Zynga’s staffers might have had a laser-like focus on releasing FarmVille 2 this week, but that doesn’t mean the company has forgotten how to take a break. One employee (thankfully, also a Reddit member) has revealed that the developer’s San Francisco headquarters has a giant, 16-screen video wall for gaming in the cafeteria — and yes, they’re playing Halo in that photo rather than some future, first-person version of Mafia Wars. It’s no surprise that the employees aren’t playing their own games all the time; we’re pretty sure that even the most avid Facebook gamers would burn out if they did. Nonetheless, it’s hard not to smile at the thought that the same people urging us to buy new crops are sticking plasma grenades in their spare time.
Zynga’s chief mobile officer David Ko said that the company has reached 22 million daily active users on mobile. If you consider that Zynga has about 53 million daily active users on Facebook, it’s a pretty strong sign that the company is diversifying on the Facebook platform (although we can’t deduplicate these figures for players who use Zynga games on multiple platforms).
On top of that, the company announced a new partners program that will let third-party developers reach its network. Atari, Phosphor Games, Crash Lab and others are initial partners.
“It’s easier than ever to create an app and yet harder than ever to find an audience,” Ko said. “We want to create an ecosystem with best-in-class mobile developers and best-in-class mobile games.”
Becoming a mobile gaming platform puts Zynga in more direct competition with gaming companies like GREE and DeNA, which have their own mobile gaming networks. This is not to mention the fact that Apple has its own Game Center and that Facebook is moving heavily into mobile app distribution too.
Ko also gave a look at a couple upcoming titles including a new Matching With Friends title, that should build on Words With Friends’ audience. He also said that Draw Something is nearing its 10 billionth drawing.Related Posts:
The last ten years have been kind to game publishers. The mainstreamification of console gaming has led to enormous sales numbers, budgets rivaling Hollywood’s, and an arms race between the majors to create the next big game. But while EA and its ilk were buying up development houses, expanding like crazy, and having franchise-measuring contests with each other, an unperceived menace was growing in the dark bosom of Facebook. As millions flocked to the new platform, EA continued churning out sequel after sequel until they almost sequeled themselves into a death spiral.
Now the gaming giant says it has learned its lesson, and is ready to take on the new kid in town: Zynga. EA’s CEO has gone on the record saying they hope to hit $ 3 billion in digital revenue in the next two or three years. Big talk, but is it in EA’s DNA?
One former EA executive jumped ship to join Nexon, which is pulling in nearly a billion a year and is expected to announce an IPO soon. If Mahoney had been able to steer EA in that direction, I’m sure he would have, but chances are the suits were too pleased with the growing income from the console business and didn’t want to go chasing butterflies like casual gaming.
EA CEO John Riccitiello is speaking at a US Chamber of Commerce event today, and prefaced his talk by mentioning some big wins by the company in the social space. Their Sims Social game has over 53 million users, and their total user base is approaching 100 million. Sure, that’s less than half of Zynga’s, but considering how poor EA was doing in this market just a year ago, it’s definitely worth celebrating. Tripling your user base over a quarter? You better believe there was champagne involved.
Their goal, naturally, is to surpass Zynga in users, and Riccitiello has set a $ 3 billion goal for online revenue. They have a head start on Zynga there, as the move to further monetize their major franchises through subscriptions and DLC is only just starting to really take hold. They are already making over a billion a year in online sales, but the ways in which EA and Zynga earn that money are totally different. Whether EA will imitate Zynga or take its own path isn’t easy to foresee, but it seems to me that the hard part is yet to come. Repackaging The Sims for a social setting was a cakewalk. Successfully repackaging Battlefield and their sports franchises is another task altogether. At least they’ve got Popcap now. At all events, it’s better than Activision’s approach of sticking their heads in the sand.
Zynga hit Brazilian gaming startup with a massive lawsuit last month, alleging that the company was copying Zynga’s games so closely that they even inadvertently included the bugs. Today, Vostu responded with a 368 paragraph document of their own (embedded below). It’s a longer version of Vostu’s press statement immediately after the lawsuit was filed, which boils down to “I Know You Are But What Am I.”
