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February 18 2014

February 12 2014

'Words' Are in the Air this Valentine's Day

The folks at Zynga are out with their third annual Words With Friends Valentine's Day survey, and have shared a handful of fun stats concerning the likes - and dislikes - of more than 11,300 players. If you've ever wished you knew more about the mystery gamers on the other side of the Words With Friends virtual game board, now's your chance.

Centered around a Valentine's theme, the third annual survey showcases "players' passion for word rivalry, penchant for smooth talkers, and preferences for expressing their love," according to a press release that recently reached our inbox. Out of 11,317 respondents, 63% noted that they "thrive on competition with their partner," and almost one-third admitted to throwing a match on purpose when playing a game of Words With Friends against a loved one, according to the survey. Read more...

More about Survey, Love, Zynga, Passion, and Valentine S Day

January 31 2014

Zynga COO on Company Changes: We Turned a Corner

When it comes to analyzing Zynga's full-bodied earnings announcement from Thursday, it may be easiest to take a bird's eye view

The San Francisco, Calif.-based gaming company announced extensive layoffs, a half-billion dollar acquisition and better-than-expected earnings — a feat that Zynga COO Clive Downie described as the company "turning a corner."

"I think it is Zynga turning a corner," he said. "It proved that we have a vision for the company going forward that's backed by strategy from a content standpoint, it's backed by strategy for driving efficiency, and it's backed by strategy in terms of how we look to accelerate it with the acquisition." Read more...

More about Zynga, Business, Gaming, Apps Software, and Mobile
Zynga Announces More Layoffs and a Huge Acquisition

Zynga was full of surprises Thursday.

The social gaming company announced Q4 and year end financials on Thursday a full week ahead of schedule, but these numbers were somewhat overshadowed by an unexpected acquisition and plans for another round of layoffs

The layoffs, which will include more than 300 jobs (15% of the company's workforce), comes just seven months after Zynga unexpectedly laid off more than 500 employees back in June. The company shut down three offices at the same time, and this round of layoffs will save the company "$33 to $35 million in pre-tax savings for 2014," according to the company's earnings release Read more...

More about Layoffs, Zynga, Earnings, Business, and Gaming

With NaturalMotion, Zynga Is Ready To Make Real Games Now

Zynga appears to have turned a new leaf. The oft-maligned casual game maker is known more for its skill as a master imitator than for its own games, many of which are ad-stuffed knock-offs of already successful franchises (Scrabble, anyone?).

Zynga announced Thursday that it would pay $527 million to acquire NaturalMotion, a company with a real gaming pedigree—and a harbinger of major change at Zynga, whose biggest innovation to date might be its dogged pursuit of virtual gambling in the U.S.

Along with news of the acquisition, Zynga announced further job cuts, saying it will trim its workforce by 15%—the latest in a series of layoffs and cost reductions that began under former CEO Mark Pincus. With Microsoft’s former head of its Xbox division now at the helm of Zynga, it’s no surprise that the company is looking to improve its gaming portfolio. New CEO Don Mattrick took over at Zynga just months after he personally unveiled the Xbox One at Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters.

Zynga will get a serious boost to its gaming cred thanks to its new half billion dollar baby. NaturalMotion, helmed by motion animation whiz Torsten Reil, might not be an everyday name, but its intelligent graphics engine “Euphoria” has hummed under the hood of the last two Grand Theft Auto games and other hits from Red Dead Redemption to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

More recently, NaturalMotion has thrown its weight toward mobile with its iOS hit Clumsy Ninja, a charming physics-based game that lets the company’s dynamic graphics engine shine.

Natural Motion and Zynga couldn’t be more complementary—or more opposite. Zynga has honed the formula of casual, social gaming to disturbingly addictive perfection. Meanwhile, NaturalMotion creates games from the bottom up—building out its technology into games that serve as proofs of concept.

I recently spoke to Reil, and he made a great case for why mobile is the most compelling platform for the biomechanical and neuromechanical underpinnings of NaturalMotion’s technology, which I thought seemed more at home on the two powerful new consoles rather than 4” touchscreens.

At Zynga, NaturalMotion will have a big social platform for showing off its deep technology. With NaturalMotion, Zynga will bring true innovation on board—a first for the notorious copycat, and an interesting new shared direction for two companies that couldn’t have less in common.

