Zynga Game Network

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Zynga Game Network

Post by Admin on Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:22 am

Zynga

Zynga Game Network, Inc[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]Founded[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]HeadquartersArea servedKey people[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] rankRegistration[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]Current status
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
January 2007


  • [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
  • Michael Luxton
  • Eric Schiermeyer
  • Justin Waldron
  • Andrew Trader
  • Steve Schoettler

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Worldwide
Mark Pincus ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.])
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
$850 million (2010)
1,501
"Connecting the world through games"
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
292 (May 2011[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.])[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Yes
~250 million
English
Active
Zynga ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]) is a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] developer located in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] The company develops [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] games that work both stand-alone and as [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] such as [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].
As of May 2011, Zynga's games on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] have nearly 250 million monthly active users.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] In terms of daily active users, four of Zynga's games, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] are the most widely used game applications on Facebook, with CityVille having over 20 million daily active users.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Reportedly valued at $10 billion, Zynga is planning to file paperwork for an [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] with the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] at the end of May 2011, according to AllThingsD.com.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
History


Zynga was founded in January 2007 by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], Scott Sale, Kyle Stewart and John Doerr.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] They received [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] $29 million in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] from several firms, led by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in July 2008, at which time they appointed former [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Chief Creative Officer [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] to the board.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] At that time, they also bought [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], a large virtual world social network game.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] According to their website, as of December 2009, they had 60 million unique daily active users.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The company name "Zynga" comes from an [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] once owned by Mark Pincus.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] They use a bulldog as their symbol.
As of September 2010, Zynga had over 1,200 employees.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On 17 February 2010, Zynga opened Zynga India in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], the company’s first office outside the United States.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On 18 March 2010, Zynga confirmed that they will open a second international office in Ireland.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On 7 May 2010, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] reported that Zynga was threatening to leave [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] altogether in the wake of Facebook's requiring exclusive use of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for monetization in applications.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
After Facebook negotiations for having Zynga host its games solely on
Facebook fell through, Facebook retaliated by shutting off notifications
for several Zynga games, including [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Plans surfaced for Zynga to distance itself from Facebook by creating a new "Zynga Live" network, to be called ZLive.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] On 18 May 2010, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and Zynga entered into a five-year relationship to expand the use of Facebook Credits in Zynga's games. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.],
COO of Facebook, was quoted as saying, "We are pleased to enter into a
new agreement with Zynga to enhance the experience for Facebook users
who play Zynga games." Both companies stated they were currently
together testing the use of Facebook Credits, which would allow Facebook
to effectively capture 30% of any user's spending in the game, and
their use would be gradually rolled out to all games.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] In a May 24, 2011 discussion at TechCrunch Disrupt, Arrington and Bing Gordon described the incident as the "[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of tech".[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On 3 June 2010, Zynga acquired [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
With the acquisition of Dextrose, now Zynga Germany, representing the
company's first expansion into Europe, Zynga now has a total of 13
studios around the world, including offices in Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Los
Angeles, Boston, Baltimore, Bangalore, Beijing, and Tokyo.
On October 5, 2010 [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] was acquired by Zynga. It was renamed to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].
After the acquisition of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], Zynga now has more than 1300 employees worldwide.
As reported by Bloomberg and others,[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
stock trades on the private stock sale service SharesPost established a
valuation of above $5 billion for the company, greater than the public [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of gaming industry leader [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and has more than 320 million registered users, 1,300 employees and estimated revenues above $500 million for 2010.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On December 2, 2010, Zynga announced that they have acquired the Texas-based mobile game developer [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], developers of the game "[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]",[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and renamed the studio to Zynga With Friends.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In December 2010, Zynga's game CityVille surpassed [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] as its most popular game[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] with over 61 million monthly active users and a base of over 16 million daily active users.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Zynga has acquired the New York base game developer Area/Code, now renamed Zynga New York.
In March 2011, Zynga announced the acquisition of the team from
Massachusetts game developer Floodgate Entertainment. It was Zynga’s
10th acquisition in ten months.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In April 2011, Zynga announced the acquisition of MarketZero, an online poker tracker company.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Also in March 2011, the company channeled 100% of direct donations or
revenue from virtual goods purchases through its social games (over $1
million) to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for the relief efforts related to the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] The company had been criticized in the past for keeping up to 50% of donations it collected.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In April 2011, the company partnered with [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in a new game offering.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In May 2011, the company was reported to to be in the process of
raising an additional $500 million with a valuation at $10 billion[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Business model


