then after raking in the profits, Zynga decided to strike out on it’s own in an effort to garner even more cash.
The results, needless to say, have been nearly catastrophic for the country as shares fall in value and revenues plummet. And now, according to Kixeye CEO Will Harbin in a conversation with Gamesbeat, “Zynga is burning to the ground and bleeding top talent and instead of trying to fix the problems – better work environment and better products – they are resorting to the only profit centre that has ever really worked for them: their legal department. It is simply another case of Zynga vindictively persecuting a former employee as an individual.”
These statements are in reference to Zynga suing former Cityville GM Alan Patmore, who is now VP of product over at Kixeye. Patmore had admitted to taking 763 files which contained confidential game designs from various teams at Zynga. But considering Kixeye’s themes, would they really be used to gain an advantage on Zynga – one that they don’t really need?
Harbin feels that “given their financial situation, it all feels pretty desperate”, going on to clarify that, “Our games have little in common with the ones that Zynga is known for. We make synchronous, combat strategy games. They make asynchronous clicking games. We have 2 of the top 7 highest grossing games on Facebook. Why on earth would we want to emulate a business that has seen a 75 per cent decline in share price since their debut? According to their S1 their games average $.06 ARPDAU. Our games generate up to 20x that. You do the math.”