★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Ex-OMGPOP Employee forced to either give up self-made game or resign.

03-28-2012, 04:55 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 260
Ex-OMGPOP Employee forced to either give up self-made game or resign.

Before I quote the post, I am reaching out to everyone to say, buy the game Connectrode! It's the center of attention in this story, and because of Zynga's new contract, he had to resign and is now out of a job and isn't earning any money.

Zynga — the publisher of some of your favorites games on iOS and Facebook — is a pretty scummy company, well known for ripping off other companies’ games wholesale and then having their own employees vote it up in the rankings. Sleazy!

So when they purchased OMGPOP, the company behind the wildly addictive and stupendously successful iOS and Android game Draw Something, eyebrows arched all over the blogosphere. Surely it was only a matter of time before Draw Something transformed from a good-natured game of remote Pictionary into something that makes babies’ brains into slurpees. How long until evil struck OMGPOP? Less than a week!

Over at Gamasutra, recently ex-OMGPOP developer Shay Pierce describes what happened when Zynga came calling and offered all of OMGPOP’s current employees a new contract.

In short, when Zynga bought OMGPOP, they asked all of their new employees to sign contracts that forbid them to work on any other games that would compete with Zynga titles… even personal side-projects, done in their own spare time.

Pierce had such a project: a little game called Connectrode, a Dr. Mario style puzzler he had created for his wife. He had made it before joining OMGPOP, and it hardly made any money, but Pierce had sentimental attachment to the game.

When Pierce asked for an addendum to that contract, specifying that he be able to continue offering Connectrode on the iOS App Store, Zynga told him that he either had to sign the contract as it was written or walk.

Pierce decided to walk. As he eloquently states:

And then I wondered: why was I even trying to compromise? Zynga has an Austin studio, where several good friends of mine work. Yet I had never applied to Zynga. Why? Because the company’s values are completely opposed to my own values, professionally and creatively. Because I believe that developers are at the front lines of game development and deserve to be treated well, and I didn’t trust Zynga to do so. All this was still true — except that their complete unwillingness to negotiate with me only confirmed my concerns. Why on earth was I even considering joining?

Well put. Of course, now Pierce is without a job, and his only source of income is the very game in question, Connectrode. It’s only $0.99. Why not pick it up to help support the guy with principles who stood up to the evil empire? We need more guys like Shay Pierce.


03-28-2012, 05:45 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 11,346
Hmmm, can see both sides of it.

I work for a company doing programming, if i was doing some in my spare time and they found out i would probably get the sack. Same with any of my past jobs.

I think you basically do what everyone else does, you dont tell em ! He was too honest, he could have released that game under another name and this company would never have found out.

Sure theres lots of examples of this though in gaming all over the place.

03-28-2012, 11:47 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Posts: 393
cool, I like this story, I like the idea of anyone quitting their job because it violates their principals. I have done this once myself. Downloading the game as we speak.

And and F**K Zynga
03-28-2012, 12:06 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 877
Zynga are vindictive A holes no doubt..but walking away from a job irresponsible. Does he have children to support? If he is a single man that's fine, but that's a stupid decision if not.

It's nice to value your beliefs but when you have a family to feed you grin and bare your A hole boss like everyone has to do.

I'll buy the game though, I respect the guy very much. Zynga is to earth as demneters are to the Harry potter world.

Currently addicted to: Duet game, Threes, Tengami, Oquonie, Platforms Unlimited, Perloo, Wave Wave
03-28-2012, 12:07 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,575
Draw Something is a woefully inadequate Pictionary clone with a ridiculously limited dictionary, ludicriously slow coin earning, and nickle and diming for colors for cripes sake. Just considering the dictionary issue, it's fun for a little while, but unless they make the dictionary 100x larger it's going to peter out pretty quickly. I get duplicates and I haven't even played that much. Others who have have gotten the same words over and over, even with the paid version.

This is saying nothing about the discussion at hand, only noting that Draw Something isn't that great, and was already a nickle and dimer - it's perfect for Zynga. LOL.
04-14-2012, 12:12 PM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Burlingame CA
Posts: 2,444
Originally Posted by crunc View Post
Draw Something is a woefully inadequate Pictionary clone
This seems wrong. It's the letter pool that makes the game, for better or worse that's completely different from anything in Pictionary.
04-14-2012, 12:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 808
Zynga is an asshole company but there not the only companies that do this...

So its not entirely Zynga's fault, it was just that guys choice.

All companies have a contract that you have to follow, if you breach it then you lose the job.

That really is how the world works...cruel and cold.

But good luck to that guy cause I hate Zynga.
04-15-2012, 03:56 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 551
I'm not following the big deal about this...
04-15-2012, 08:26 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,737
Originally Posted by Snozberry View Post
Zynga are vindictive A holes no doubt..but walking away from a job irresponsible. Does he have children to support? If he is a single man that's fine, but that's a stupid decision if not.
LOL at this. He's not some guy scubbing away paycheck to paycheck at a low-paying job with no marketable skills. He's been in the game development field for years. It's very possible he's saved money for situations like this, not to mention his former company was bought out for $200m. Yes, he probably didn't get more than a fraction of a percent of that, but that could easily be enough to tide him over until his next job. If you read the original article from the guy (not the flowered up one with the added "please buy this game" from an unrelated journalist), he says he has no children. His choice to walk is a luxury that I'm pretty sure he can afford and props to him for doing so.