Mark Pincus, founder, CEO and chief product officer of Zynga is on stage now at the Fortune Brainstorm conference.We covered it live. Here are our notes:
Our games should be something you can figure out and play in three clicks.
On virtual goods: Virtual goods sounds something foreign to people but we’ve all probably tried “in-app” purchase.
A lot of games are energy gated. Limiting the amount of clicks or plays you get in a session. We did that to drive retention. If we lowered average session time, people will binge on games and not want to come back. Some people don’t want to limit and will pay to go past it.
70 per cent of Americans are playing games of some form today. We think more opportunity to make those games more social.
Opportunity is making games more free, more mobile, more social.
Mobile is much more fragmented. We believe we are largest daily gaming mobile network today, last number was about 22 million daily active users on our mobile gaming network.
I often feel my iPhone or iPad is a lonely experience. We tried to put social gaming in places where people hang out. Past five years that was Myspace and Facebook.
Some of most successful games, on mobile they monetise per user than they do on the Web. The behavioural friction on spending is lower on mobile.
We’re trying to do what Amazon Web Services did. We’ve built a leading hosting service for game designers including analytics. Going to launch it this year, opening the Zynga With Friends network to other developers.
Will make money on that. And bring more people into the network.
API and open up your network, like Facebook did. Free API, curated, promoted, applications and services — there will be all of that.
Broadening revenue streams. We’ve turned on advertising, that’s been growing quickly. Mobile has been growing. We’ve said actively said exploring real money gaming (legalized gambling). It’s a $15 billion industry in legal regulated markets around the world like the U.K. We’ve said “actively exploring” opportunity. Poker, Bingo Slots largest. Will tell you when we are ready to announce.
We tried to act like a public company because we had so many employees and stakeholders long before we went public. Quarterly meetings, etc.
To be a consumer franchise, don’t know if there are many companies learned how to do that without going public. We didn’t spend a lot of time working on the timing. We’re going to go public, let’s figure out when to do that and fit in with other things doing.
I don’t think a lot of regret [about timing].
We moved to RSUs [restricted stock units] so people [employees] are not under water from a stock execution standpoint.
When you think of the reason that keep people at companies, more about mission. People in it for short term gains, you would hope they would look for another opportunity.
I am responsible for morale and excitement level people have.
Q from audience: Is Zynga going to spend money lobbying for changes to U.S. legislation about legalizing online gaming?
We come at real money gaming from an entertaining standpoint. Interesting business. Reason we want to explore it, so many of our players like gaming mechanics. When think about what virtual reality exciting, feeling that things I do in game affect real world. I hope that it takes a form more mass market and consumer oriented and not just focused toward hard-core style gambling.
Q: OMGPOP Draw Something. Did you overpay?
It’s the second product line we acquired. Every other acquisition was for teams or technology. When green light a franchise and go all in on a new IP category game, hope something invest in another 5-plus years. When acquired Words With Friends and OMGPOP and Draw Something, we thought core brands and could build on next decade. Very early. We didn’t buy for what they would do in the next two quarters.
It’s too early to call it (if we overpaid) after two quarters.
Question about Zynga’s mission:
If we deliver promise on social gaming and you feel you can connect with people in a small amount of time, then we will have delivered something of real value.