Zynga

www.zynga.com

Zynga Reviews

Updated 25 January, 2015
Updated 25 January, 2015
382 Reviews
3.0
382 Reviews
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Zynga CEO Don Mattrick
Don Mattrick
105 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Free food & stuff if that is important to you (in 57 reviews)

  • Benefits, cool office environment, in house Gym, breakfast, lunch and dinner (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Most employees have a very poor work-life balance, especially around holidays (in 42 reviews)

  • Low morale coupled with long hours at my studio (in 27 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A Dysfunctional Step Towards Better Pastures

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Zynga as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    + If you can successfully do your job here, you can probably successfully do your job anywhere
    + Doglovers' paradise
    + Baristas at the free espresso bar were basically wizards of their craft
    + Actually, the entire culinary team is incredible. Eat their food any chance you get, especially the snacks made in-house: pickles, coconut granola, beef jerky, ice cream, etc. Stuff it in your bag, fill your cheeks with it like a deranged hamster. Their food is so good.
    + Actually actually, the entire facilities team is stupendous! Do you know how hard it is to keep a place as huge as Zynga is clean, secure, and running smoothly? Facilities staff are the unsung heroes of this story, guys.
    + Convenient free shuttles to BART, Caltrain, and down the Peninsula
    + I loved my team. LOVED. Greatest group of people I've ever worked with. Sadly, I'm not evaluating them; I'm evaluating the company.

    Cons

    Look, this place is what it is: a stepping stone; a place to refine one's skills in the fire before heading out for that real dream job - and they know it. The turnover/attrition rate here is unbelievably high - if you've worked at Zynga for a year, you've done some serious time. The recruiting team tries to keep the staffing numbers up and oftentimes relies on bringing in non-local candidates. Zynga's rep in the Bay Area has been torched so badly, the local workforce (and those who are tuned into the goings on of the tech and gaming industries) know to stay away. So we look out-of-state, for candidates who want to move to the Bay Area and just need a way in. Once they get here, work a couple of months and find a place to live, they get the hell out and into a more reputable company.

    I was a contractor for them. A good portion of the "expendable" workers (aka: anyone not a software engineer) are. That way, once leadership looks at its quarterly/EOY reports and decides that it's been bleeding money and needs to tighten up, it's easy to sweep out the chaff, without needing to go through the fuss of actually laying off FT employees and paying severance. My boss had no notice that me and four of my coworkers were going to be cut; she had no say in who was going to be cut.

    As a contractor, I was also sometimes on the outside looking in: I couldn't attend the company holiday party unless I was a FTE's +1, I wasn't allowed to use the (awesome) company gym, and I got none of the supposedly-lovely benefits and generous vacation policy. That's pretty standard for contractor work, I guess. I'm just spoiled and grumping about that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leadership: I know you know that Zynga is dysfunctional and broken. I know you know your reputation. Why do you continually ignore the fact that you're bleeding out? I was here for a short time, in a limited capacity. If I couldn't even really see the leaders trying to lead, how is the public supposed to see it?

    Assess and address your apathetic and disillusioned workforce and commit to being strong and honest leaders. Don't perform triage anymore; you're beyond that stage and you know it.

    Negative Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Forgotten how to make games

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Game
    Former Employee - Senior Game

    I worked at Zynga

    Pros

    Decent pay and benefits, good food, still some talented folks working there. San Francisco is a great city. If you're young, political and hip you can get ahead fast.

    Cons

    They don't make games any more, and the ones they do make nobody wants to play. The management is corrupt and incompetent, and people survive by torpedoing projects rather than making them. It's far more important to be cool than it is to be competent. They hate older workers. People from other game companies no longer respect time spent at Zynga (but it does gain you sympathy).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make some games and release them. See who is actually productive and who is really good at making noise in meetings. Hipness is not a substitute for ability to produce, and older workers actually have useful things to contribute.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Mismanagement, too many levels of upper execs with too many opinions interfering with product.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Zynga

    Pros

    Free food, complimentary gym, other perks.

    Cons

    Management, producer to game developer ratio is insane, definitive example of too many cooks in the kitchen.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You don't need 4 managers per employee.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    They paid me well to make products I wasn't too proud to be working on.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Artist in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Artist in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Zynga full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    It was good pay, and most of the people I interacted with were nice. They did their best, most of the time, to put me on projects that suited my tastes, in theme, anyway.

