Zynga Reviews | Glassdoor

Zynga Reviews

Updated February 19, 2017
179 reviews

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Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau
Frank Gibeau
9 Ratings

179 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Many non-cash benefits such as free breakfast, lunch and dinner; as well as, free starbucks style coffee (in 36 reviews)

  • Benefits - Free food, relaxed work environment, centrally located (in 88 reviews)

Cons
  • Since it's a gaming company there's literally no work life balance (in 60 reviews)

  • Upper management tends to micromanage causing a lot of the thrash (in 38 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (5)

    "Fun place to work. Young & vibrant."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Health Benefits. Vibrant work environment. Game development has its perks and fun. Best IT team that provisions best of breed software/hardware for you. Living/Working in San Francisco which has one of the finest weather in the country! Restricted Stock Units won't hurt. Pre-IPO company.

    Cons

    Very volatile environment as company is changing rapidly. Can be unsettling for those who have previous work experience on more mature and stable companies.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Awesome and lively place to work, incredible and open people, and kickass benefits perks!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The benefits and the amenities are great... The company definitely knows how to compensate their employees individually - especially if he/she performs well and expresses his/her concerns if they feel any. Bottling them up and letting them fester isn't going to help the employee or management in the long run.

    Cons

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working here... but yes, it is extremely competitive. There is pressure to deliver, but that's true at any large company. With that said, it is very classic startup in that work-life is seriously out of balance. Having been an artist at both a small company and a large company (Electronic Arts) prior to coming to Zynga, I'm used to high pressure and tight deadlines. That's not going to change in a highly competitive industry in the business of keeping the masses (with quickly diminishing attention spans) entertained. Although work-life balance is seriously out of whack, I prefer to err on the side of optimism that things will/can change rather than complain about it.

    I feel that the larger the company, the more difficult it is to get our ideas across and approved because of all the red tape our ideas have to clear. I acknowledge that Zynga has a great knack for metrics and seeing what's marketable/profitable, but the users aren't merely numbers nor are the employees who generate the games... give us just a bit more credit.

    Advice to Management

    Focus less on data and metrics and think more about giving more weight to the ingenuities and creativity of the people that work for you and the people you make games for. It's great that we're given a platform to express the ideas we're excited about, but what's the point when no one from higher up really listens or cares?


  3. Helpful (3)

    "The Smartest People You'll Ever Work With"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Literally everyone you work with is a rock star - across all teams, game studios, marketing, legal, finance, ad sales, etc., you're working with people who have amazing experience and an understanding of the game, tech and software landscapes.

    We're in a nascent industry that will change the way people play on the web. Mark and the execs are serious about their mission of connecting the world through play. Yes we're a business, and maintaining profitability is important, but we also all understand that we're in the first inning within the industry. The opportunity to build the way people connect and play on the web is pretty amazing.

    There's a lot of accountability and responsibility placed on individuals. I suppose if you're not the kind of person that wants to take on projects and push to make them happen, then this could be a con. I see this as a pro, people give you room to work.

    Great benefits - you see this a lot, but healthcare is free for employees, cheap for family members, and the coverage is fantastic. Dental, Gym membership/gym at the office, take your dog to work. Free meals.

    Cons

    Work Life Balance - teams crunch around new launches and initiatives, and because we're a service company, we've have more crunch time. Some teams are overworked, but there's also a concerted effort to put in support systems to change that. We'll see how that progresses.

    Need a better Roadmap. Related to work/life balance in some ways. When we see an opportunity, we jump on it and move quickly. It's one of the reason's we've been so successful. but that also means that people have to drop projects and move to other things, and that can be tough. It would be nice to find a way to maintain product flexibility, but not do it at the cost of weird cycles and churn.

    Need a better understanding of career advancement and management tracks - there are favorites at the company, and real superstars, but it's not always clear on what you need to do to rise to the top.

    Advice to Management

    Now is a critical moment, as the company is public and looking to build value for the long term. The talent and the product development is there, now it's just a matter of figuring out the most efficient systems to give feedback, road map, and help people grow their careers at Zynga.


