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Zynga's plan to keep its remaining executives on board: Splash the cash
Zynga's plan to keep its remaining executives on board: Splash the cash
April 5, 2013 | By Mike Rose

Social games company Zynga is still shedding top executives, with notable people like GM Dan Porter and chief game designer Brian Reynolds walking away recently. Now the company has boosted its top executive salaries in a bid to keep its top signings on board.

Zynga lost a huge number of executives in 2012, but a new SEC 8-K filing from the company sets out the FarmVille developer's aim to retain its remaining management team through monetary incentives.

The company says that the new upgraded salary points for its executives are "specifically designed to retain and incentivize the executive team and drive stockholder value."

As noted by Inside Social Games, many of Zynga's current executives have been treated to notable pay bumps, with some now receiving nearly double their annual pay in 2012 as of April 1, 2013.

Each executive is also being offered huge bonuses based on their performance over the coming year, with some able to potentially earn anything between $1.4 million and $1.7 million in total.

Meanwhile, Zynga's CEO and co-founder Mark Pincus has cut his salary down to $1 for the current fiscal year with no cash or equity bonus incentives possible.

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Paul Marzagalli
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The Zynga story is such a fascinating one. A few years ago folks like Brian Reynolds were flocking to the company (and similar ones), claiming that this is where the future of gaming was. Now, the company is shuttering branches left and right, other start-ups have fallen by the wayside, and the talent is jumping ship like it is the Titanic. It is playing out like a really condensed version of the tech bubble burst.

There's a really good book in here somewhere about the how and the why of this, not just from a business angle but presumably a design standpoint as wel. Whoever writes it, please let me know so that I can read it.

Mark Troyer
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I am one of several hundred (ex)employees that could provide some insight having joined before Zynga became well known (Pre-Farmville) and having left post IPO and financial fall but I don't think it's as big a mystery as you might think.

However, I do think it warrants a blog post or organized thought rather than a comment reply. :) I know there have been some colleagues that have walked away quite angrily but I am not one them.

Alan Boody
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I kind of liken Zynga's fall to over fishing. You cast out your wide net to capture as much fish as possible, but continue to so with complete disregard. Soon, you start catching less and less fish then eventually your returns on fishing are not enough to make up for the expenses.

Well, it may not entirely paint the picture of what happened to Zynga, but this is how I feel about free-to-play games, in general. It's just so over saturated now with game developers all trying to over fish. There's only so many whales out there to catch.

I see a bubble for free-to-play -as it is- and that bubble will burst. People will wise up to this scheme. In the end, I think it'll hurt the game business since people will continue to expect 'free' stuff, but will be far less inclined to spend money.

Carlo Delallana
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Hope the people who actually make the games also get salary increases and bonuses.

John Teymoorian
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Not very likely.

Brendan Vance
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Say, this wouldn't happen to be one of those situations where a public company's shareholders hire slash-and-burn executives at the top level to 'downsize' the company (and therefore cause the share price to skyrocket as everyone in Wall Street begins speculating on the micro-bubble that is the corporation's soon-to-be corpse) while simultaneously hiking their salaries and installing various other shady mechanisms of personal profit (ostensibly as a means of 'competing' with all the other CEOs with whom they are in truth colluding to inflate each other's salaries) so that everyone on top can jump ship at exactly the right moment and escape in golden parachutes while anyone attempting to play by the rules is swindled out of the fruits of their labor, would it?

Jason Carter
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Oh, yeah... probably. : /

This happened with Kodak, who the company I work for does Utilities for. Reading some of the articles about it is... well baffling doesn't quite convey the awe and shock at how poorly the company was run.