Tags: zynga

October 29 2013

11 Facebook Games You're Embarassed to Admit You Play

To truly understand the lure of Facebook games, look no further than the Great Farmville Epidemic of 2009. Work was abandoned and classes were skipped as players wondered, "If I close the game to go to class, who will water my crops?"

In case you don't spend enough time on Facebook already, Facebook games asure that what little life you have left is taken from your status-typing fingers. But Facebook's App Center has a few games that just don't seem like the type you want to share with your social network

It can be hard to give up a game after putting in a lot of time and effort, so if you must play Bingo Crack or, worse, Pot Farm, make sure you adjust the game's settings to not post on your Timeline Read more...

More about Facebook, Features, Facebook Games, Zynga, and Farmville

October 24 2013

Zynga Stock Up More Than 15% After Beating Q3 Earnings

Zynga's third-quarter results came in better than analysts had expected, sending the company's stock up more than 15% in after-hours trading.

The company reported bookings of $152 million for the quarter and a loss of 2 cents a share, which beat the $142.7 million and the 4 cents, respectively, that Wall Street had predicted

The third quarter was the first one with new CEO Don Mattrick, who replaced Mark Pincus in July. The company also launched several new titles during the quarter, including Fairy Tale Twist, Ninja Kingdom and New Scramble With Friends. None were huge breakout hits on the order of FarmVille, which, along with Zynga Poker and Words With Friends, remain its most popular games Read more...

More about Stocks, Zynga, and Business

August 22 2013

'Words With Friends' Now Available in 8 Languages

Words With Friends is now available in eight languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Italian, Swedish and Portuguese.

The game was only available in English from when it launched in 2009 until Thursday, when Zynga launched a new international version of the app. It marks the first localization of the app.

When installed on your phone, the international Words With Friends can detect the default language settings on your phone and launches it in that language. It defaults to Spanish for English speakers in the United States, but can be changed to any language of your choice. Only one language can be played with the international version at one time. Read more...

More about Zynga, Words With Friends, Gaming, Tech, and Apps Software

August 06 2013

Zynga's CityVille Comes To Life With Kre-O Line

CityVille buildings aren’t just digital, now. The game is taking a step into the real world in the form of a new line of Kre-O blocks.

The newest product from a partnership between Hasbro and Zynga, the blocks are inspired by Zynga’s CityVille Invasion app for the iPhone that was released last month.

In the mobile game, a villain named Dr. Mayhem has invaded CityVille, and it’s up to you to defend the city

The blocks are real-world versions of the buildings in the game, and range from a gorilla trying to climb a skyscraper to a lab for a secret scientist Read more...

More about App, Zynga, Cityville, Gaming, and Tech

June 18 2013

Report: 'Candy Crush' Creator Planning IPO

The most addictive smartphone game in recent memory may be making its way to Wall Street

Midasplayer (more commonly referred to as King), the gaming company behind several popular titles including Bubble Witch Saga and the phenomenally successful Candy Crush Saga, is said to be taking steps towards an IPO. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has hired several banks including JP Morgan and Bank of America to pursue a public offering.

King did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

SEE ALSO: I'm So Addicted to 'Candy Crush' I Hacked It for Limitless Gameplay

If true, the move towards an IPO wouldn't be a complete surprise: King's CEO noted in an interview last year that he was thinking about taking the company public sometime in 2013 Read more...

More about Stocks, Zynga, Business, Gaming, and Candy Crush Saga

June 13 2013

King's 'Pet Rescue Saga' Launches on Mobile

LOS ANGELES — King.com launched its third game on mobile Thursday, Pet Rescue Saga. Following the success of games like Bubble Witch and Candy Crush Saga, the Facebook favorite is arriving on both iPhone and Android.

Currently one of the top 10 games on Facebook, Pet Rescue Saga prompts players to destroy colored boxes on screen by placing three or more of the same color into groups — in order to rescue pets trapped within the multicolored block structure.

The mobile version of the game will launch with 72 levels, with more to follow in future updates. Read more...

More about Facebook, King, Mobile Apps, Zynga, and E3

June 03 2013

Zynga Lays Off 18% of Its Workforce

As part of a major effort to trim costs and focus more on mobile strategy, online gaming company Zynga is laying off 520 staffers — or about 18% of its workforce, according to a company press release.

