Facebook & Zynga Blog

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Remembering The Day The World Cried As One 9/11/2001

Please read my 9/11 blog

Remembering The Day The World Cried As One 9/11/2001
http://unlockedmw.com/2012/09/remembering-the-day-the-world-cried-as-one-9112001/

September 11, 2012 Posted by | Blogs | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming This Halloween A New Game / Zombieville

Coming this Halloween Zynga bring you a fun, new, exciting & different game sure to delight the Zombie urges in all of us, Zombieville. 

We have wished we could go over and tip our friends cows in Farmville and destroy towns in Cityville and especially cause havoc at our friends houses in The Ville. Well it seems Zynga has finally heard our pleas and has come out with a new game to help make that a reality. 

Zombieville promises to make all those dreams come true and then some. Let me explain the concept of the game to you all it is pretty kool. First you must build your character up in Zombieville by doing tasks and building your Zombie Army of Minions for the first 5 levels. Collect brains for energy so you can travel to other games. 

Once you have your army & brains you can begin traveling to your friends who play other games and release the Zombie Apocalypse on them in that game. But beware they are also going to be able to collect Anti Zombie Weapons to repel your attacks so you must strike fast and go on the the next friends game. As you go you are collecting points to get new high end virtual items that you can use in what ever game you want as well as becoming stronger and leveling up and increasing your brain capacity. 

Full details on game are still sketchy but watch for a big press release on it. Here are a list of games we be able to visit friends in :

  1. Farmville
  2. The Ville
  3. Mafia Wars
  4. Cityville
  5. Castleville
  6. Empires & Allies
  7. Cafe World
  8. Pioneer Trail 
  9. Adventure World 
  10. Yoville

This is the game we have all been waiting to come for years now and finally it is almost here. Imagine being able to go to your friends farms and eating or tipping their cows and destroying their crops, or going over to eat your friends Mafias family while they sleep or even running to your friends city and eating busloads of tourists. The combinations are limitless and should be fun!!! 

OK I got to admit I made this all up to prove a point to Zynga that games could be fun and if you use your imagination you could have fun games like this. Start listening to us players before Zynga Games is no more. Sorry folks I wish this was real too but it was just a figment of my imagination. But this would be KOOL !!! 

August 2, 2012 Posted by | Blogs | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Real Reasons Zynga Is Crashing & Burning

I have been awfully quiet on Zynga lately but I have got to say something. ZYNGA all these problems you have are all your own fault. 

You have blatantly ignored your player base when it come to improvements to games, your coding of games is horrible as they always have issues, when your players numbers drop your answer is to add more content to keep them interested instead of dealing with the real game issues that are making them leave, you force the players to have massive amounts of friends to play games and get them in trouble with Facebook for over posting to get things done in game, you manipulate your player numbers, with Facebook’s help, to make it look like you have a large number of people playing games when it is the same players who are playing other games of yours through cross game promotions to get virtual items for games they are really playing ( Not New Players ), you make comments bashing existing players, your customer service doesn’t fix game issues they pay off players and hope they go away and forget game issues. The list can go on & on. 

Lets go through each item above to prove a point; 

