Facebook & Zynga Blog

A No Holds Barred Approach.

Are Zynga Games Flatlining ???

People say there comes a time when a company cant grow anymore, has that time come for Zynga ? Some experts say yes others say no.  I say a company can always grow if they are innovative and bring products to the public that they want, are fresh & new. Unfortunately Zynga isn’t that company at the present time.

Right now Zynga is a company that has lost it way and really doesn’t have a clue on how to right the ship or as some say they don’t want to fix it as they are getting things in place to sell the company.  They are copying other companies games and putting their twist on it to make suit them so nothing really new is coming out, nothing innovative or fresh.

Zynga has lost touch with it’s player base and what the players want to keep the games fun. From what former employees say that the Product Mangers even discourage fun it the games & instead go with trying make profit. While I don’t fault them from making a profit , as that is what a company is in business for, but if they keep it fun they would make more profit.  They need to open their eyes and realize this then maybe they wouldn’t have to work so hard to try and be profitable and I think they may even find new growth and I know this may sound crazy but yes even people who would be willing to spend money on the game. I know right.

Zynga right now is growing at about 1% a quarter and admit that they may not grow much more than that over the next 6 months,  yet they are promising investors 20% growth over the year which myself along with many Wall Street experts don’t see happening unless they are able to pull a rabbit out of their hat.

Approximately 90% of the players who go to the new games Zynga puts out come from existing games so that is not really new growth just players shifting from one game to another. Copying other company games apparently doesn’t pay as those players, who play the original, will not go over and play Zynga’s game when the other game they play is the same and doesn’t have the content overload & begging of friends all the Zynga games have. And the other games are also more affordable in most cases.

Did you know that according to Zynga the MUP or Monthly Unique Payer spends about $97.90 ? Really, it is true that came out on their 4th Quarter earnings report just released Feb 14th.  Here is the kicker though, it is down 11% from quarter before where those same players were spending $109.85.  So as you see the growth isnt here anymore.

Another thing investors don’t see are the real numbers for the Monthly & Daily Active Users (MAU & DAU) which really show a decline in the number of players Zynga has. Facebook is supposed to report the numbers to App Data every day but they don’t and that gives the investors the impression that Zynga is doing well when in reality they are losing a big chunk of players every day. You can see the charts for yourself by going to the Zynga charts here at AppData .

I personally think Zynga & all game companies should be reporting certified numbers to an outside agency so investors get the real picture of what is going on there. And if they want let them use AppData or some other reporting site to publish them at least the investor will know that the numbers are true and not fudged. They have to do this with company financials why not with the players numbers.

I would love it even more if they include the amount of players who play multiple games within a company so the investors see how much growth they are getting from outside sources. That would truely show the growth of a company.

I still say we will see a number of under-performing games get shut down in the coming months, as a cost cutting measure to maintain profitability on the balance sheets. The games I think that will be cut are Mafia Wars 2 ( which Zynga themselves has called their biggest failure), Mafia Wars, Treasure Island, FishVille, PetVille, YoVille, Adventure World- The Indian Jones Game and Vampire Wars.  From a business stand point I understand why but some of them could be saved & even turned into profitable games again if they REALLY listen to the players and implement some changes.

So right now from what I see Zynga is Flatlined and not showing real growth. Can they turn it around ? Absolutely, they have a good product but they are killing it with how they run the company. They need to bring the fun back after all this is what games are supposed to be. If they bring the fun back, fix game issues promptly, stop game exploits, bring out NEW fresh, innovative games and most importantly stop game overload and making players beg so much to get things done I think they will be able to grow again and more importantly start making a profit again.

Right now the ball is in their court to do what is right or they can keep going the way they are and that is by throwing enough crap at the wall and hoping it sticks and they get another winner. But right now the players are ready to pull the plug on them and I know investors are getting to that point too.

Wake Up Zynga !!!

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February 20, 2012 - Posted by | Blogs | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Mafia Wars 2 was truly an epic fail. The game completely missed the mark by not appealing to the things that drove MW growth and spending. The brand was tarnished, but could still be resurrected if MW2 was rebooted, or MW3 launched intelligently. But to do that, Zynga needs to look carefully at what made MW1 a success. Seriously, the best thing Zynga could do right now would be to bring John, PAC, other leaders, prominent forum players, and scripters to Zynga for a few months to brainstorm a MW3 worthy of the brand name and work with programmers to develop it. They have the money. Why not tap the real experts — the people who understand what made the social game so FUN? I understand that Zynga has lots of metrics and a set of principles they used to increase interaction and profit. But, those tactics only work if people want to play the game!

    If you compare the reasons MW1 played with the MW2 game they launched, you can quickly see the disconnect — and the lack of understanding of player motivation. Specifically:

    Who spends the most in MW1? Clan players and loot collectors. So, why did MW2 roll with no clans and no way to collect/display/keep loot?

    What is the key difference between MW and the Villes? Real PvP fighting and competition. So why did MW2 launch with no way to see who attacked you and no way to take revenge? (They added later, but everyone was gone.)

    What do people strive to do in MW? Gain levels and/or get stronger. So why did MW2 roll with a cap on levels and no way for your mafia to increase your strength? (They now allow you to outfit 10 friends to increase your strength, but that is nothing compared to the 501 in MW1.)

    Why did MW1 players invite so many friends and evangelize the game back when it started? Because IT WAS FUN and — critically — because adding friends benefited both you and the friend. So why did MW2 launch with no real reason to add more than 10 or 20 friends?

    I could go on — and PAC players and other beta testers did during the very short beta period. All of these problems and more were identified in just the first few days of the beta. If Zynga had simply delayed the launch for a month or six weeks to address beta player concerns, they could have launched with a much richer, more competitive game more deserving of the Mafia Wars brand name.

    The tremendous social network that players built around MW1 still exists… weakened, certainly, but the remaining core players are still friends with many of the people who used to play and spend. If the game was rebooted in a way that excites the core players, Zynga still has time to build on the value of the MW brand. But they need to do it NOW. And simply copying other games and adding the secret Zynga metric sauce is not going to cut it.

    (I use Mafia Wars as an example because it is the game I know best and my understanding is that it is also the game that drove the highest per-player spending amount. )

    Comment by lynndeanne | February 20, 2012 | Reply


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