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  5. Helpful (7)

    "Fun / Flexible / Great Compensation"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Software Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Principal Software Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Fun / flexible place to work. I think they spend $16 / head on us for lunch and drinks / snacks (remote office) - which if true, is a fantastic value for what we get. I'm not super happy with our (remote office) food provider, but the San Francisco food is phenomenal. I'd list the snack available, heathy and otherwise, but there really isn't space in this box. Outside of lunch which is frequently skip (not a huge fan of this office's caterer) I mostly stick with the "talking rain" waters, coffee, peanut butter pretzels, and the deli sandwich stuff. So it's pretty comfy. I've got the computer equipment needed to get my job done, access to spinning up servers if I need them, plenty of food / water / coffee. It's how I'd run an office because it lets people focus on work, not tactical BS.

    You don't get hassled over stupid stuff. No one counts how many "vacation hours" you have accrued. I had a bunch of trips pending when I joined, and ended up taking 4 weeks in the first 6 months (this is a lot - way above the norm), and as long as I get my stuff done - "have fun, see you in a week". It's a good policy and it's slightly self interested, as there's no pent up vacation balance to cash out if you leave the company. Again, I'd probably run my company the same way.

    Fun people - we go out for drinks every week or so, though SF drinks a lot harder. :). Lots of bikers, skiiers, gamers, runners, hikers, etc. Genuinely like most of the people I work with - which isn't true at all companies (ever worked with a "boring" engineer). And I'm not a huge gamer, but I play a few games -- my game is Starcraft, which we play at work at least once a week. We also had a whole-office TeamFortress match once which was pretty cool.

    Yesterday, we went bowling. Don't really like bowling, but went along for the beer and BS. We ended up betting pushups on the outcome, and the losing team had to do public exercise at the next day's stand-up.

    Professionally, I've learned a ton of new stuff here. I've always been a backend guy, and I got lots of exposure to modern front-end design patterns. The upside of my team flipping priorities a few too many times is that I've spent a huge fraction of my time here learning stuff that, in the end, grows my skillset and makes me more valuable. Zynga has a huge scaled out datacenter footprint - massive services and problems of scale, and all that jazz. Having worked on AWS, that's normal to me, but it's still pretty cool.

    Quarterly reviews. Also great. After a year-long review cycle, who really remembers what you did 9 months ago, if you even have the same manager. Again, I'd run my own company the exact same way. Also, with quarterly reviews, if you are "killing it", you can fly up the levels and get wild sums of cash / stock dumped on you. Seems fair to me.

    Overall, not a bad place to work. No one hassles you over BS, they do everything possible to enable you to get your job done. Social games isn't my cup of tea, but there plenty of technical challenges here to keep me from getting bored. Good people. Good pay. Good times.

    Oh, I almost forgot - there's almost always a case or two of beer in the fridge - I heard that's not normal other places.

    Cons

    Most of the negative stuff written about Zynga is BS or blown way out of proportion. eg, the whole "stock takeback" thing - if anything happened it was politics between 3 or 4 of the original founders. After all the bad PR, my (overly generous, way beyond market value) stock grants are more safe here than at any other company. what else? Pincus does NOT have 3 heads - he's actually pretty nice and a fun guy - though he will rip you a new one of you are in need of a "course correction" - so what? Have a thick skin, take the feedback, and move on. Oh, and Pincus DOES read and respond to EVER SINGLE email that is sent to him, typically within minutes. It's scary ... I think he may be a cyborg. But seriously, it's pretty goddamned impressive (just as a human feat), and I guess it lets you know that "management is listening", which is good.

    Nowhere is perfect. Lots of people in the main office and in the game studios pull crazy hours. But lots of them love it too, and most of those guys have eye-popping stock grants. There's also plenty of people who _successfully_ work a 40 hour week. Hours are flexible.

    Biggest con, and this might be related to my division, - there is some level of confusion / randomization on mission - things can change rapidly, one thing this week, a new thing next week. Though, in balance, I'll take that any day versus being back at Microsoft where a broken team could spend 5 years (literally, was there for 2 of them) doing something that was obviously never going to succeed. Less of that happens at Zynga, but it does happen. And in my case, it seems to have gotten much better .... at least for now.