The company, which is now expected to save $80 million in employee costs, will also close its offices in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. The reductions will occur across all job divisions and be complete by August 2013, the company said

"None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth," CEO and Founder Mark Pincus wrote to employees in a memo. "But I think we all know this is necessary to move forward. The scale that served us so well in building and delivering the leading social gaming service on the Web is now making it hard to successfully lead across mobile and multiplatform, which is where social games are going to be played." Read more...

More about Mobile, Gaming, Zynga, Business, and Startups

May 14 2013

Facebook’s Financial Data Reveal It Doesn’t Need Zynga Anymore

One of the few bright spots in Facebook’s last quarterly report was a modest increase in how much money the company makes from payments (as opposed to the company’s primary source of revenue, advertising). Payments were up about 15% from a year ago, mostly due to Facebook Credits purchased to play games on Facebook.

Historically, Zynga has represented the bulk of that revenue. You would expect that, as Zynga’s fortunes have declined, Facebook would see a corresponding hit in games revenue. But that hasn’t happened, notes entrepreneur and part-time Facebook analyst Jon Milani, who dug into Facebook’s latest quarterly report Read more...

More about Facebook, Zynga, and Business

August 09 2012

Zynga Launches ‘Gems With Friends’

Zynga is expanding the "With Friends" franchise Thursday with the launch of its newest title: Gems With Friends.

The game consists of three rounds in which players combine three or more numbered gems together to create a higher-numbered gem. For instance, combining together three gems with a 1 on them will create a single 2 gem. Combine four gems, and you've got a 5.

The higher-numbered gem will always appear where you dropped the last piece, allowing players to create chain combos by strategically placing the last piece.

SEE ALSO: Zynga COO Resigns as Game Maker's Stock Falters

Each round lasts only two minutes. "The game plays like Word With Friends, but sped up 100 times,…
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More About: Zynga, Zynga with Friends

August 08 2012

Zynga COO Resigns as Game Maker’s Stock Falters

John Schappert, Zynga's chief operating officer and a member of its board of directors, is resigning from both positions.

According to an Aug. 8 SEC filing, his resignation "was not tendered in connection with any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices."

His resignation is not a terrible surprise. Late last month, reports emerged that Schappert was no longer overseeing game development. Two executives who then reported to him -- David Ko, chief mobile officer, and Steven Chiang, EVP of Zynga's games division -- began reporting directly to CEO Mark Pincus rather than Schappert.

Schappert was a high-profile hire for Zy
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More About: Zynga

August 07 2012

August 06 2012

Zynga’s ChefVille Will Help You Make Dinner

Zynga wants to help you cook dinner. Coming this week, ChefVille, the newest game from the company incorporates a new "Game to Table" model, allowing you to earn real-world recipes while you play.

Somewhat similar to the company’s current cooking game CafeWorld, the “next-generation cooking game,” has players create their own restaurants.

Ingredients are key in game play, and each item you learn to cook in the game is made from scratch using the same things you might use if you were making the dish in the real world. Just like you might ask to borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbor in real life, ChefVille encourages you to ask your neighbors for help with ingredients you do…
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More About: ChefVille, Facebook, Zynga, social games

August 03 2012

The Sims Strike Back! EA Sues Zynga Over Similarities in ‘The Ville’

In a move that surprised few gamers who have played both The Sims Social and The Ville, Electronic Arts sued Zynga Friday -- charging that the latter was a blatant copy of the former.

EA didn't mince words, either. "The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable," said Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis (the EA subsidiary that produces all Sims games). "Zynga's design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social ... scores of media and bloggers have commented on the blatant mimicry." (Indeed, we have.)

SEE ALSO: How Zynga Can Save Itself:
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More About: EA, Zynga, the Sims social

August 01 2012

Game Studio’s Recruitment Video Mocks Zynga, Brings the Awesome

If you're tired of working for the "man" and making boring video games, we want you!

That's the message of this brilliant recruiting video created by Kixeye games. The San Francisco-based online gaming company pokes fun at both old-school game companies and casual platforms like Zynga. We especially loved Marc Pincus being portrayed as a bratty kid.

Kixeye then promises they're better than all those other companies. The CEO manages to quote Conan the Barbarian, don a unicorn mask and fly off in a helicopter all in one minute. Prepare for a flood of applications, Kixeye team.

More About: Gaming, Zynga

July 26 2012

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