  1. You Ignore Player Base on Game Improvements : You do not listen at all to your players on what game improvement they would like to see to make their playing experience better. Ok, you do have forums which they can tell you what they want but you ignore their ideas and basically their input and do what you want. Result: Players leave games and don’t spend money.
  2. Your Coding of Games : When you come out with games or add features to the games they always have coding issues that make games unplayable. It takes outside script writers to make features work and yet you want to ban people for using them. You need to do beta testing with real players not developers so the bugs can be worked out before the game or feature is released to the players. You don’t do this. Result : Players leave games and don’t spend money.
  3. Your Player Base Drops, You Add More Content : This cracks me up. You think by adding more content you will increase player base. WRONG, the player base is dropping because there is too much content and not enough hours in their busy lives to do it all and your developers agree with this but upper management tells then to do it anyway. Result : Players leave games and don’t spend money.
  4. Forcing Players To Have Massive Amounts of Friends For Games : Yes you do this. You make it so people cant play your games and be competitive with other unless they have alot of friends to get things done in the games. You in turn cut off you own nose to spite your face because you help get players accounts disabled by Facebook for adding to many friends or over posting requests to get help in game. Result : Players leave games and don’t spend money.
  5. Customer Service Issues : Now this is a joke. A customer service department is supposed to help fix issues and make customers happy. Yes JD Powers even gives out awards to companies for this but you will never win it. You customer service department doesn’t fix game issues well as they don’t have access and ability to do so. So what happens they pay off players with game credits and virtual loot items and hope they go away. Result : Players leave games and don’t spend money.
  6. Management Bashes Player Base Publicly : Yes you do this and it has been everywhere. Your leader Mark Pincus has flat out said he doesn’t care about the cash cows in the game as there will be others to replace them. WRONG AGAIN !!! Look at your player base and in case you haven’t noticed you aren’t getting new players as a result. Result : Players leave games and don’t spend money.

Now these are just a few issues there are other reasons why you are crashing & burning. Lets get to what investors are seeing and making them run away in droves. 

  1.  Too Many Insiders Selling Stock : Yes too many insiders are selling Zynga stock and that makes investors nervous. Sure alot know many were given massive amounts of stock options to work for you but it looks like everyone is selling including Mark Pincus the CEO and that make investors feel uneasy about companies and that is any company.
  2. You Player Base Numbers Are Skewed : Yes it looks like you are cooking the books here as the players know these numbers are way off by maybe 150 Million MAU. Why ? Because the people playing the games are finding that is harder to get help in the game as alot of people have quit playing your games, lots of people have multiple accounts for certain games so it looks like you have bigger numbers than you do, Facebook doesn’t properly report the numbers and some games numbers never change for some times weeks on end ( Yes and Facebook did say they would prop your numbers up in your S1 ), They don’t show how many are actually new players ( A player already playing Zynga games is not new, cross promotion players shouldn’t count as that is very misleading to investors and advertisers ). So bottom-line is how many are actually new customers not someone already playing multiple games as they count as one customer in my book.
  3. Your Mobile Gaming Platform : It will never work as long as you are tied to Facebook and your games don’t work properly. All your mobile apps have to be tied to Facebook the way you have company structured and even when you do open your own platform do you think people are gonna want to start games they already play all over again from beginning and lose all the money they have put into current games. Plus you don’t have your own social network so again they will have to be tied to Facebook so players can get help and play game. So it will fail as no trusts you or them and the investors see this.
  4. You Don’t Come Out With Original Games of Your Own :  You never come out with exciting new games that are your own ideas. You always copy someone else’s successful game or buy the company, change the coding and graphics and make it your own. People realize this and cant see how you are going to keep growing this way. You say you have the best programmers, graphic artists and developers but do they have imaginations to come up with something original. I know I haven’t seen it and neither have the investors.

Look investors and players aren’t stupid and they know what is wrong but Zynga you refuse to listen or maybe I should say Mark Pincus wont listen and correct things. So as long as you stay on this course you will die as a company. The time has come to change before you lose it all. 

Zynga you still have a company here and your games are fun when they work and are not overloaded with content. Wake Up and smell the coffee already. You stock is already down to $2.95 a share as of close of market today, how much lower do you want it to go ? Or are you trying to get de-listed. Lord knows you have your hands full right now with all these new lawsuits against you for stock fraud, misrepresenting your numbers among other things. Do the right thing and turn this negative into a positive and run the company right before it is too late.

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Blogs | , , , , | 4 Comments

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 !!!

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Blogs | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Zynga Looking For A Final Payoff Before They Sell Company?

Zynga has hired Goldman Sacks to handle, what could be, one of the largest IPO’s in the history of Wall Street. The question of the day among potential investors & financial experts alike is whether or not Zynga is doing this just so they can make one get one final payday before they sell the company.

