Zynga

By Matt Porter
Zynga Logo

Zynga Logo [1]

Contact

 699 8th Street San Fransisco, California 94103

Facebook: Zynga

Twitter: @Zynga

YouTube: ZyngaNetwork

Key Executives [2]

Mark Pincus

Mark Pincus: Founder, CPO, Chairman of the Board of Directors [3]

Don Mattrick

Don Mattrick: CEO [4]

Clive Downie

Clive Downie: COO [5]

David Lee

David Lee: CFO and CAO [6]

 About [7]

Zynga Inc. is the world’s leading developer in games for social platforms. Zynga develops games for Facebook, Android, Apple, as well as their site Zynga.com. The company is best known for its franchises FarmVille, Zynga Casino, and Words With Friends. Their games are played by 100 million monthly consumers, and their games have reached over 1 billion people worldwide. However, Zynga has seen a steady decrease in active users since the company’s peak in Q2 2012 as seen in the chart below [8].

Zynga Daily Active Users Since 2009

Zynga Daily Active Users Since 2009 [8]

Zynga has always stuck with the idea that games should be free and social. The main revenue for Zynga comes from advertisements. While the games are free for users, there is premium in-game content that users can purchase, creating another revenue stream for the company [13].

Zynga founded zynga.org, an organization using the social gaming platform to raise money for charity. The organization uses in-game purchases in games like FarmVille, and has used the proceeds to help with disaster relief in Haiti, Japan, and other countries [14].

History

Zynga Inc. was founded in 2007 by Mark Pincus and six other co-founders who are no longer with the company. Pincus founded the company with one mission: “connecting the world through games” [12]. Pincus founded Presidio Media in April 2007, but in July of 2007, changed the name to Zynga– a name to honor his American bulldog, Zinga [13].

Zynga started out on MySpace, during a time where other ad-based games saw success. Pincus was smart enough to predict that Facebook would be the future, and immediately shifted platforms for his brand new company. In 2007, Zynga released its first game, a free social poker game, for Facebook. In 2008, Zynga released Mafia Wars, a highly successful free-to-play game. Since then, the company has seen success with franchises such as Words With Friends and Farmville [13].

Finance

Zynga Inc. went public in 2011 and saw an early increase in stock value. However, as many of their consumers moved to mobile device, and their online games saw less active users, the value decreased [11]. The company saw a loss of $25.2 million, which is an average of three cents per share. They saw a smaller loss than they did in 2012 however, in which the company lost $48.6 million, or six cents per share. Their sales also dropped in Q4 2013 by 43%, from $311.2 million to $176.4 million [11]. Unfortunately, the financial reports for Q1 2014 will not be released until April 23. However, Zynga’s stock value rose from January to March, and since March 12, has been slowly declining. The value’s peak this quarter was at 5.29 per share on March 12. Currently, it is just over 4.00 per share [9].

Zynga Stock Value Q1 2014

Zynga Stock Value Q1 2014 [9]

According to analysts, the reason for this is that  Zynga’s main competitor, King Digital, went public in mid-March [10]. King Digital produced the popular game Candy Crush and while their IPO was a dud when they went public on March 26, Zynga stocks were affected by the competitor’s decision to go public.

Acquisition of NaturalMotion

Natural Motion Logo

Natural Motion Logo [15]

Zynga acquired NaturalMotion, a United Kingdom-based gaming company, on January 30, 2014. NaturalMotion has developed the games CSR Racing and Clumsy Ninja, among others. The deal involved $391 million dollars and 39.8 million shares in Zynga stock [16].

NaturalMotion co-founder and CEO Torsten Reil e-mailed his staff the day of the acquisition the following: [17]

“We are excited by this opportunity – it allows us to continue on our path whilst fast-tracking important areas such as scalable server infrastructure, live game operations and network cross promotion at scale.”

Kim-Mai Cutler of Tech Crunch believes that the deal was very smart for Zynga and that it will be beneficial because “Zynga gets a good portfolio of current and upcoming games, a character with real franchise potential in Clumsy Ninja, a middleware business and a 260-person gaming company that is culturally focused on quality” [16].

Corporate Structural Change

Mark Vranesh photo

Mark Vranesh, former Zynga CFO and CAO [18]

Zynga announced on April 10 that its veteran CFO and CAO, Mark Vranesh, would be leaving the company. Vranesh had worked for Zynga for six years, and became the CFO in 2012 [19]. Replacing him was David Lee, the senior vice president for enterprise finance at Best Buy. Lee officially started working on April 14, reporting directly to CEO Don Mattrick. Vranesh will be helping Lee through the end of April to ensure a smooth transition for the company [20]. It is not clear at this time where Vranesh will take his career next.

2014 Title Releases

Riches of Olympus

Riches of Olympus Logo [21]

Riches of Olympus (February 6, 2014)

Developed by the Zynga Casino team, Riches of Olympus is a mobile slot-machine game emulating Las Vegas style and quality. The game is available on the Apple Store, as well as Google Play. According to the official Zynga press release, the game will feature innovative mobile slot mechanics, such as sticky wilds, mega stack symbols, unique reel arrays and burst wilds [22].

Riches of Olympus Screenshot

Riches of Olympus screenshot [23]

Hit it Rich! Ted (March 13, 2014)

Hit it Rich! Ted screenshot

Hit it Rich! Ted screenshot [24]

Hit it Rich! is Zynga’s flagship social slot franchise. The game features addictive gameplay and releases different versions that include characters from popular films, television shows, etc. In March, Zynga released a version of Hit it Rich! feauring Ted, the talking stuffed bear from the popular R-rated comedy [24]. This was an interesting choice of a character, as Ted was released in 2012 and its sequel is not due until 2015.

