Lesson from OMGPOP shut-down: Don’t get acquired by Zynga?

I just heard the unfortunate news that OMGPOP no longer exists. Zynga shut it down officially, and strangely it seems like some OMGPOP employees found out about their layoff via Facebook. What happened between these 2 companies?

I used to be a huge fan of OMGPOP’s Draw Something. It was a fun, social game I used to enjoy with my friends. Then one day, I read about Zynga’s acquisition of OMGPOP, and this quickly made me lose interest in the game and switch to another similar game. It’s not that I don’t like Zynga but that I thought OMGPOP had so much potential but they lost it by getting acquired by a big, established company.

Zynga has had a bad reputation for a while. A company with a bad reputation never survives long. When talented, creative people start leaving, or when a company lays off talented people, that’s often a bad sign.

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What Zynga is doing wrong is as follows:

1. Zynga doesn’t have a respect for the company they acquired.

They acquired a creative, popular game company and they shut it down because they think it’s a “mistake”? Rather than trying to resolve conflicts and use OMGPOP’s talents to develop an innovative game, Zynga decides that it will just shut the whole thing down and lay off all of its employees. From now on, no start-ups are going to be “excited” about getting acquired by Zynga.

2. Zynga is known to copy games from others. A big no-no.

Talented people would no longer want to work for Zynga. Would you want to work for an established, popular company that copies games from others?

3. Zynga made an acquisition in a hurry.

Zynga obviously wanted to acquire OMGPOP because its game went viral and very popular internationally. Post-acquisition culture clash is actually quite common, but Zynga should have been more careful about the acquisition. Both companies and their management teams need to trust each other and share their visions.  It seems that neither were ready for M&A.

If Zynga wants to fix its damaged reputation and become a beloved, innovative company again, instead of acquiring start-ups hastily, hire some killer talents and let them freely create an innovative game that is not copied nor similar to other games. The management should be nice to all of your employees, and benchmark other company’s creative culture like Facebook’s if necessary.