One Indie Developer Walked Away From Zynga’s $US210m Acquisition Of OMGPOP

One Indie Developer Walked Away From Zynga’s $US210m Acquisition Of OMGPOP

Zynga’s absorbed a lot of companies in the last two years, but few experienced the sudden shift in fortunes that OMGPOP did over the last few days. Within two months, the studio saw their Draw Something become a breakout hit, which lead their getting snapped up by the social game giant.

A recent New York Times article chronicled how the influx of cash means happy times for OMGPOP staffers, with company co-founder Chares Forman saying that he went from having $US1700 in his back account one day to a whole lot more than that the next.

But Shay Pierce turned his back on all of that. Pierce chose to opt of full-time employment with Zynga because of what it’d mean for his puzzle game Connectrode. In a piece at Gamasutra, the developer talks about how Zynga’s values didn’t sync up with his and that the idea of giving up ownership of a game that he made with his own sweat made his pass up the promise of security.

It’s not easy to pass up a lucrative salary and solid benefits, of course. But I realised that ultimately I was letting myself be guided by simple inertia. I was part of a herd, and that herd was all going in one direction (and doing so with great urgency). I would really only be doing it for the sake of going with the flow, and responding to pressure to either conform to corporate expectations, or be left behind.

Pierce lays out exactly what it is about Zynga’s practices that he disagrees with, saying that organisations like the Farmville company views players as weak-minded cash cows and developers as replaceable tools.

The whole thing’s worth a read and if you respect Pierce’s walk-away-from-evil stance, then buy Connectrode on the App Store.

Turning down Zynga: Why I opted out of the $US210M Omgpop buy [Gamasutra]


  • Y’know, I’ve heard so many people in the last week going, “damn, 210,000,000 for an iphone game… what game can I develop so a massive company can buy me out” (note: these people have no development/design/coding skill at all)

    At least this guy is considering the work he’s put in, and doesn’t want his work bastardised by Zynga.

    Of course this just likely means that Zynga will launch TrodeConnect in a month’s time with exactly the same gameplay mechanics.

  • It’s admirable but I can’t help but think he could have taken the money, sold his game, and gone on to make heaps more with financial independence. Unless there was some sort of contractual obligation in the buyout that required him to stay there for several years and a no compete clause.

    • See, it’s all a matter of perspective. I would have done the same as this dude. For example, I’m not the kinda guy that can stick with a shit job that pays mega-bucks for years at a time knowing that, in the end, it’ll pay off my mortgage or whatnot. I did that, and it almost broke my brain. I need to do something I enjoy. Something that other people can enjoy – and the further away from the corporate mindset of bleed everyone dry, the better. Shay seems to be of a similar mindset, and I really admire him for that. I’ve got lots of friends who think I’m nuts when it comes to my views, but in my eyes, they’re equally as nuts for buying into the whole ‘well that’s the way the world works, so I’ll just go with the flow’. It doesn’t, and money isn’t everything 😀

    • Yea, just sell the game and make a new one, help out family and friends. That’s what I would have done.

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