Zynga puts people in touch with their inner vocabularian, farmer, and gambler. The company is a leading social game developer with titles such as Words with Friends, FarmVille, and Zynga Poker. It offers the games online for free primarily through Facebook, but also on its own website, with 108 million monthly active users in more than 175 countries. Players use a credit card or a service such as PayPal to buy virtual currency to purchase in-game virtual goods that enhance, extend, or accelerate gameplay. The company generates most of its revenue from the US; foreign customers represent about 38% of sales. Zynga was founded by Chairman and CEO Mark Pincus, who fashioned the name after his late dog Zinga.
Zynga's UK-based unit NaturalMotion develops mobile games such as CSR Racing, CSR Classics, and Clumsy Ninja.
The US is Zynga’s largest market, generating 62% of sales. It has about a dozen offices in the US and international locations in Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, and the UK.
Sales and Marketing
As a social gaming company, Zynga uses social media for its marketing efforts. The company got 43% of its bookings and 51% of revenue through Facebook in 2014. Mobile devices are playing a bigger part in gaming, accounting for 44% of Zynga's revenue. The company's games are available in Apple's App Store and Google's Play store.
Zynga's revenue has plummeted almost by half in the past two years. In 2014, the company recorded revenue of $690 million. Revenue was $873 million in 2013 and in 2012 it stood at $1.2 billion, the company's revenue peak. Revenue from the add-ons it sells to players fell nearly 30% in 2014. Zynga reported that revenue from previously hot titles FarmVille, ChefVille, CastleVille, and Zynga Poker. FarmVille revenue was down $87 million buy itself. A bright spot was Hit It Rich! Slots, which paid out $47 million in revenue more for the year. Advertising sales rose 34%, taking some sting out of the gaming decline.
While Zynga has posted losses since 2011, the 2014 loss deepened to $226 million from $37 million in 2013. Besides the revenue drop, the company's income tax benefits weren't as beneficial in 2014 as they were in 2013.
Zynga's cash flow turned negative in 2014 with an outflow of $4.5 million on the lower revenue and changes in assets and liabilities. The company ended 2013 with positive cash flow from operations of more than $28 million.
Zynga has been successful in reducing its reliance on Facebook as a source of game players, taking sales from Facebook from 85% in 2012 to 51% in 2014. The company's switch to mobile hasn't been as effective, even with mobile as the source of 44% of revenue in 2014. The $527 million acquisition of Natural Motion in 2014 was aimed at addressing the mobile market.
In a bigger shakeup, the company brought back founder Mark Pincus as CEO in 2014 and restructured by reducing headcount and closing some offices and data centers. It took a charge of $27 million in 2014 for the moves. That followed a similar effort in 2013.
The company sought to further address its mobile gaming situation with updated and new titles including version of FarmVille 2: Country Escape, New Zynga Poker, and New Words with Friends. The company released Looney Tunes Dash!, which featured Bugs Bunny, the Roadrunner, and other Looney Tunes characters, in late 2014 for the mobile market.
Competition is another factor complicating things for Zynga. Games such as Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans have gained popularity at the expense of Zynga's offerings.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Zynga uses acquisitions to expand globally and help it become less dependent on the Facebook platform and the US market. Acquisitions also help diversify its development teams and, consequently, its catalog of titles.
Its acquisition pace completely stopped by 2013 following the restructuring, but 2011 was a busy year. That year it bought 15 companies to build its portfolio of social games, obtain new employees, and expand internationally.
In 2012 it made one of its largest acquisitions, paying about $180 million for creator of Draw Something, OMGPOP. Also that year it bought Wild Needle Games, which focused on mobile games for women.
Founder, Chairman, and CEO Mark Pincus controls nearly 45% the company’s stock and hold 60% of its voting power.