It turns out you can't go around making a name for yourself by trashing your former employer in huge public forums without getting shot at back.
Earlier this week – days after Zynga bought OMGPOP for $210 million – a now former OMGPOP engineer named Shay Pierce wrote a column for gaming news Web site Gamasutra explaining that he would not join Zynga because it is "evil." He said that companies like Zynga think of users as "weak-minded cash cows."
Pierce got a lot of attention for his column. CBS News wrote a story about it. So did we.
Pierce's public insults were bound to rub some people the wrong way, and boy did they.
We received a particularly angry email yesterday from a source within OMGPOP who took a number of shots at Pierce.
This person said that while Pierce did indeed resign, that was "convenient" for everyone, because he was about to be let go for being a poor worker.
"He frequently took long lunches, his coding was poor, and right before his team was about to release our new Facebook game, Streets, he took off for a week to promote his own game at the GDC conference," says the source. According to this OMGPOP source, this all happened while Pierce's team was pulling late nights in the office to prepare for launch.
When we asked Pierce about the allegations he told us, "Prior to my resignation, I never received any indication from my manager or company that I was performing poorly and 'about to be let go.'"
The OMGPOP source agrees that Pierce hadn't been informed about the impending firing, but says he was definitely on the chopping block.
As for the conference, Pierce says he attended for "professional development because I am passionate about improving my craft as a developer. I did not attend to promote my game." He says OMGPOP agreed to send him initially but later declined when The Street was scheduled to launch on the first day of the conference. Piece asked permission from both his manager and CEO Dan Porter to take vacation and attend GDC on his dime and both said yes.
The OMGPOP source also complained that Pierce frequently wrote "verbose, lengthy emails" unrelated to his work. One in particular was passed around OMGPOP in which Pierce asked how much he contributed to Draw Something's success (see below).
The source says Pierce didn't work on Draw Something at all. "He was trying to take credit for the a game he never worked on. It was strange," we were told.
Pierce says he wrote in his initial-Zynga bashing article that he "did not work on Draw Something." Yesterday, when CBS News ran an incorrect headline saying he had been a developer on the game, he says he contacted the author to correct it.
"I did not work on Draw Something nor have I ever claimed credit for any part of the game’s development," says Pierce.
Here's the email written by Pierce, below. (DST was what OMGPOP used to call Draw Something). Pierce was employed at OMGPOP from 6/1/11 - 3/21/12.
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