That seems to be the thinking of many unnamed sources close to this IPO. Many feel based on Mark Pincus’s history & time lines,  with the companies he starts, that he is ready to move on. Also with all the major game issues, drop in players and revenues it is thought he is looking for a final payoff before the value is gone.

Zynga still remains the King of Social Gaming and many start up game companies have used Zynga as a model for their companies. While Zynga still has tremendous value in the market place, the shine with the company is dulling a bit. And now the potential underwriters are now looking closely at the numbers after some issues were brought to light to them that they say Zynga failed to disclose to them.

Zynga’s IPO will still be huge but it will not be nearly as big as the industry thinks, especially now that they are looking at the new information provided to them. They are now taking a very serious look at things and the valuation might now become much lower than what was first predicted.

It seems they were not told of the major drop in with the daily players and the potential revenue drop that comes along with it. An unnamed managing partner of Goldman Sachs has admitted that Zynga’s game Mafia Wars, while not the biggest game anymore, still does provide the most revenue out of all their games. He also goes on to say that Farmville is the game that is talked about most there and those numbers are dropping just as bad as Mafia Wars.

Some of the other financial industry people talked to about this IPO feel Pincus is just looking for his final payoff  and feel the number on what this IPO will bring are really over inflated. They say the 10 billion valuation placed on this should really be around 2.5 to 4 billion instead based on all the data.

So it seems a Linkedin like payoff for Zynga is slowly disappearing according to the growing consensus but it will still be a huge IPO but will now force Wall street to look alot more closely to the all these new social gaming companies and even Facebook who is thinking of going public sometime next year.

Dont be surprised to see Zynga pull something out of their bag of tricks to help increase the value for the company as they are very good at that. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see them come out with a new game to pump up the numbers & help increase revenues thus increasing the valuation toward the potential Labor Day Weekend release of the IPO.

Zynga still makes great, addicting games and they truly do have value, even for a virtual game company.  Even the film & music industry think so or they wouldn’t be doing all these promotions with them. Even with all the game issues and dropping player & revenue numbers.

So who are some of the potential buyers of Zynga if they do decide to sell after the IPO?  I would look for Electronic Arts to be the front runner followed by Sony, as they have the deepest pockets and are building quite a big following with their games. Time will tell first we have to see what happens with the IPO.

May 31, 2011 Posted by | Blogs | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Does Mafia Wars Even Care Anymore ?

Stats supplied by AllFacebook.com 

The Question of the Day is,

“Does Mafia Wars Even Care Anymore?”

This is the question that many players of Mafia Wars are asking these days. It seems like the players issues are getting ignored as well as some very serious issues going on. Even though they are real and well documented.

Zynga seems quite content with just constantly releasing more and more content right on top of each other. They players say it is too much but they do it anyway. The players tell them they are tired of events that require spamming their friends so Zynga goes ahead and releases more spam events.

Zynga says the players want this but when we give them the numbers and comments of the players saying this is not the case they just ignore it and the sad part is that they asked us for the numbers and comments.

Well then why waste our time Zynga if you don’t care. Don’t try to placate us. I have an idea try and be honest with us. LMAO!!! Yeah right, that will never happen.

Zynga seems to be run like the federal government, one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. There is no communication there and they are really out of touch with the people. They answer our questions by skirting the issues. Like I have said before, “Even a Congressman would say, Are You Kidding Me”, with the answers Zynga gives people on issues.

How out of touch are they let me give you and example. We all know that in Mafia Wars they have an event called Crack the Safe and how you must add new friends to you game to get loot items. The players have been complaining that they are getting banned by Facebook for adding friends. When Zynga was asked on their Live Q&A on UStream by me that they need to stop events that ask players to add new friends due to this issue. Their answer was, “What event?”. They didn’t even know about the event until the entire LIVE chat room exploded with the answer and even then they were uncaring and skirted the issue. How’s that !!!

