You may have seen this image making the rounds yesterday, where Dan Porter, CEO of Omgpop, which was recently acquired by Zynga for $210 million, writes, “The one omgpop employee who turned down joining Zynga was the weakest one on the whole team. Selfish people make bad games. Good riddance!” Markus “Notch” Persson, the man behind Minecraft, responded to him by Tweeting, “You’re an insane idiot.”
Porter was talking about former-Omgpop employee Shay Pierce, who on March 27 wrote a lengthy piece about why he didn’t move his team to the Zynga transition. He was the only developer to be “left behind.” He wrote, “Why? Because the company’s values are completely opposed to my own values, professionally and creatively. Because I believe that developers are at the front lines of game development and deserve to be treated well, and I didn’t trust Zynga to do so.” He also added that the only real reason he would be joining Zynga is that so he wouldn’t be left behind, explaining:
I would really only be doing it for the sake of going with the flow, and responding to pressure to either conform to corporate expectations, or be left behind.
These are not good reasons to join a company whose values are the opposite of your own, or to compromise your ideals, or to give up control of something you rightfully own.
Throw in the fact that he was the developer of a competing puzzle game on the iOS App Store, and Zynga considered it a conflict of interest and asked him to either relinquish ownership of his game or remove it from the store, and you can see why Porter might be disinclined to join forces with the company. While not the most successful of games, Porter explained that it was a very personal creation which he dedicated to his wife. In a last ditch effort, he and his lawyer drafted an addendum in the hopes of achieving a compromise. Zynga rejected it.
And thus, Porter’s Tweet, which has since been deleted, along with another where he wrote, “What’s so interesting about success is the number of failures who try to ride on your back. Shay Pierce is just one of many…”
And thus, Notch called Porter an insane idiot, an insult that rallied an angry mob of Notch followers to grab digital pitchforks and torches to presumably assault Porter with insults and slander. It wasn’t long, then, for Porter to respond by saying, “@notch it’s been a the craziest ride. So yes I may be temporarily insane. I just wanted my team who stuck with us to shine.” Notch, undeterred, responded with, “Well, you certainly deserve Zynga. Congratulations.”
Porter, realizing that he wasn’t doing enough to mitigate the wrath of the Internet, deleted his incriminating messages and wrote a series of apologetic Tweets trying to explain why he said what he said, before finally just outright writing, “I’m sorry for what I said on Twitter last night. No excuses.” Notch, now satisfied, responded to Porter with a simple, “Respect. ”
This was enough to put most of the anger and heat from the online community to rest, though many remain irked and have moved away from playing anything on Omgpop. They also see it as just another reason why Zynga is an evil and megalomaniacal company, even though the whole debacle only really regards the actions of one man with poor decision-making skills.
Pierce himself told Wired.co.uk:
I knew that writing the Gamasutra piece might burn some bridges; and I was sad to see Dan’s reaction since I thought we had parted ways on good terms. Despite his comments, I wish Dan and everyone else at Omgpop the best.
I really appreciate the outpouring of support from the indie game community on my decision to turn down the Zynga job offer. I’m trying to concentrate on what I love most — making games and spending time with my wife.