The Wall Street Journal reports Jing Zeng, former manager at Machine Zone known for their popular mobile game Game of War (that game that features Kate Upton in its commercials), has been arrested for allegedly stealing “trade secrets”.
According to the report, Jing Zeng attempted to board a plane bound for Beijing, China after stealing information that reportedly had to do with in-game player behavior such as how players spend money. It’s not actual source code for the game, but considering how successful the game is, this information could be very valuable for anyone interested in creating a similar game to provide some stiff competition.
Zeng was apparently unhappy with his role at Machine Zone and wanted to change teams but was denied by his superiors. They took it a step further by repeatedly telling Zeng he needed to leave the company. Zeng retaliated by downloading the files in question from his company’s database. His employers confronted Zeng and he tried using the files as a bargaining chip to obtain severance pay. Although Machine Zone execs reportedly were open to a three month package, Zeng wanted more aiming at six or seven months. He then gave conflicting reports about how many copies of the file he had and where the devices holding the files could be found. Machine Zone then went to the FBI who arrested Zeng on August 20th trying to board a flight to China.
It plays out like something from a movie. We’ll keep you updated on how it goes from here.