Zynga has announced three of company’s biggest titles getting reboots for mobile devices. Recent acquisition of NaturalMotion could mean better games under Zynga’s roof.
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The company has been struggling to stay in the race on the mobile platforms. Rivals such as King.com and Supercell started conquering the market few years ago, and Zynga games lost many fans. The news was revealed last week about FarmVille 2, Words With Friends and Zynga Poker being revamped for mobile-first launches.
It has been six years since Zynga published its first game and those were glorious days for the company. Over 400 million users played the original FarmVille. Planting and harvesting crops, tending to animals, doing various quests and more features that were introduced looked exciting enough to have a go at farming life. One of the very first social games for Facebook still attracts more than 700,000 users each day, making it one of the biggest company's franchises.
Then we had Mafia Wars, which was a different kind of a social game, and that one is still going all these years later. Icing and killing, clan wars and bragging rights are the main reasons why almost 200,000 players still enjoy Mafia Wars. No matter what anyone says about Zynga, they know how to get user’s attention and get them addicted to social games. At least for a while.
Several other games and sequels have been published in the last 6 years, and every single title had at least 1,000,000 daily users for months. Until few years ago when Zynga finally got some competition. The company went public in 2011 and, at the time, had 9 out of 10 top social games on Facebook, though they made a one big mistake. None of the titles was released for mobile devices and that opened a door for others. New and better games arrived, technology to develop a video game became available to the masses and that changed the industry.
Supercell released Hay Day, which looks a lot like FarmVille but for Android and iOS. King.com went out with that infamous Candy Crush Saga and several other titles got a piece of a large cake due to the fact they seen an opportunity at the right time. It was time for Zynga to start with a new strategy. New CEO, Don Mattrick, introduced several changes and company has recently acquired NaturalMotion, U.K. based gaming company with titles such as Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing. This was a hint of what was supposed to come next.
While the company is still struggling, there could be a bright future ahead if they play their cards right. Several layoffs took place, mostly in middle management sector, few titles have been shut down and teams responsible for making games became more agile. It shows how much things have changed in the gaming industry over the last few years. Having a good idea does not necessarily means your product will be a hit.
On the other hand, King.com still rules the mobile gaming market, despite the fact it has tried to bury several indie games, including The Banner Saga, with company’s ridiculous trademarks. Their Candy Crush Saga is far from being original, but King has managed to get over 500,000,000 users hooked on this match-3 kind of a game. It boils down to marketing and media. On a rare occasion we are able to see someone saying good things about Zynga, while King.com and Supercell were almost praised for a couple of years.
Anyway, Zynga is working on mobile version of its three famous franchises:
The franchise that turned 500 million people into daily farmers, is arriving to mobile in a form of FarmVille 2: Country Escape. Both, online and offline gameplay will redefine the FarmVille social experience with new Social Control option which will give players more choice on how to connect with friends. It will be a fully 3D title, with mobile-friendly controls. Seaside farm and few other nearby attractions, such as an airport and winery will be interesting to try.
The very first game published by Zynga, and still the most popular one. More than 350 million Facebook users played Zynga Poker up to date. The reimagined mobile version will feature more personalized gameplay and sophisticated design.
Words With Friends
Turned into one of the world’s favourite word game, and in the five years since it has been launched it got more than 100 million downloads. One of the best upcoming features is dictionary functionality which allows users to build their vocabulary with definitions and pronunciation. It was the most wanted update for the game, and Zynga responded to users’ feedback.
It is too early to say whether any of these three titles will be a huge success, though the company has made a move in a right direction. Mobile versions are launching soon and will be available worldwide in the coming months. Will they be able to regain company’s old glory?
Dolores is SEO and Digital Marketing consultant who has been completely hog-washed into doing this site by KC.