Zynga is supported in two manners: Via direct credit card payments and partner businesses.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Several Zynga games require an "Energy" characteristic to play.
Engaging in "Missions", a core feature of many games, consumes a certain
amount of energy. After expending energy, it slowly replenishes to the
character's maximum limit. This can take minutes or several hours
(energy replenishes whether or not players are logged into the game).
After energy is replenished, players can engage in additional missions.
Waiting for energy to replenish is a significant limiting factor in the
games. Their support mechanisms take advantage of this.
Zynga games are linked to offers from a number of partners. Players
can accept credit card offers, take surveys or buy services from Zynga's
partners in order to obtain game credits, which would allow them to
replenish their character's energy or receive premium currency that
could be exchanged for other various virtual goods.
Players may also purchase game credits directly from Zynga via [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] or [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. From within the game, players can purchase the points for a fee: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]$5.00 for 21 game credits, for example.
In March 2010 Zynga started selling prepaid cards for virtual currency at more than 12,800 stores across the US.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Zynga also sells advertising sponsorships within some games such as movie tie-ins and other brands.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Platinum Purchase Program


In September 2010, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
reported that Zynga had set up a "Platinum Purchase Program" allowing
members to purchase virtual currency in amounts over $500 at favorable
rates by making a payment via [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. In contrast, the normal maximum purchase limits are $50 to $200.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
As with other social game companies, Zynga depends on a small core of
large spenders, known within the industry as "whales", for a large part
of its income.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Ryan Tate, author of the post, speculated that the program was a way
for gaming addicts to feed their obsession, and compared the secrecy of
the program to the secrecy of drug deals.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Studios and subsidiaries


Over the years Zynga has acquired many studios across the world.
Current



  • Zynga Headquarters ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.])
  • Zynga India ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.])
  • Zynga Los Angeles - opened February, 2010 [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
  • Zynga China (formerly XPD Media, based in Beijing) - acquired May, 2010
  • Zynga Austin (formerly Challenge Games) - acquired June, 2010
  • Zynga Boston (formerly Conduit Labs) - acquired August, 2010
  • Zynga Japan (formerly Unoh Games, based in Tokyo) - acquired August, 2010
  • Zynga Germany (formerly Dextrose AG, based in Frankfurt) - acquired September, 2010
  • [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] (formerly Bonfire Studios) - acquired October, 2010
  • Zynga New York (formerly Area/Code) - acquired January, 2011
  • Zynga Seattle - opened October, 2010 [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
  • [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - acquired March, 2011

While Zynga is currently based in San Francisco, the company is
threatening to relocate or expand elsewhere if San Francisco does not
offer the company a tax break.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Controversies


In its first years of existence, Zynga has been criticized on various fronts.
Spam concerns


Many of Zynga's games revolve around interacting with other players
for in-game benefits. Many non-players have notably complained about
such communications created by those games that appear to them as
"spammy." Peter Jamison described Zynga's communications as a "deluge"
of "unwanted gifts or requests for neighborly 'help.'"[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Facebook groups created to express displeasure regarding overexposure of Zynga's games attracted millions of members.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
As a result of this, Facebook modified their application developers
policy to prevent applications from sending messages to news feeds of
friends or submitting updates to the notifications bar.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Kotaku attributed the removal of Facebook notifications to a decline of users of Zynga games in April and May 2010.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Game quality


[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] professor [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] criticized Zynga's apathy towards game aesthetics, comparing that apathy to "strip-mining."[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Critics like Nick Saint of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] have said that Zynga's games have essentially the same mechanics even though they have different premises and settings.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Replication of existing games


