Social gaming giant Zynga's Mark Pincus admits to 'horrible' practices

Social (gaming) suicide?

Social gaming giant Zynga's Mark Pincus admits to 'horrible' practices

Many companies will do anything to have you reaching for your wallet, and with sites like Facebook raking in huge amounts of internet traffic it was only inevitable that some less than conscientious business practices would come into play.

One such company to freely admit using a 'scammy' business model in its early days is the social gaming giant Zynga - of FarmVille and Mafia Wars fame.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, in a video recently released on TechCrunch, said, "I knew that I wanted to control my destiny, so I knew I needed revenues, right, fucking, now."

He went on to say, "Like I needed revenues now. So I funded the company myself but I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away. I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this zwinky toolbar which was like, I dont know, I downloaded it once and couldn’t get rid of it. *laughs* We did anything possible just to just get revenues so that we could grow and be a real business."

The practices he mentions are the ways you can claim the currency for Zynga games (Reward Points in Mafia Wars for instance). If you don't choose to open your wallet to Zynga directly, there are various offers that promises reward points upon completion of a survey, questionnaire, or whatever.

Unfortunately, this is where the problem starts. Entering your details, mixed with unclear information, can mean you are signed up to a subscription without even knowing about it till it's too late.

We're not sure which is most shocking: the revelation that most of these offers are 'horrible' and account for a third of Zynga's revenue, or how open Mark Pincus has been about the whole affair. In his defence, though, he made it clear he wants to fix the problem.

Facebook hasn't done much to prevent this sort of thing happening, so it would appear it's up to the developers themselves to rectify the issue.

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Ben Griffin
Ben Griffin
Having said farewell to university life, Ben decided to follow his ultimate dream of getting paid to play games. Luckily, Pocket Gamer was more than happy to help in his quest.