Zynga sees sharp fall in players

Farmville was the game that first made Zyngas name in 2009
Farmville was the game that first made Zyngas name in 2009

Farmville games giant owner Zynga has reported a sharp fall in both players and revenues since last year.

It said it had now given up its plan to move into games that use real money as it tries to rebuild user numbers for social gaming,

Its monthly average users were 40% lower than last year’s at 187 million.

Figures, for the three months to the end of June, also show those playing games daily fell by 45% to 39 million.

Its revenue was 38% below last year’s quarter at $230.7m (£150m).

The company said in a statement: “Zynga believes its biggest opportunity is to focus on free to play social games.

“While the company continues to evaluate its real-money gaming products in the United Kingdom test, Zynga is making the focused choice not to pursue a license for real money gaming in the United States.”

Zynga shares dropped by 14% in after the bell trading.

New boss

The U-turn comes less than a month after Don Mattrick – the former chief of Microsoft’s Xbox gaming unit – became chief executive of Zynga. He replaced the firm’s founder, Mark Pincus who stays on as chairman and chief product officer.

“We need to get back to basics and take a longer term view on our products and business, develop more efficient processes and tighten up execution all across the company,” Mr Mattrick said following the financial release.

He added he would spend the next 90 days “heads down” with his team, resetting its product release plan.

Last month Zynga said it was cutting 520 of its staff – around 20% of its workforce.

Farmville – a huge hit on Facebook – was the game that first put Zynga on the map in 2009. Players buy virtual goods to accelerate their progress.

But as competition has grown, Zynga has found it harder to get its titles in Facebook’s top-10 most played games.

Earlier this month London-based developer King – the firm behind the puzzle game Candy Crush Saga – said it had overtaken Zynga in terms of the number of users playing each firm’s titles at least once a month.

Meanwhile, Zynga’s recent mobile app launches have not made as much impact as investors would have hoped.

Weak demand for Draw Something 2 has been particularly disappointing bearing in mind Zynga paid about $200m for the firm behind the franchise, OMGPOP. last year.

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