    Cons

    They seemed slow and reluctant to change, preferring to stick to old product models that appeared to be losing their popularity, while canceling new and different products that I thought had great potential, before giving them a chance,

    Too focused on whether they thought a game was good at "addicting" players rather than on making them want to play because it was a good, fun game.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to the people who are in the trenches, who know what good games are, and listen less to the accountants. Good games will make money for the long run. Games excessively focused on and motivated by making money may do so in the short term, but not in the long term.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6.  

    Good people, bad culture.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Zynga full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Analytical skills are honed, especially for optimizing growth. People work hard and there is a no nonsense culture.

    Cons

    Long hours and on call weekends, team members change quickly because of churn, and company is very money-minded instead of product-minded.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    fresh college guys

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I have been working at Zynga

    Pros

    free food and free snacks

    Cons

    it's full of fresh college guys who know nothing

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Too many rock stars ruin the work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Zynga full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Cutting edge technology, or at least it was.

    Cons

    Not everyone wants to live at their job.
    long, long hours, poor pay, too much good old boy poLititz and a "merit" system based more on who can climb over the real worker bees and take credit

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop with everyone is a CEO BS. Too often the loudest people get heard even though they are often the least knowledgeable. Find your experst and who are your real strategic thinkers and listen to them, not the 1st year programmer who writes code that's bloated and bad. Listen to those who have experience in community management and not to some producer who thinks the game is his. It's not, it belongs to the players and stop trying to tell your users what you want them to want and listen to what they are telling you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Lack of true leadership, fun during the good times.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director, Product Management in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Director, Product Management in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I have been working at Zynga

    Pros

    Great workplace perks at HQ, fun environment, bring your dog to work, dynamic industry.

    Cons

    Lack of vision and leadership (original CEO & management team was still there) beyond its initial success. People believed their own hype and didn't invest properly in the future (i.e. mobile) before it was too late. Internal studios didn't work well together. Short term rewards and thinking meant no industry leadership beyond initial successes on Facebook.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in the future in terms of product strategy, values, and people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Starving the Golden Goose

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Zynga

    Pros

    Lots of variety of games to work on, some GREAT people there, wonderful talent. I loved the dogs all around, it really made it fun to be there, especially during crunch time. Decent pay for the region, great free food, great teams. Clean neat environment. TEAMS were great, lots of autonomy. Very good "flex time" policies. Yes, GREAT FOOD. Nice in-house gym.

    Cons

    I have a particular sore spot with the so-called "meritocracy" shell game.

    Sure, there WERE deserving people who did over and above the call of duty, and deserved recognition, and the "level-up" was great for them. BUT.... it's easy to "level-up" if the company has an established policy of downgrading your position when you start a new project to a lesser title! I found out by accident that this had happened to me, when I noticed that my job description on my pay stub was not what I was hired for. When I questioned it, first it was described as an error that would soon be corrected. Two months later it was "wait until the end of quarter when we change all the new titles". More weeks waiting it was "sorry, that's just what it is". Then a couple months later, "sorry, that title (the one I was HIRED with!) has a higher pay scale and would need approval." HUH? My HIRED description has a higher pay scale than the downgraded one I discovered I had been labeled with? It took multiple directors standing behind me to restore my original title, and many months. And no, my pay scale was never corrected.

    And I found out that I was one of many who had discovered themselves downgraded in position when they started new projects -- but they were mostly too intimidated to speak up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stick to your promises. Never NEVER ask an employee to give back a hiring perk / bonus / stock options! Respect the titles you hired them with. (If you needed and "bought" a Land Rover, but later you just need it to deliver newspapers door to door, you STILL OWN A LAND ROVER, you're just choosing to use it for simpler jobs. For now.)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Great in some ways, lacking in others

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Manager
    Former Employee - Product Manager

    I worked at Zynga

    Pros

    - Exceptionally open culture
    - Great data infrastructure
    - Lots of smart people and a hip office make for a fun work environment
    - Good career growth and mobility

    Cons

    - Tough place to get groundbreaking products off ground
    - Hampered by early success in some ways as it's hard for new ideas to start from the ground up
    - Work/life balance can be difficult to achieve, but varies by group
    - Lots of "best practices" make the company slower than before

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus more on the "fun" part of game design and be careful with making the place too bureaucratic as it may sap creativity and innovation.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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