Zynga’s investors are eagerly awaiting the company’s Zynga Unleashed press event today at the social-game giant’s San Francisco headquarters.
As the darling of Facebook gaming, Zynga raised $1 billion at $9 billion valuation in December with its initial public offering. Since that time, the company’s stock rose from $10 a share to $14.69, only to plummet to around $6 a share yesterday.
The stock rose to its peak in March on rumors that the legalization of online gambling — should it ever happen across the U.S. — could benefit Zynga, which has the world’s largest online poker game (Zynga Poker) and has been investing in social casino games this year. Zynga is still dependent on Facebook for more than 90 percent of its revenues.
Zynga’s fundamentals, reflected in its 253 million monthly active users, have been pretty consistent in the past six months. It still has five times more users than its next closest competitor on Facebook. Zynga’s games still account for eight of the top 10 games in terms of monetization on the social network.
Zynga has nearly 3,000 employees, with more than 150 seasoned game designers. Zynga’s new Bubble Safari puzzle game has become the largest social game in daily active users. Zynga’s new slots game is now one of the top-grossing games on iOS (Apple’s iPod, iPad, and iPhone platforms).
Zynga has also begun recruiting a number of game developers for its Zynga.com platform, which exists on the web outside of Facebook. Zynga’s growth opportunity lies in advertising revenue, which is well under 10 percent of the company’s business. Mostly, Zynga makes money through virtual goods sales, but new advertising initiatives may change that.
During the event, Zynga unveiled new games including The Ville, ChefVille, Zynga Elite Slots, Ruby Blast for mobile, and Matching with Friends on iOS. It also described new features such as synchronous multiplayer play for its Zynga with Friends Network. And it offered a glimpse of FarmVille 2. Some observers dismissed these titles as derivative and unoriginal.
Beyond its own games, Zynga described games it will publish for other developers. It unveiled the Zynga applications programming interface (API) for speedy and more efficient third-party games, and it talked about four new third-party developers on its Zynga Partners platform, including 50 Cubes, Majesco, and Portalarium.