Inside Zynga: Tour the office that’s raised the ante in Web start-up workspaces
Remember when a foosball table or a massage chair at the office was all it took for a company to flaunt its Web street cred?
Today, such on-site accoutrements seem as passé as a cathode ray tube monitor sitting atop a desk – a fact reporters discovered on Tuesday when they were invited to the new headquarters of Zynga, the social gaming giant that’s poised to do an IPO of up to $1 billion.
At the event, Zynga’s top brass took the stage to unveil a flurry of new games. But the event also gave the five-year-old company, whose hit titles include FarmVille and Mafia Wars, the chance to show off the new theme-park-like digs it moved into over the summer.
Zynga’s build-out raises the bar in the time-honored competition among Web startups to prove who’s got the coolest office. Color, the struggling photo startup that recently re-launched itself as a social video service, once boasted a mini halfpipe skateboard ramp at its office (it has since been converted into seating area). Now the pressure is on Facebook and Twitter, both of which are moving into new offices, to outdo Zynga.
In the meantime, scroll down for a photo tour of Zynga’s new headquarters in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.
Visitors to Zynga’s HQ, as well as employees, must traverse this fluorescent tube to get into the office space.
This old-West-style shack served as the media check-in station during Zynga’s press event on Tuesday. Its function during normal working days is unclear.
There’s also a Winnebago trailer parked inside the Zynga lobby, which Zynga has dubbed the Zyngabago. The trailer’s interior features built-in tables and vinyl seating, offering an alternative workspace for employees in need of a change in scenery.
Company cafeterias are de rigueur among Web companies, the better to keep engineers from venturing outside for food. Zynga’s cafeteria strikes a whimsical chord, as if to make employees feel as if they’re at Coney Island. Zynga insiders contend that the grill cheese sandwiches are off-the-charts, though none appeared to be on offer during our visit.
During the event, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus took to the stage, appearing in front of a huge video screen of the cast of virtual characters in Zynga’s games.
At one point during the event, Pincus told reporters to turn around, upon which the reporters discovered that Zynga’s employees had crowded the multi-story catwalks. The employees proceeded to let out hoots and hollers. Some observers noted the similarity to a jail.