Vostu’s defense also includes numerous illustrations of how Zynga has copied other games repeatedly over the years. One example – Zynga showed how closely Vostu copied Cityville (see top image here). Vostu includes an image in their response showing how similar Cityville looks to three previous games not published by Zynga:
Vostu also suggests the real reason Zynga sued is a failed partnership negotiation and Zynga’s competitive efforts in Brazil:
Zynga’s deceptive allegations are at their foundation a vicious effort to malign Vostu for competing with Zynga. Zynga has watched Vostu closely as a potential competitor for years, and it even discussed a strategic relationship with Vostu beginning in August 2010. The triggers for Zynga’s lawsuit at this point against Vostu are threefold: (1) Zynga’s entry into Brazil, where it intends to displace Vostu as the leading gaming company on social networks; (2) Vostu’s arrival on Facebook, which Zynga claims as its exclusive turf; and (3) Zynga’s initial public offering, where Zynga must face probing and legitimate questions about barriers to entry in Zynga’s market by demonstrating its intent to demolish any potential competitor it may face.
Zynga, which is in the middle of its public stock offering, won’t be able to respond much or at all to Vostu. That’s because it’s in what’s called a quiet period, and any PR missteps could result in a delay of the IPO. I’d say this was perfect timing by Vostu, but Zynga chose the timing of the lawsuit, not Vostu.
The full documents are below.
Also of note – co-counsel to Vostu is Andrew Bridges at Winston & Strawn, who represents TechCrunch on a number of legal issues. He’s extremely good, and that’s a great sign for Vostu. I think he’s on the wrong side of this fight, though. Zynga has done a lot of questionable things in the past with regard to respecting the intellectual property of competitors, but in this case, Vostu went way over the line in my opinion.View this document on Scribd View this document on Scribd
What better way to market a game that isn’t really a game than with an artist who isn’t really an artist? Such was the rationale, apparently, behind Zynga’s recent decision to partner with Lady Gaga, the freshly anointed face of FarmVille. As of May 17th, FarmVille users will be able to take a much-needed break from wasting their lives and visit GagaVille — a neighboring but equally fake farm full of unicorns, crystals and terrible life decisions. There, visitors will be able to listen to unreleased tracks from Gaga’s forthcoming album, Born This Way, which they can also download for “free,” once they’ve dropped $ 25 of their parents’ hard-earned cash on a Zynga gift card. The campaign will mercifully come to an end on May 26th, but not before Diet Madonna extends her corporate leviathan to every corner of Zynga’s gaming universe, including Words With Friends, Mafia Wars and anything else your pre-teen cousin spends far too much time playing. Gaga will win. Zynga will win. The human race, on balance, will lose. If you haven’t slit your wrists yet, the PR after the break should do the trick.
Continue reading Zynga crowns Lady Gaga as FarmVille’s newest cash cow
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Top-Grossing iOS Games: Zynga Poker Heads iPhone Charts Every week, sister iPhone and iPad site FingerGaming rounds up the top-grossing iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad applications, as current that day in the iTunes App Store, and this chart is now available on Gamasutra. This week’s U.S. revenue charts see Zynga Poker and Tap Pet Hotel earning top iPhone sales, while Smurfs’ Village and Order & Chaos Online emerge as big sellers on the iPad. These … Read more on Gamasutra
iSuppli: Smartphone shipments fell from Q4 to Q1 Smartphone shipments dipped in the first quarter compared with the previous quarter, a type of decline that hasn’t happened for a couple of years, according to market research firm iSuppli. Read more on Macworld
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Farmville, Mafia Wars, and other games cost you a lot of time and productivity. They have now cost Google over $100 million. TechCrunch is reporting that Google has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, the social gaming behemoth behind those games mentioned. Google is preparing for the launch of Google Games later this year.
TechCrunch’s sources say that Google’s goal with this purchase is to chip away at Facebook’s social media dominance. It will be interesting to see what comes from this.
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