As Dan Porter Departs, Former Zynga Folks Dish

Backseat drivers.


You’ve got to wonder what employee happy hours are like in the legendarily intense environs of Zynga. (We’re gonna guess testy.) A couple days ago, the company announced the departure of New York GM Dan Porter, and former employees are already dishing to Fast Company. A lot of former Zynga staffers, it seems, are ready to trash talk the OMGPOP acquisition, which cost Zynga a $95.5 million write-down.

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One former employee complained to Fast Company, “They bought it at the peak [of Draw Something], and people got tired of the gameplay quickly and the usership dropped. We got the timing wrong.”

A former “long-time” product manager said Zynga timed the acquisition wrong and overpaid (double ouch):

 “It was a knee-jerk reaction to something the executive team saw as a threat to the company. If you look at OMGPOP’s portfolio of failed games, the fact that they hit on this winning game was an accident. People got bored of playing Draw Something after about two weeks. Zynga closed the acquisition and announced it when their numbers peaked. That’s almost comical.”

It wasn’t all criticism, though. See, one former GM delivered this backhanded compliment:

“I knew the OMGPOP guys–they were really talented, and really good at making games,” says a former Zynga general manager. “What they were bad at was making money, and they were struggling for a long time.”

In fact, it sounds like some of these guys aren’t mad at OMGPOP, so much as they’re disgusted with Zynga’s bungling: “The acqui-hire doesn’t make sense, and I think Zynga’s acquisitions are retarded, actually,” one former product manager told Fast Company.

Not to put any pressure on the upcoming game show or the celebrity-focused Draw Something 2, but this sob story could really use a happy ending.

As Dan Porter Departs, Former Zynga Folks Dish