Zynga is featured in a New York Times article today where it is suggested that Zynga could be “Google of Games.” It’s a good primer article about Zynga and it’s smart, ambitious, and sometimes, misunderstood CEO, Mark Pincus.
There was a bit of controversy around the article in that the Grand Lady initially proclaimed Zynga’s 2011 revenues would be $835 million, when that number is the total for social gaming revenues in 2010 (whoops).
TechCrunch posted an article where they serve the New York Times and speculate how much Zynga is earning. Sources say its $350 million in the first half of 2010 so doubling that would be $700 million for the year. Not too shabby, but that does not account for the drop in traffic in some of its most popular games such as FarmVille.
I do think that everyone who questions Zynga’s lead in social games are missing the point when they focus on its tedious relationship with Facebook. Their Achilles Heal is that their revenues and traffic is highly dependent on FarmVille. True, they lost traffic due to Facebook changes, but I also think users are getting bored of the game and the harvesting mechanic.
They need more games like FarmVille to replace its revenues as that game goes down this year. FrontierVille is a great first step, but it’s not another FarmVille in terms of a being a huge social gaming phenomenon. Unless they come out with new content that replaces FarmVille or buy companies with the games content (more highly likely given the $500 million+ they have raised), they are in danger of being a one-trick pony. It’s a slight danger — any games company would do anything to be in Zynga’s position now. It is a real risk though as people do tire of raising crops online.
Now, when is Mark Pincus and Zynga going to be on the cover of aRolling Stone?