This is just one of the many issues. Here is another one they don’t care about or don’t know about and it is a major exploit going on and allowing people to get free loot. This is driving people crazy, is being reported to Zynga and is being endorsed by people they know and trust.

The exploit concerns the Crack The Safe Event, someone found a way to make it so people can be added to your mafia with out being your friend on Facebook just so you can max out on the loot you get. Yes this is cheating and has been reported to Zynga but they seem to be turning a blind eye to it. But when loot is dropping too fast they jump on that to fix the issue because they want a Fair & Balanced playing field for all the players. HELLO McFLY !!! Wake up Zynga, how is this fair & balanced !!! 

The players who aren’t using the exploit are becoming victims of it and are then forced to go and remove all these people from their mafia, after all non friends do you no good in the game anyway, and this is all going on while Zynga & the people endorsing it know there is a very serious issue with hackers on Facebook and they are potentially exposing the players and friends to hackers. Nice work !!!

The game issues are also pushed to the side as Zynga doesn’t seem to be fixing any issues right now but they are giving us new stuff to do and some of that doesn’t even work. The PAC ( Players Advisory Committee) for Mafia Wars have given Zynga numerous spread sheets with all the game issues going on and we get told you will address this in the 2nd Quarter of the year. Well guess what Zynga the quarter is almost half over and the players want answers and the issues fixed. You are basically making PAC look as useless as teets on a bull. Let get this done now !!! 

There are also REAL issues with bullying that are ignored. I am not talking about bullying where some one is hit 100 times and ices someone. I am talking about incidents where people are being harassed verbally with nasty messages and being told to give them loot and/or game cards and they will go away. According to your own Terms of Service this is a no no but you do nothing about it. And dont get me wrong Zynga you are not alone here as Facebook doesn’t care either as both of you want the players to go to their local law enforcement agency so you don’t have to deal with it. As if our police departments & legal system aren’t busy enough keeping peace in the world you want to bog them down with your issues. Deal with them !!! 

Playfish/ Electronics Arts doesn’t put up with bullying. They have a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to bullying. Don’t believe me check out my blog on Social Games Policy on Bullying and read the statement they gave me on the topic.  Maybe it is time you come up with a similar policy after all you are the biggest social game company in the world.

Zynga do you not see the numbers? Look at the graphic above !!! Your numbers are dropping like a rock. The players are leaving in droves and not just the casual player but the players that spend big money on the game. Look at your balance sheets do you not see your profits dropping off. Look again real hard !!! 

I was a former stockbroker for a major company many years ago and if I saw a chart like the one above, and analyzed all the news and data on you I would issuing a SELL RECOMMENDATION on your company. I am sure your investors are looking at it that way too. And if you think an IPO will save you think again because once you have to make all this data public you would see the hype surrounding it would stop and they would be telling you to stay private, don’t do it.

If you went public you would also be forced by all your investors to do something to stop the bleeding and you would also have to make all the issues go away. So going public will not save you unless Mark Pincus is just looking to make one final score before he sell the company.

Bottom-line here Zynga is that you need to get on ball here and deal with theses very real issues before you lose everything. You have a good product and people like the games, just not what you are doing. Try and start listening to the players not your game developers, game designers and engineers. The players are the ones who know the game best and I honestly think that is why you put PAC together, so you could better serve them.

Let the developers, game designers and engineers do just that, don’t let them dictate what goes out and when. That is for the mangers and marketing people to do after they see what the players want and need. The developers, game designers, & engineers work for you they do what you say and make what you want, at least in the real business world they do, or maybe in your company it is reversed. If that is the case I will instruct the players to report everything that is broken is actually working fine so then maybe you will fix them because you seem to only change things that are working fine and the players like. So reverse psychology might be the way to go with you.

In any case it is time to get some Q-Tips and clean those ears out, the players have spoken loud and clear. Start listening to us before we all leave.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Blogs | , , , | 7 Comments

   

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