Join gaming leaders online at GamesBeat Summit Next this upcoming November 9-10. Learn more about what comes next.
In the torrent of coverage about Zynga’s purchase of OMGPOP last week, most of the focus was on the price, eventually revealed to be $180 million. Most outlets also reported that all OMGPOP’s developers were headed to Zynga, but it turns out there was one, very vocal holdout from the bunch.
That man was Shay Pierce, who wrote about his decision in an op-ed for Gamesutra. “It made perfect financial sense for me to join, but in my case, Zynga asked for too much,” he wrote in his post.
A year ago, while working as an independent contractor, Pierce built a puzzle game called Connectrode. “I finished and submitted it to the App Store shortly after my employment with Omgpop began, with the company’s awareness and permission,” he wrote. “Financially, Connectrode had performed the same as most spare-time indie game projects: not terribly well. It was reviewed positively by TouchArcade, Joystiq, and others, and it was featured by Apple for three weeks; but it never broke into the top 10 or sold millions. It wasn’t changing anyone’s life.”
Still when Zynga offered him a choice between his new job and Connectrode, Pierce wasn’t sure what to do. He tried to draft a compromise with his lawyer that would let him hold on to his creation and go to work at Zynga, but was rejected flat out. And so he decided to stick to his values and become self-employed:
Three top investment pros open up about what it takes to get your video game funded.
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? I politely declined to join Zynga and became the only Omgpop employee to be left behind. I don’t have a job; but I can sleep soundly at night knowing that I’m not working for any employer with whom I strongly disagree.
GamesBeatGamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
- Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
- The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
- Networking opportunities
- Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
- Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
- And maybe even a fun prize or two
- Introductions to like-minded parties