Zynga

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Zynga Reviews

Updated August 11, 2014
Updated August 11, 2014
405 Reviews

3.0
405 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Zynga CEO Don Mattrick
Don Mattrick
84 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Free food and snacks are good and did offset some of the salary cut the pre-ipo hired took (in 52 reviews)

  • Benefits, cool office environment, in house Gym, breakfast, lunch and dinner (in 21 reviews)


Cons
  • Most employees have a very poor work-life balance, especially around holidays (in 40 reviews)

  • Low morale coupled with long hours at my studio (in 25 reviews)

More Highlights

90 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great people, never a dull moment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    Pros

    There are a ton of smart people, working with cutting edge technology. There is always something new to learn and can often translate that to your working life right away.

    Cons

    Things are a little turbulent after the IPO. The change to a public company has worn away some of the startup feel that the company once had.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Additional communication to the lower levels would go a long way. A lot of things don't seem to filter down so sometimes it feels like nobody is at the helm. The recent CEO change could help with that?

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    None of the bad things you've heard

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

    Pros

    Smart people, very focused, a great example of how to use metrics to run a business, great pay, good benifits

    Cons

    A bit of a "work late" culture, and the people don't actually enjoy video games!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Still a great place to learn.

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

    Pros

    There are a lot of talented people still at zynga, and some of them (not the majority, mind you) will help you learn how to be better at your job, whatever it is. You will have to seek these people out yourself, but if you do when you leave here your career will have benefitted substantially, even if your wallet hasn't.

    Cons

    Morale is in a bad place (but... Is almost certain to be in for an upswing with the new CEO) and management is on a fairly long run of under execution and lack of a clear vision.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The green light process needs to work at least some of the time.
    Licensed IP is winning in mobile, why not find a partner for this?

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    A Good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Game Designer  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Game Designer in Boston, MA

    Pros

    Good pay and perks, and good people in the trenches.

    Cons

    Seem to be stagnating and may have further layoffs

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop relying on numbers and get creative

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Well-compensated, and recognized at the company; killed it at the expense of my work-life balance. Unsure of its future.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Artist  in  Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in Baltimore, MD

    Pros

    -Compensation + generous perks. Zynga has a lot of financial resources and the ability to make Blockbuster titles. Whether they use those resources intelligently is another story. Free lunches, dinners, gym, health care, etc.
    -Opportunity for advancement - a lot of it, if you can manage to get recognized by the right people. That last sentence is key.
    -Average production cycle is a lot shorter than working in console development, which means more shipped titles in less time (if your team does it right)
    -Dynamic workforce - fairly easy to transfer within the company.
    -Has gotten better at recognizing games that won't succeed, and killing projects early. This could still use some improvement.
    -All star IT department that bends over backwards for employees.
    -Dog friendly environment usually makes it a joy to come to work (as long as the dogs on your team are well-behaved)
    -Overall, I really liked my experience with Zynga. I was lucky to be well-recognized within the company, and felt like my voice mattered and that I was contributing a lot to the projects I was on. The sense of ownership diminished substantially over the the 3.5 years that I was with the company, in part because of rapidly growing team size, and in part from the increasingly negative morale that permeated the office.

