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games people play

Mobile-Focused Zynga Hopes to Turn the Tide with Sports Games

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 8, 2014 01:41 PM

Video game maker Zynga is trying to turn back the clock to get back to its gaming hayday, but its latest earnings report didn't provide much confidence. The brand reported a loss of $62.5 million in the quarter, and revenue was below expectations at $153.2 million. 

It's a time of transition for the brand that was at the top of its game for the past few years, riding on the wild success of Facebook-based games like FarmVille and Words With Friends before playing hours and sales started to slide. Now, the company plans to focus on mobile gaming over desktop. After all, as CEO Don Mattrick told analysts, “About 32 percent of time spend blended between smartphones and tablets is spent having fun.”

Just six weeks ago, Zynga released FarmVille 2: Country Escape, and Mattrick told shareholders that the company realized it missed a major opportunity to capitalize on the rise of mobile gaming back when it launched the original FarmVille—an opportunity that Mattrick vowed the company won't miss again.

"We’re cleaning up some of those misses and getting to a point of view on what categories are important and how to build great teams, great leaders and go after it in the mid-term but in a persistent way,” Mattrick said.Continue reading...

app watch

With Nearly $2 Billion in Revenue, Candy Crush Maker King Looks to Be the Anti-Zynga

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 18, 2014 02:02 PM

King Digital Entertainment, the 11-year-old Irish publisher of viral mobile game sensation Candy Crush Saga, has filed initial IPO papers with the SEC, declaring that profits surged more than 7,000 percent last year to $567.6 million from $7.8 million in 2012, with revenues climbing to nearly $1.9 billion.

While King is also pushing other games in its 180-strong arsenal, such as “Pet Rescue Saga,” “Farm Heroes Saga,” “Papa Pear Saga” and “Bubble Witch Saga,” its main focus remains on the mobile juggernaut that is Candy Crush, which sees revenue growth from the 12 million users (only 4 percent of the total!) that make in-app "power up" purchases. 

In 2013, Candy Crush generated 78 percent of King's revenue, begging the question that all big gaming companies are facing, including Zynga and Angry Birds-maker Rovio: Can a one-hit wonder make for a solid future?Continue reading...

brand roadmaps

Zynga Drops RMG Plan as it Looks to Less-Risky Expansion Options

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 26, 2013 01:56 PM

Zynga shares dropped 19 percent Friday as the increasingly beleaguered, once darling of Wall Street, Facebook and social gamers announced that it's abandoning plans for real-money gaming (RMG) in the US.

While legal in Britain, RMG is illegal in many US states and comes with a host of regulatory issues that can complicate licensing. Still, the potential move into RMG was viewed as a plausible life-saver for the failing company, which has seen daily users drop 45 percent since 2012. The decision has essentially drawn a red line through the company in the eyes of Wall Street. "By exiting RMG (real-money gaming) the company has eliminated much of the potential upside for the stock," Needham & Co analysts commented

"The decision really centered around focus," said Zynga COO David Ko, who underscored the company's need to create a new 'hit' like its popular Farmville game. The game maker now sits second to rival King, which has turned out such hits as Candy Crush Saga, the current No. 1.Continue reading...

games people play

Zynga Euthanizes PetVille; Forget Pet Cash, Brand Eyes Real-Cash Gambling

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 2, 2013 12:24 PM

For a brand whose logo is a dog, Zynga should have expected that putting down its PetVille social game would have raised howls of protest from some 60,000 daily active users (of more than one million registered users and 7.5 million likes) on Facebook.

Animal lovers and social gamers are mourning the loss of the game, along with ten other Zynga titles that blurred the lines between virtual and real-world games. Online reactions from players to the closure, as the San Franciso Chronicle notes, “expressed a particular emotional attachment to the game, and thus a greater sense of abandonment. Many saw their virtual pets as substitutes for companions they, for one reason or another, couldn't have in real life.”

Other Zynga Facebook games shuttered as part of the move include Mafia Wars 2, (the original Mafia Wars has survived due to its larger player/fan base) FishVille, Vampire Wars, Treasure Isle, Mafia Wars Shakedown, Indiana Jones Adventure World, ForestVille, Montopia, Mojitomo and World Scramble Challenge. The key factor is lack of sufficient manpower to keep them up and running — and, of course, the fact that these games weren't profitable.Continue reading...

games people play

Is It Game Over for Zynga?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 9, 2012 12:06 PM

Back in 2008 it made sense for Zynga to piggyback with Facebook and offer a games portal for the social newcomer on the desktop. But as gaming machines got more powerful and home consoles proliferated, simple click-click games gave way to those more complicated, more easily replicable by other game developers, and clicks got more costly.

Now games like Farmville and Cityville, once Zynga’s bread and butter, are being left in the digital dust as droves of players spend more time on smartphones than on social gaming and paying gamers now comprise less than 5% of Zynga’s user base. 

The billion-lapping Facebook garnered 14% of its revenue in the first six months of 2012 from Zynga, but according to CNBC, analysts are warning that “social gaming on mobile devices is growing at the expense of desktop, which is where FB derives the majority of its payments revenue.”

Its stock price has fallen more than 70 percent this year from its December IPO price of $10, and it's seeing executives such as its head of poker games, CMO, COO and Chief Creative Officer exiting for greener pastures. Is it Game Over for Zynga?Continue reading...

games people play

Zynga Gets More Visual and Social With FarmVille 2

Posted by Brandchannel Staff on September 5, 2012 02:33 PM

Zynga today released FarmVille 2 on its website and Facebook, described as "Zynga's next-generation social game that delivers a brand new farming experience through stunning visuals, beautiful animations and new ways to visit and interact with friends. FarmVille 2 allows players to create a beautiful farm and express themselves in a world that feels alive and reacts to every touch." More details in the video below.Continue reading...

branding together

American Express and Zynga Expand Virtual Rewards From A to Z

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 22, 2012 11:51 AM

American Express continues to innovate in the social media space, working with Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook, and now adds a major gaming play to its virtual and real portfolio. Today, AmEx and Zynga launched a co-branded, prepaid Serve Card, called Zynga Serve Rewards, linking everyday spending to virtual rewards for millions of online gamers.

Tied to AmEx's Serve next generation open payments platform and digital wallet, this latest move is a first in the prepaid card market by offering in-game incentives for daily expenditures. The reloadable Serve pre-paid debit card will reward users in Farmville cash.

“We're excited to partner with American Express to invent new ways for people to experience Zynga play in more parts of their day,” stated Mark Pincus CEO and Founder of Zynga. “Together we can add surprise and delight to every day shopping.”Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Hunger Games, Tiger Woods & more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 26, 2012 08:58 AM

In the News

Apple in sight of $1 trillion valuation, according to analysts.

AstraZeneca fails to stop entry of generic versions of its antipsychotic drug to U.S. market.

Bats alarms Wall Street with derailed IPO.

Bloomberg and CNN continue transition to digital.

Bulgari tries to make a name in wine.

Chick-fil-A pressure heats up.

Dairy Queen benefits from early warm weather.

Darden finds restaurant consumers remain fickle.Continue reading...

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