Zynga has been accused several times of copying game concepts of popular games by competing developers.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The launch of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] sparked a lawsuit from the makers of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] An attorney for [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], the creators of Mob Wars, said that in making Mafia Wars, Zynga "copied virtually every important aspect of the game."[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] The suit was settled out of court for $7–9 million.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] noted that Zynga's Cafe World and Playfish's Restaurant City were "nearly identical"; Cafe World was released six months after Restaurant City. Its gameplay, design, graphics, avatars, and even in-game items are almost identical to the ones in Restaurant City. Many players who have played Restaurant City and Cafe World have noticed the extreme similarities between both games.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] In addition, journalists have remarked that Zynga's [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] is similar to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], with Peter Jamison calling it "uncannily similar."[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Other companies have responded by copying Zynga's games as well. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], publisher of Pet Society (a game similar to Zynga's Petville), announced the creation of Poker Rivals to rival [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Playfish then launched a game called Gangster City, which is similar to Mafia Wars.
Viability


Many journalists have questioned the viability of Zynga's business
model. Ray Valdes questioned the long-term prospects for Zynga, saying
that it would be difficult for the company to make new titles to replace
old ones whose novelty is fading.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] In December 2009, Tadhg Kelly, writing for [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.],
said that Zynga was at the "end of the beginning," noting that Zynga's
business model is dependent on Facebook continuing to operate in the
same manner and users continuing to expect the same quality of games,
among others. Kelly also compared Zynga to Atari, which also churned out
large numbers of simple games prior to the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and further claimed that Zynga's approach of creating similar clones of popular games would be impossible for deeper games.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Tom Bollich, a former Zynga investor, said that it is impossible to
make a cheap viral game, and that retaining customers is difficult.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In September 2010, SF Weekly reported that an employee
recalled Mark Pincus advising him to "copy what [Zynga's competitors] do
and do it until you get their numbers."[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Zynga founder Mark Pincus has dismissed the criticisms, saying that
competing video game makers have always released similar titles for each
genre of game.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The managing director of Lightspeed Venture Partners said that creating
similar competing games has "always been part of the game industry."[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Scam ads


Through 2009 Zynga made money from [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
advertising schemes, whereby game participants would earn game points
by signing up for featured credit cards or video-rental services. These
were criticized as being less cost-effective than simply buying game
points, and in some cases, being outright scams that would download
unwanted software or unwittingly sign up for a recurring subscription.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] One ad signed up players for subscriptions to expensive and unwanted [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] services.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On October 31, 2009, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] said that Zynga intentionally worked with scam advertisers, and that lead generation made up a third of Zynga's revenue.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Arrington also alleged that Facebook was complicit in this.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] On November 2, 2009, CEO Mark Pincus announced a reform in its offers: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.],
a major offer provider that enrolled users into recurring cell phone
subscriptions, would be banned, all mobile offers would be removed, and
offer providers would be required to pre-screen offers.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Arrington continued to question Pincus' role in the scams, republishing a video of a speech by Pincus.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] In the speech, Pincus said:
<blockquote>
So I funded [Zynga] myself but I did every horrible thing in the book
to, just to get revenues right away. I mean we gave our users poker
chips if they downloaded this Zwinky toolbar which was like, I don't
know, I downloaded it once and couldn’t get rid of it. *laughs* We did
anything possible just to just get revenues so that we could grow and be
a real business.
—Mark Pincus, Speech from Startup@Berkeley
</blockquote>
In response, Pincus noted that after offering the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] toolbar, his team of ten decided to remove it since it was a "painful experience."[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Several days after the Techcrunch story, Zynga's most recent Facebook game FishVille, was temporarily taken offline by Facebook on claim of advertising violations. According to Zynga, Fishville
had 875,000 users within two days of launch. A release from Facebook on
its reasons for taking the game offline read that "FishVille will
remain suspended until Facebook is satisfied that Zynga demonstrates
compliance with Facebook restrictions — as well as Zynga’s own
restrictions — on the ads it offers users."[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] FishVille was later un-suspended at midnight November 9–10.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Several suits were filed against Zynga for promoting such offers,[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] including the class-action lawsuit [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for violation of the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], after the lead plaintiff's credit card was billed more than $200 for offers she completed to receive YoVille currency.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Pincus later said that he had been too eager to increase company
revenues through advertising, and that operating in reactive mode by
taking down ads only after receiving complaints had not worked. The
company removed all ads for a time, relying only on direct purchase of
game currency, then began reintroducing third party ads only after they
had been screened.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Other criticism


