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Kixeye: "Zynga is burning to the ground"

CEO Will Harbin responds to recent legal action

Kixeye CEO Will Harbin has accused Zynga of using its legal department make money, as the Farmville developer sues his new employee.

"Zynga is burning to the ground and bleeding top talent and instead of trying to fix the problems - better work environment and better products - they are resorting to the only profit centre that has ever really worked for them: their legal department. It is simply another case of Zynga vindictively persecuting a former employee as an individual," he told Gamesbeat.

Zynga is suing Alan Patmore, formerly GM of its CityVille game, accusing him of stealing confidential data as he left the company in August. He is now Kixeye's vice president of product.

"Given their financial situation it all feels pretty desperate," continued Harbin.

"Our games have little in common with the ones that Zynga is known for. We make synchronous, combat strategy games. They make asynchronous cow clicking games. We have 2 of the top 7 highest grossing games on Facebook. Why on earth would we want to emulate a business that has seen a 75 per cent decline in share price since their debut? According to their S1 their games average $.06 ARPDAU. Our games generate up to 20x that. You do the math."

Zynga, meanwhile has reported that the judge in the case has agreed to continue a temporary restraining order against Patmore.

"Patmore does not dispute that he took 763 files from Zynga, which contained confidential game designs from teams around the company, and that he transferred those files to his computer at Kixeye where he's currently the VP of product," said Zynga's deputy general counsel Jay Monahan.

It's not Kixeye's only employee related headache in recent weeks; the company recently had to fire four members of staff over racism claims.

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Latest comments (6)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
In the words of Mandy Rice-Davies: "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" (often misquoted as "Well he would say that, wouldn't he?").
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Keldon Alleyne Developer, leader, writer, Avasopht Ltd5 years ago
Despite all that's been happening, Zynga does have a huge stockpile of cash, so there's nothing stopping them other than themselves. They could change their entire operation overnight and take the world by storm, flanking products, and flood the market with Zygna games if they really wanted to.

When their assets drop to $100m I'll start praying for them.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 5 years ago
Having "a huge stockpile of cash" can easily be part of a recipe for disaster.

Money isn't intelligence. It's just fuel. Money being driven by stupidity is like a fully fueled rocket ship that flies right into the ground.
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Show all comments (6)
Ove Larsen5 years ago
Probably 700+ files of already researched Skinner box data.
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games5 years ago
I'll second that, Tiim. I worked for Eidos Interactive during its early Tomb Raider days (1995-2000). I see that Zynga is making the same mistakes that Eidos made. They have (had) so much money that they thought that nothing could go wrong. Large sums of money were thrown around and nothing good/profitable came form it.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany5 years ago
My career in the industry is still a short one (just 5 years so far) but I already saw a fair share of good teams destroyed by poor conditions (or by an idiotic good-for-nothing producer)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 18th October 2012 8:43am

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