    It's not a 30 person company anymore (not been for some time). There's a ton of studios, a ton of infrastructure teams, and several thousand employees. Same downsides as any big company. Politics and interest alignment issues do exist. Getting visibility for your work matters as much as how much you did. Same story. No worse than any other company of this size ... and perhaps a bit better... I haven't really seen any truly cynical politics like I've seen at other large companies; just the standard stuff of a ton of people semi-chaotically trying to figure out what things should get built and by whom. Only way to escape that is to work at a company of 1.

    Advice to Management

    I think they are doing a decent job. Standard boilerplate advice about figuring out how to align a 3-4k person company and avoid organizational chaos. Not sure I could do much better, or that other companies do it any better.

    I would like to see more "long-term" focus. Much decision making happens on a "what makes me money tomorrow" basis. This is beginning to shift, but we have a ways to go.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Very fast paced, incredible people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Zynga full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Excellent perks + benefits. Incredible talent. Fairly horizontal org. Dogs allowed all days. Lots of free swag. All the snacks + drinks you ever need or want. Gourmet meals every day.

    Cons

    Long hours, hectic at times. Not a very strong upper management team. A bit unclear on direction at times. Career Advancement is very possible but sometimes not very clear how

    Advice to Management

    401k Match sorely needed


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Much better than what the press says about it - This is a great place to work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Zynga full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    At Zynga you are next to really smart people doing everything at grand scale. Perks are awesome.

    Cons

    Big company, so not really a startup culture anymore.

    Advice to Management

    Make the company vision trickle down further down the chain. Whatever you say at the company quarterlies gets completely lost and ignored 4+ levels down from Pincus.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Amazing challenges"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Systems Engineering in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Director of Systems Engineering in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Zynga full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Technology driven, build type of environment, agile fast paced, be your own CEO, very smart people The technologies that are built are very impressive as well as the challenges that are offered from scale. Managing 50,000 servers in a production environment brings a whole new meaning to scale!

    Cons

    Vision, Culture transition, lack of overall direction (part of vision), management undecided if teams should be centralized or decentralized. With such a large production infrastructure to manage, as well as legacy (less than 4 years old), without having a clear vision of the future and time to plan, it is very difficult to know where the teams should be headed. More time needs to be spend planning and more experienced management needs to be in place to help provide direction.

    Advice to Management

    Clearly define vision and keep promoting within


  9. "Fast paced, tons of opportunity, plenty of chaos, high intensity."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Zynga full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Tons of career opportunity. People growth through positions quickly, you don't have to wait much for an opportunity to open up. There are all kinds of business pressures that will push you to grow as fast as you possibly can.

    Cons

    Terrible place for people who can't manager their own work-life balance. Zynga will respect your balance but won't manage it for you; if you can't either, you'd better be looking to work a lot.


  10. "Great Place to work, Good Perks, Challenging Projects."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Infrastructure Support in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Infrastructure Support in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Zynga full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    * Good Perks (Food, Arcade Games, gym, etc.,) , Projects / Skills look great on resume.
    * Challenging Projects.
    * Smart Folks.
    * Good Creative Freedom.
    * Technology driven approach.
    * Great Opportunity to build skill set even within the company.

    Cons

    * Work/Life balance for most part is just right, on occasion during crunch time can tend to shift the other way
    * Company has grown big but has maintained a startup culture.
    * Being a big company, there are a overlapping projects across multiple teams.

    Advice to Management

    * Keep Focus on growing Zynga.com Platform and build revenue model around it.
    * Focus on improving mobile platform.


  11. "Best in Class Data Driven Product Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Zynga full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Really impressed with the infrastructure and processes around data analysis
    - Rigor around developing you via applied experience
    - bright people all around
    - great office/benefits

    Cons

    - obviously some turmoil in the press, but somewhat overstated IMHO- company just needs to deliver, which I believe it will
    - Certain tools needed to do the job well can be slow, impacting ability to move fast during certain hours
    - Long hours, but worth it to teach you how to prioritize and to get add'l experience which would take twice as long anywhere else.

    Advice to Management

    Set expectations appropriately and hit them both with Wall Street as well as with employees.



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