In September 2009 Zynga was threatened with legal action by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for using their trademarks in the game [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].
Zynga subsequently renamed and changed the thumbnail images of all cars
that were branded Nissan and Infiniti to "Sindats" and "Fujis" with the
thumbnails changed.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] At the time they also renamed and redesigned automobiles depicted as being made by GM, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Saab, and others.
In March 2009, CEO Mark Pincus admitted that Zynga has been running gambling affiliate ads in their Facebook games for a year.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In late May 2010, the Norwegian Consumer Council filed a complaint to
the Data Inspectorate regarding breaches of the Data Protection Act.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In August 2010, the San Francisco city attorney's office complained about the firm's [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] campaign for its "Mafia Wars" game that pasted fake money on city sidewalks, calling it "vandalism".[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Intellectual property


In October 2010, Zynga was criticized on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and other [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] sites for having filed a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] relating to the ability to purchase [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for cash on gambling and other gaming sites. Commentators said that significant [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] exists for the concept.
In January 2011, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] reported that Zynga had sent a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
letter to Blingville alleging trademark infringement for its use of the
letters "ville" in the name of a proposed Facebook game. Blingville has
filed a suit for [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] that it is not infringing a Zynga trademark.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] As reported in Gamasutra,
Jay Monahan of Zynga responded by saying that Blingville's "[use] of
the name 'BlingVille' is an obvious attempt to capitalize on the fame
and goodwill associated with Zynga's family of 'ville' games which
includes FarmVille and CityVille".[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On May 20, 2011, it was reported that The Learning Company, owners of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], filed a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] suit against Zynga, who is planning an "Oregon Trail" expansion to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] The Learning Company had previously contacted Zynga about an Oregon Trail game on Facebook, but Zynga declined.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] On May 24, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] writer Brandy Shaul wrote that Zynga was dropping the Oregon Trail name and soliciting new names for the expansion.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Funding


In December 2009, Russia's [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] bought a $180 million share of Zynga.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
In 2010, a combined $300 million from [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] were invested in Zynga.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
More recently, Zynga has been rumored to be close to a deal that
values the company at approximately $10 billion through a capital raise
from a group of investors that include mutual funds associated with T.
Rowe Price and Fidelity Investments. This round of funding would raise
$500 million in primary capital for the company.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Zynga has been identified as a possible candidate for an [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] by 2013.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Equity analysts have stated that their recent actions have made it
clear they are preparing themselves for an IPO in the near future.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] On May 24, 2011, AllThingsD.com reported that Zynga was planning to file for an IPO within the week or two.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Games






Games discontinued



Zynga.org


Zynga started a charity sister company, Zynga.org, in charge of incorporating charitable contributions into its games.
For example, since at least October 2009, through its game [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], Zynga offered special [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] which customers can purchase with real-world money. Proceeds from the donation go to two [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]-based
charities: FATEM.org and FONKOZE.org. By October 20, the sugar beet
promotion had raised $427,000 and was expected to raise $2 million by
year's end.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Zynga used tie-ins via three of its top games to raise money for relief of the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Zynga offers special [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], the proceeds going to the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On March 11, 2011, Zynga announced that 100% of proceeds from purchases of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in Farmville would go to Japan's [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Earthquake Emergency Fund.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
On March 15, 2011, Zynga offered the purchase of a "Japanese
Countryside Home" in Yoville, also stating that 100% of proceeds would
go to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] The company had been criticized in the past for keeping up to 50% of the donations it collected.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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