If you needed any more evidence that Zynga is becoming a mobile company, the company now plans to unveil a number of new multiplayer “With Friends” games, like the Scrabble-like Words With Friends, The Wall Street Journal reports.Zynga, whether it wants to or not, has to stop relying on Facebook games, which are fading rapidly in popularity. David Ko, Zynga’s chief mobile officer, says it best in one of the Journal’s quotes:
“I always tell people if they say, ‘Oh, there’s a Web division, there’s a mobile division.’ I’m like, ‘No. There’s one division,’ ” he said. “That division is called Zynga.”
Zynga just completed a heavy re-organisation that sent Ko reporting directly to CEO Mark Pincus after a disastrous second quarter earnings report. Zynga’s web properties declined significantly in Q2 in favour of a bigger shift to mobile games. The news sent Zynga’s share crashing well below $3.
The explanation is simple: fewer people are playing Facebook games. Now nearly half of Zynga’s players are mobile players, and many of its most popular games are either mobile-first or have both a web and mobile presence (like Zynga Poker, its top game.)
That’s a problem for Zynga because mobile games don’t make as much money as its old top Facebook games like CityVille did with traditional in-app purchases.
It’s created a dilemma at Zynga’s headquarters as to how to make more money off mobile games. For example, when Ko met with engineers last month, the group still couldn’t decide as to whether to make a free mobile game supported by in-app purchases or charge upfront, the Journal reports.