It’s no secret that Zynga has spent the year trying to diversify their portfolio a little farther than games with the word “Ville” in them. Whether it’s dropping a fine $200 million to acquire OMGPOP and Draw Something, jumping into the popular bubble-popping genre to make Bubble Safari, or putting one of its purchased entities to use to use with the brand-new announcement of Zombie Swipeout, it’s clear that Zynga is trying to branch out.
With their two newest games in particular pursuing an arcade-style approach, we thought it would be fun to try and predict what other gameplay mechanics the big dog of social gaming might try and tackle. They have billions of dollars to spend and nearly 3,000 employees: it’s only a matter of time before Zynga’s catalogue feels like walking into an arcade circa 1983.
Here are five popular genres that we’d love to see Zynga push some of their billion into:
A Match-3 Puzzle Game
These have become such a staple in casual studio repertoire that we’re shocked Zynga hasn’t tackled one yet. From Popcap’s Bejewled Blitz to Wooga’s Diamond Dash, there are tons of popular color-matching puzzlers on Zynga’s home territory of Facebook. Include the dozens of Match-3 title on mobile, Zynga’s biggest priority for expansion, and there’s plenty of reason for Zynga to add their own colorful puzzler into the mix.
A Physics Puzzler
Speaking of a mobile transition, Zynga ought to set their sights on the biggest mobile genre of them all: physics puzzlers. Cut the Rope has generated ridiculous revenue in the arcade space, and Angry Birds just hit its billionth download. Now Angry Birds has been seeing considerable Facebook success, the physics puzzler is even invading on Zynga’s home territory. We’re sure Zynga wouldn’t mind adding those kinds of numbers to its own resume.
Aside from simply being proven moneymakers on mobile, a physics puzzler could be a great front for Zynga to create a memorable character for itself. While there’s no denying that the artistic style of Farmville has become iconic, Zynga could heavily benefit from a distinctly cute, lovable, marketable character of its own.
A Marble Popper
Why just pop bubbles in Bubble Safari when there are plenty of other popular poppers around? Zuma and Luxor have enormous libraries of chain-style popping action. Who says Zynga shouldn’t start a marble popper franchise of its own?
An Endless Runner
This should be filed in the same category as physics puzzlers: done right, they make a LOT of money on mobile. Temple Run became an overnight sensation this past Winter, and Jetpack Joyride has been going strong nearly a year. Not to mention, Jetpack Joyride just hit Facebook, too. There’s something about constantly trying to one-up old high scores that makes runners incredibly addicting. Zynga, the kings of gaming addiction, could definitely benefit another infectious tool at their disposal.
A Tower Defense Game
After Popcap took the genre over with Plants vs. Zombies in 2009, the tower defense genre as a whole has been in their court for three years. It’s pretty hard to combat the perfect juxtaposition of cute and vile at the same time. With PvZ merchandise hitting stores everywhere later this year, the dominance is likely to continue spreading into a sequel soon, as well.
That is, of course, unless Zynga has something to say about it. We’re sure that their team has the resources to create an addicting defense game of their own. And if they’re out of ideas for a lovable foe, it’s not like they don’t have a zombie franchise of their own that they could tie in. The Game Doctors, the studio Zynga bought to grab their zombie property, was already used to making tower defense games, anyways (see ZombieSmash).
With enough money and resources to make most Triple A developers downright jealous, we’re loving Zynga’s headstrong approach into arcade-style gaming. Fingers crossed that they continue this newfound path; we can’t wait to see how Zynga competes with arcade gaming’s strongest properties.