MediaFile

The whole world is going to play together: Zynga founder

“Do you want to play Atari?”

Mark Pincus is sharing an inscription from his high school yearbook with a roomful of journalists at his company Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters.

The purpose of this event, called Zynga Unleashed, is to reveal the roadmap of one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing companies – but right now Pincus is looking back.

“I spent my youth trying to get everyone around me to play games,” he continues. “But somewhere between high school in my first job, games stopped happening. I think that video games were too complicated for the people around me and I couldn’t rationalize sitting and playing alone.”

The narrative Pincus is spinning omits a few twists and turns: the overseas stint, Harvard, the Washington years and the failed social network. He jumps right into the chip factory, five blocks down the road, where his multibillion dollar gaming company got its start five years ago.

“I set out with a small group of people to make gaming free, social and accessible. And something that would bring my friends and family back to play,” he relates, pressing a clicker that keeps the slides moving.

Zynga’s Pincus fights back against copycat accusations

Mark Pincus, the CEO of Zynga, isn’t pleased with reports that Zynga is ripping off games from small developers so he is doing something about it–wielding his pen to write passionate manifestos to employees invoking Silicon Valley greats like Apple.

After a game developer accused Zynga of copying a game called “Tiny Tower”,  Pincus sent a 60-line memo to employees to make sure his flock knows Zynga has done nothing wrong, (the memo was leaked to the blog VentureBeat and later obtained by Reuters).

“Google didn’t create the first search engine. Apple didn’t create the first mp3 player or tablet. And, Facebook didn’t create the first social network. But these companies have evolved products and categories in revolutionary ways.”

Is Siemens coming after Zynga?

Bewell_inside1Zynga better brace for its newest rival, the German manufacturing behemoth Siemens, which is reinventing itself as a social gaming startup with its first title out today, “Plantville.”

While Zynga makes money by selling virtual items in their games, say tractors, Siemens won’t charge for any items and just wants to muster up interest in “math, science and technology while inspiring the next generation of plant managers.” Siemens, keep in mind, has the edge of having sold tractors in real life.

And just because Plantville is an educational game, which could scare away users,  it doesn’t mean Zynga shouldn’t be shaking in its boots.