Zynga Senior Artist Reviews | Glassdoor

Zynga Senior Artist Reviews

13 reviews

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Senior Artist

2.2
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Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau
Frank Gibeau
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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 89 reviews)

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

  • Lots of indecision among upper management which comes down as thrash to the different teams (in 38 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Zynga offers fair salaries"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Salary was competitive overall. I had the opportunity to work with some very talented people

    Cons

    Company's products are mediocre; their catalogue is filled with too many tap grinders and slots style games.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Placate them with Money, Trips, Food & Swag"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Concept Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Concept Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    -great networking
    -amazing food, snacks, drinks, and a bar downstairs
    -a social place with lots of clubs and events
    -lots of swag
    -nice building
    -a gym
    -excellent health benefits
    -massages and acupuncture, nutritionist
    -good IT dept. to fix issues
    -community service that actually talks to customers of games and seems to care.
    -dog friendly

    Cons

    -i felt like i was being placated with all of the pros listed above to distract me from incredible intellectual boredom.
    -uninspired game making. jobs are so compartmentalized that the work is dry and boring.
    -office culture very competitive and at times people are willing to throw you under the bus to get ahead. sure, competitiveness is pretty standard at most companies, but when you are surrounded by competitve people all day who are gunning for your job, it gets tiring. i felt that coworkers were more concerned about themselves, their features, their titles and title progression and awards rather than the teamwork and products we were making.
    -a number of incidents of backroom deals for promotions that led to HR advertising to the entire company the jobs available.
    -i witnessed an art director ask every single male on the team for character design ideas except for the three women on the team who were just as equally skilled as the males.
    -little care expressed for your career development, which seems pretty counterproductive for the company and keeping talent around.
    -feels corporate (meetings, meetings to discuss meetings, etc), numerous e mails about setting up calendars and oh what a fantastic job so and so did setting up the calendar... gah!
    -some people I worked with seemed utterly useless. i sat next to someone who texted and surfed the internet all day and yet still managed to hold down a job. another guy had a bottle of whiskey next to his desk, which he drank all day and left at 2:00 unannounced. He also managed to keep his job. totally don't get how some of these people can stay under the radar.
    -stock = a complete waste. empty promises. MP and a handful of people made a ton of money while the rest of us were given empty promises.
    -never once saw a style guide for any game, lead artists non communicative, art teams were very dysfunctional
    -work-life balance completely out of whack. I felt like if I didn't put in a 10-12 hour day I wasn't contributing.
    -HR department can be downright rude. not everyone, but some definite stand outs.
    -Parking is a serious issue. Company refused to address it. I would have gladly traded in my free food and swag for a parking spot or a van carpool from across town.
    -I became sick with the flu right before a free trip for our efforts and couldn't go. Next pay check $1000 was taken out as "punishment". When I complained and even got a dr. note, the money was put back into the next check. I thought the trip was a reward for all of my hard work?
    -Some employees actually got fleas from coworkers dogs! That's terrible but also amusing - maybe dogs should have a note from the vet or something.
    -when i told the nutritionist that i was a vegetarian, she expressed deep concern because i might not be getting enough protein which would make me tired at my desk. LOL


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Mismanagement, too many levels of upper execs with too many opinions interfering with product."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    You don't need 4 managers per employee.


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  5. "A top heavy company that has it's glory days behind."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior 3D Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior 3D Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Zynga full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Worked with a great team of people when I was on CityVille

    Cons

    Copy of a.... copy of a... copy of a...


  6. "Fast p aced development culture, yet lacks focus"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Concept Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Concept Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fun office space, free food, cool coworkers.

    Cons

    company lack focus, hard to get a raise unless you are a Product Manager. Zynga loves their PM.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great people, poor management, poor environment, lacking creativity"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Senior 3D Artist in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior 3D Artist in San Francisco, CA

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

    Pros

    You will meet a lot of people that are very talented. I was quite surprised when I showed up.

    Cons

    The management is terrible, never leaving room in the schedule to be creative. You will be forced to follow orders and work late nights. It feels like a factory instead of a creative environment.

    Advice to Management

    DUDES. LET YOUR ARTISTS AND DEVELOPERS BE CREATIVE.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Decent perks and compensation, at the cost of your creative spirit."

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

    I worked at Zynga full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Great perks like gym, massages, haircuts, snacks, drinks, and meals.
    - Decent compensation.
    - Bring your dog to work.
    - Results-driven and fast-paced.

    Cons

    - Severely political to the point of hampering productivity and creativity.
    - Near-zero value for creativity, artistry, and innovation in products.
    - Too focused on metrics and numbers as opposed to creating meaningful user experiences.
    - Almost all projects are "fast follows" (copycats) of existing hits.
    - Terrible executive management.

    Advice to Management

    - Put more emphasis on creativity and innovation instead of just giving lip service.
    - Focus on a solid long-term vision for the company as opposed to following whatever is a currently a hit game to copy.
    - Stop policies that encourage political behavior among the workforce.
    - Value your artists, designers, and engineers just as much as PMs.


  9. "Great perks. Nice work environment. Company needs to refocus."

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

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

    Pros

    Great benefits. Beautiful facility. Great co-workers. Great salary.

    Cons

    Upper management is often confused and top heavy. Listening isn't their strong suit. Terrible advancement policy (or rather lack of one. Basically you need to kiss the right tail in order to grow)
    Company is entirely focused on copying exhausting games and less on taking risk and truly finding out the things that make games fun.

    Advice to Management

    Start having one on one sessions with lower staff. Ask them questions instead of talking at them. Listen. Foster creative environment by making smaller teams who experiment and innovate instead of investing big money in larger games and then canceling them when they do poorly.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "It pays the bills"

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

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

    Pros

    There are some very talented people working here and the culture is generally fun. Food and onsite gym is a plus.

    Cons

    There are too many missed opportunities when it comes to making quality games. The company is lagging behind our competition with innovation, fun and mass market appeal. There is extreme favoritism when getting bonuses and level ups, you need to be willing to play the game.

    Advice to Management

    You talk innovation yet you stay in the safe zone and fast follow our competition. How about you actually give us the opportunity to make new and original titles?


  11. Helpful (5)

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

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - Senior Artist in Baltimore, MD
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Zynga full-time (More than 3 years)

    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 Management

    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.