Zynga

www.zynga.com

Zynga Reviews

Updated 25 January 2015
Updated 25 January 2015
380 Reviews
3.0
380 Reviews
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Zynga CEO Don Mattrick
Don Mattrick
104 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.  

    Go in expecting to work hard, come out with many new skills

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

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

    Pros

    - For Product Managers, it's basically boot camp. Don't plan to stay long, but you will learn a ton while there
    - Very rigorous a comprehensive on decision making and analysis
    - Go in with expectations that you won't have much work/life balance and things will be okay
    - Operationally, very efficient, great infrastructure
    - At least back in 2011/2012 - you genuinely felt like all teams were staffed with some of the best in the world at what they do (and for those that weren't - they still aspired to be the best)

    Cons

    (Depending on studio, the environment would vary greatly)

    The Game Designer opinions have traditionally been steam rolled by stats/PM - hence the games generally lack innovation. The stats have a higher probability of moving a metric, however those optimisations rarely lead to a better experience in the long run

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    When I worked there it was a great place to work. Just not as challenging and motivating as it used to be.

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

    I worked at Zynga

    Pros

    Good work/life balance, lots of perks, resonable PTO policy.

    Cons

    Redirecting and pivoting led to burnout on projects

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Use small motivated teams to build products they care about

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Wasn't always a great job, but they're a great employer

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

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

    Pros

    Two meals were catered every day, and special care was taken to accommodate anyone's dietary restrictions.

    I worked in a room full of very experienced game developers from all walks of the industry, including a few legends from my childhood.

    For the most part, everyone was friendly, helpful, and invested in helping you succeed. Even when the whole team is stuck in the office because your update keeps failing QA at midnight, they come to you to see how they can help, rather than complaining.

    Zynga offers unlimited/untracked PTO for vacations and sick leave. Their official vacation policy was "You should probably take some." In an industry notorious for working developers to death, Zynga producers were known for pulling people aside and telling them to go away for a week or two for a vacation. And if a producer asks you to stay late to finish something, they'll sometimes offer you a day or two off in exchange. The whole office basically shuts down from before christmas through the new year.

    Cons

    Not a lot of original IP or creativity, in some aspects of their games. Also, the product managers are making game design decisions based solely on market statistics.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to keep on top of bonuses and and leveling up for your teams.

    Recommends
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  5.  

    Great learning experience

    Former Employee - (Software Developer) in Bangalore (India)
    Former Employee - (Software Developer) in Bangalore (India)

    I worked at Zynga as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Friendly atmosphere
    Helpful team members
    Encouragement to think of your own ideas

    Cons

    None that I faced during my internship

  6.  

    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
  7. 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
  8.  

    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
  9. 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
  10.  

    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

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