Hit it Rich! FarmVille (April 10, 2014)

Hit it Rich! FarmVille 2 screenshot

Hit it Rich! FarmVille 2 screenshot [25]

Hit it Rich! FarmVille follows the same philosophy of the previously mentioned Ted edition, however this edition of the popular Zynga game promotes their own brand. This title was released just a week before the FarmVille 2 mobile game. Together the two franchises had reached 750 million users, so it was a logical step to combine the two [25].

FarmVille 2: Country Escape (April 17, 2014)

FarmVille 2: Country Escape on iPad

FarmVille 2: Country Escape on iPad [26]

Zynga released FarmVille 2: Country Escape, the first mobile-entry in the popular FarmVille franchise. The game was built from the ground up for the mobile experience, with touch controls designed to ease the use of planting crops and interacting with animals. Users manage their own farms, can visit their friends’ farms, and send crops and animals to connected users. For the first time the series’ history, users can play the game without an internet connection. The title is available on the Apple Store and Google Play [26].

Watch the trailer for FarmVille 2: Country Escape

Celebrations

WWF Cupcake

Words With Friends turns five. [27]

2014 marked the fifth year anniversary for the popular Zynga title, Words With Friends. Since its conception in 2009, the title has had as many as 55 million matches going on in a single moment [27]. This game is essentially a social version of Scrabble, allowing players to connect around the world and take turns earning points for placing words on a virtual board. FarmVille will turn five this year as well [28]. The company has been celebrating the birthday now that the latest FarmVille title has released. In addition to the milestone of their titles, Zynga has made history of its own. Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of the City and County of San Fransisco named April 18, “Zynga Day” [28].

The Future

Under CEO Don Mattrick, who formally worked with Microsoft and Xbox, it is clear that Zynga is refocusing on the games that make the company unique. The acquisition of NaturalMotion was a smart move to help strengthen their game catalog, and hopefully this and the corporate restructuring can boost them over their competitors.

Sources

[1] Zynga Logo Image

http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/11/1112_most_intriguing_companies/image/020_zynga.jpg

[2] Zynga Leadership Team Members

http://company.zynga.com/about/leadership-team/zynga-leadership-team

[3] Mark Pincus Photo

http://i.forbesimg.com/media/lists/people/mark-pincus_416x416.jpg

[4] Don Mattrick Photo

http://cdn2.independent.ie/business/article29286054.ece/d6e7a/ALTERNATES/h342/FIN_20130522_BBW_041_27682355_I1.JPG

[5] Clive Downie Photo

http://i0.wp.com/allthingsd.com/files/2013/10/Clive-Downie_1-319×480.jpg?resize=319%2C480

[6] David Lee Photo

http://venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/david-lee_zynga-cfo_final-headshot.jpg

[7] About Zynga

http://company.zynga.com/about

[8] Zynga Daily Active Users

http://www.statista.com/statistics/193422/daily-active-users-of-zynga-since-2009/

[9] Zynga Inc. Stock Chart

http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=ZNGA+Interactive#symbol=ZNGA;range=3m

[10] Why King Digital’s IPO will hurt Zynga

http://www.thestreet.com/story/12541345/1/why-zynga-znga-is-tumbling-on-monday.html

[11] Zynga Names David Lee Financial Chief

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303603904579493833027723694

[12] Zynga’s Story

http://company.zynga.com/about/our-story

[13] Zynga History

http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/12/zynga-history/

[14] History of Zynga.org

http://zynga.org/about/history/

[15] Natural Motion Logo

http://wwwtemp.naturalmotion.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/NM-Games-Logo1.png

[16] Zynga Buys NaturalMotion

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/30/zynga-naturalmotion/

[17] NaturalMotion Company E-mail Update

http://blog.zynga.com/2014/01/30/naturalmotion-update/

[18] Mark Vranesh photo

http://socialtimes.com/files/2012/11/mark-vranesh.jpg

[19] Zynga names David Lee new CFO

http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2014/04/10/zynga-names-david-lee-new-cfo/

[20] Zynga CFO Mark Vranesh Will Leave the Company Next Month

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/215261/Zynga_CFO_Mark_Vranesh_will_leave_the_company_next_month.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GamasutraNews+(Gamasutra+News)

[21] Riches of Olympus logo

http://zlive-s3-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/5002520-5da29e3bf3-450×215.png

[22] Zynga Casino Launches Riches of Olympus

http://blog.zynga.com/2014/02/06/zynga-casino-launches-riches-of-olympus/

[23] Riches of Olympus Screenshot

https://lh4.ggpht.com/_hsuF92FBC8h6bHuwkJq32E2IVyQJ4jNjoqn7n9TWNKo2cgQZmKrCdVBUSk0PiAVdw=h900

[24] Hit it Rich! Ted Edition

http://blog.zynga.com/2014/03/13/ted-joins-zyngas-hit-it-rich-slots/

[25]  Hit it Rich! FarmVille 2 edition

http://blog.zynga.com/2014/04/10/rake-in-the-social-casino-dough-with-farmville-2-slots-in-hit-it-rich/

[26] FarmVille 2: Country Escape Press Release

http://blog.zynga.com/2014/04/17/farmville2countryescape/

[27] Five Years of Words With Friends

http://blog.zynga.com/2014/01/24/words-with-friends-celebrates-f-i-v-e-years-of-word-play/

[28] Zynga Day

http://blog.zynga.com/2014/04/18/zyngaday/

Comments are closed.