    Cons

    -If you're not a programmer, product manager, or high-ranking designer, you're a second tier citizen. The company not value each discipline equally. From a ground level, you can see this in the referral bonus drives (2x bonus modifier on getting a PM or Developer (engineer) hired versus any other discipline).
    -Hectic and disorganized. It's hard to filter the noise sometimes; games in my experience have never shipped on time; we constantly thought we were two weeks out from shipping, which meant a lot of crunch towards the launch of the project.
    -Company size has grown substantially and explosively since I started; because of the lack of organization and general chaos, I don't think we grew intelligently. This resulted in several studio closures after a very aggressive.
    -Work environment encourages politicking. Meritocracy = sometimes you get recognized for your skills and contributions, but you better make sure the right person sees it. Can be cutthroat, to the detriment of the quality of the game, as individuals plan terrible, un-fun features that maximize quick revenue but ultimately tank the game as we bleed users who can't put up with it anymore.
    -Impossible to get recognized if you're not on a succeeding project. Zynga funnels resources into its blockbuster teams, and the pool for bonuses/promotions/etc seems dependent on how well your game is doing (monetization, DAU, etc).
    -Extremely hard to get recognized at a remote branch, unless you're working a lot with people at HQ who can vouch for your talents. May be a moot point, anyways, since many remote studios were closed.
    -Cynicism, jadedness seems to have infected a good portion of the workforce; depending on your team, morale can be a bummer.
    -Thrash. A lot. There's been a ton of reorganization among upper management; I think part of it was to reduce the churn in projects to get fewer dissonant voices in on the greenlight process.
    -Tendency to let projects run on for too long, with too many resources, only to can it 9+ months later.
    -Extremely risk-adverse. "Innovation" is a joke, as every project seems to have Frankenstein'd each successful element of every previous title until games are hard to differentiate from each other and mechanics don't make sense in context; seems like stuff makes it in just to satisfy the green light checkboxes.
    -Work/life balance is what you make of it. It's easy to live at work when you get catered lunch and dinner.
    -Feature cadence on live games can get unreasonable. Your team needs to be good about recognizing when to dial it back; if you've got an aggressive General Manager who's 100% about meeting numbers, enjoy sleeping at Zynga.
    -Weird animosity between departments, depending on your team: Product Managers and Designers don't seem to get along. You should be working in tandem to make a game that is both fun and profitable, not against each other to get your way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think you're at a crossroads - you have the opportunity to succeed in a major way, following the successes of your former titles. But if you don't wake up and take some risks, a smaller, more agile company is going to smoke you. Get back to your roots with smaller team sizes; the huge teams are too disorganized and not everyone's able to contribute 100%. Throwing as many people as you can on a project does not make it wrap up any faster or better; recognize those diminishing margining returns and keep your teams leaner. Get over the IPO. Just, get over it and don't fret about the near-term stock price- if you start looking more towards the future.

    Or you can keep doing what you're doing; but I don't think it'll continue to work. I think the company's values aren't aligned with its employees' anymore, and you need to address that. Some of your top talent is being ignored simply because they aren't actively working on your biggest hit, and that's a shame. I'm pretty sure you can see the iceberg in the horizon - it's not too late to steer the boat in a different direction. Don't be the Titanic.

    Also: Consider reducing the swag budget. By a lot. After over three years with the company, I'm pretty sure I could go a month without doing laundry solely by how many Zynga-branded t-shirts I own.

    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Commit to the company and the mission and you will succeed and be recognized.

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

    Pros

    Start up feel with the security of a large company.
    Meritocracy - teams that contribute get rewarded as such.
    Management team - tons of industry veterans. Most recent reorg has everyone in the right roles.
    Data driven decision making

    Cons

    Work life balance is a problem for most. Unlimited vacation policy is rarely able to be utilized to decompress and detach from the office.
    High expectations from management with regards to turn around times that are sometimes unreasonable.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Software Engineer

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

    Pros

    Competitive Salary, Located in San Francisco, good perks. Good career opportunities if you join the right team.

    Cons

    Tough HR policies. Certain teams have poor working conditions and little concern for their employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hurry up with the real money gambling and mobile gaming platform.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fantastic experience like no other place you have worked.

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

    Pros

    Zynag is so different from where I have worked before. Free meals, snacks and drinks. We work very hard, but we play hard too. Dogs are all around which I love. Technology is everywhere so it is a career boost for me.

    Cons

    Lots of distractions during the day, so if you like peace and quite this is not the place for you. No offices, no cubicles and dogs barking. However it has helped me learn to focus and be more interactive when needed. You hear bad things in the news, not true!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Epitomize the saying 'work hard, play hard'

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

    Pros

    Awesome perks. I didnt feel like going home because the environment is so good. Instead of taking random coffee breaks you can actually take legit awesome breaks which increases your daily productivity and you end up going home super satisfied with your progress while not being tired at all.

    Cons

    Its very hard to point out the downsides of WORKING at Zynga. You may hate the games they make, or their business policies, but its definitely one of the best places to work at in the gaming industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The work needs to be distributed a little better. A common trend is that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. So you either end up working your brains out, or you have it pretty chill.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Almost too good to be true.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - QA Engineer II  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - QA Engineer II in San Francisco, CA

    Pros

    For a contractor, free food isn't that bad. Not to mention, though I have heard horror stories of other studios, the particular studio that I worked in was pleasant and the people I worked with were friendly and helpful. Also, it was very refreshing to have a voice within the development process and be listened to.

    Cons

    One studio out of multiple studios which were pleasant... the same could not be said for the others, which were most likely due to the fact that many of them had the strong possibility of folding. In addition, sometimes the negative mentality of other contractors was very demoralizing at times.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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