Zynga bets the ‘Farm’ on mobile gaming

Archie Dimaculangan
Zynga is repositioning itself as a mobile gaming service by introducing mobile sequels to its popular games

NEW GAME PLAN. Zynga will relaunch 3 of its games as mobile titles by the end of March.

MANILA, Philippines – After suffering massive losses last year, Zynga, Facebook’s fallen king of social games, is looking for greener pastures. The company announced on Tuesday, March 4, that 3 of its biggest games will be reinvented for mobile platforms, including a sequel to the massively popular Farmville.

According to Zynga, it will begin a soft launch of “Farmville 2: Country Escape” and two other titles by the end of March in an effort to reimagine itself as a mobile gaming company.

In the past, Zynga has been exclusively operating on Facebook, securing 9 out of 10 spots in the social networking site’s top social games list.

“Zynga Poker” and “Words with Friends,” Zynga’s two other money-makers, will be released for iOS and Android users along with Farmville 2 in select unidentified markets before their official launch in June.

As part of the company’s transition to mobile gaming, the revamped titles will feature mobile elements including a virtual trading and chat system for Farmville 2, a dictionary for Words with Friends, and a more “sophisticated” design for Zynga Poker.

Changing with the times

Don Mattrick, Zynga’s new CEO, admitted the company’s misfire in the past. “Did the company miss a beat with the transition to mobile? Absolutely,” said Mattrick. “Are we fixing that? Yes, we are.”

Zynga earned mainly through selling virtual items on Facebook’s social gaming platform. The number of gamers on Facebook began to dwindle, however, as smartphones and tablets grew in popularity in 2012.

The company was slow to adapt to the mobile shift, and younger gaming companies like Supercell, makers of Clash of Clans, and Candy Crush Saga developer King emerged.

After experiencing 4 consecutive quarters of diminishing bookings and laying off almost 15% of its employees in January, Zynga now seeks to become “the leading, at scale content company in the free-to-play space,” said Mattrick.

 “I hope these games will show you that Zynga is more committed than ever to testing, listening and evolving our games – brand new and enduring – as a result of your feedback,” said Clive Downie, Zynga’s COO, in a message to its players. – Rappler.com

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