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Zynga

Zynga Launches Farmville 2: Country Escape For Android Devices

Remember back in 2009 when Farmville was quite popular? This farming simulation game combined with its social aspect made it one of the top games available on Facebook at that time. Because of its popularity a sequel called Farmville 2 was launched in 2012 which offered new features. Fast forward to today these two titles have fallen in popularity and are not even in the top ten list of Facebook games based on daily active users. What people are playing right now are the Saga games such as Candy Crush Saga, Farm Heroes Saga, and Pet Rescue Saga.

Farmville 2

Zynga aims to reclaim its lost glory by launching Farmville 2: Country Escape as a mobile app. The game is now available free to download over at the Google Play store. Right now there are 400 million people worldwide who play Farmville and Farmville 2. The introduction of the mobile app will increase this number further as people can now play the game anytime and anywhere.

According to Jonathan Knight, vice president of games at Zynga, “FarmVille pioneered social gaming on the web, and with FarmVille 2: Country Escape we’ve reimagined the franchise as a mobile experience to match how players want to connect with their farm and with their friends. The foundation of the mobile game was built on listening to player feedback, so we’ve added features such as giving players the choice to play with friends or on their own, connectivity between the mobile game and FarmVille 2 on Facebook and the ability to play offline. We’ve created an experience where all FarmVille fans will feel right at home. As we focus on growing and sustaining this beloved franchise, we’re proud for FarmVille 2: Country Escape to usher in a new chapter of FarmVille on the go.”

So what’s new in this title? The game is set in a coastal location where you are tasked to restore the old family farm. You will grow crops, take care of animals, collect treasures, trade with friends, and sell good to local merchants.

Some of the key features of this game include

  • New social control: There are new choices in how you can play with your friends. You can play in Anonymous Mode or can connect to the GameCenter or Google Play Games Services and collaborate with other players. Players can connect their Facebook account to the game to access several social features including visiting their friend’s farm and sharing the “Speed Seed” which is used to accelerate progress.
  • Farm at Home with Connected Rewards: Those who play Farmville 2 in Facebook will be able to transfer valuable goods between the web version and the mobile version of the game.
  • Offline Mode: Players will be able to play the game even without any Internet connection. Game saves can be made later when a connection is available.
  • New Graphics: The game offers beautiful graphics that’s optimized for the mobile platform.

If you are a fan of Farmville or just curious as to what it is like to play it then you should go ahead and download Farmville 2: Country Escape which is available right now at Google Play

via zynga

Zynga Lays Off Nearly A Fifth Of Workforce As Financial Struggles Continue

When social gaming was at its peak of popularity one game provider was successful in releasing several game titles that had millions of people playing every day. Zynga develops games for various platforms such as Android, iOS and the web with titles such as FarmVille, CityVille and Zynga Poker being popular worldwide.

zynga

Today, the company is facing financial struggles as they announced that they will be cutting 520 jobs, which is one fifth of their workforce. They will also be closing down some of their offices in the United States such as those located in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus explained to his employees through a note that structural changes are to be implemented by the company.

The job cuts will save the company between $80 million to $90 million. This amount is a huge help to negate the effects of the projected second quarter net loss of between $39 million and $28.5 million.

This isn’t the first time the company announced a layoff as last year the company also trimmed down their staff.

“Today is a hard day for Zynga and an emotional one for every employee of our company.  We are saying painful goodbyes to about 18% of our Zynga brothers and sisters.  The impact of these layoffs will be felt across every group in the company.”

“None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth. But I think we all know this is necessary to move forward. The scale that served us so well in building and delivering the leading social gaming service on the Web is now making it hard to successfully lead across mobile and multiplatform, which is where social games are going to be played.”

Pincus added that those employees affected by the layoffs will be getting a generous severance package.

Zynga has been struggling to attract more players to its newer titles as they didn’t have the same effect as FarmVille.

The company began trading on the NASDAQ in December 2011 after its huge growth. Share prices back then stood at $10 and even went as high as $14.50 in March 2012. Right now it is valued at $3.41 each.

Pincus is optimistic that the company will rebound from this financial crisis. In the note he sent to his employees he stated that “Although these are hard decisions, I’m confident that our strategy of building leading franchises and supporting them with the largest network is the right one for the long term. I’m encouraged by our recent progress.  Running With Friends is a great example of the quality player experience we can deliver, already receiving an average 4.5 app star rating from 22,700 players in less than one month after launching. Our FarmVille franchise teams continue to innovate and deliver ground breaking new social experiences like County Fair which, despite only being available on the web, is engaging 39 million monthly players.”

via cnet

Facebook Connect on Zynga is no longer required

Zynga has made signing in with a Facebook account optional in a continuing effort to establish itself as an independent web and mobile gaming platform.

zynga

In the past, it was required for gamers to sign in with a Facebook account to enjoy Zynga’s offerings.

The move follows several other developments, starting from March last year when the company announced the Zynga Platform, which would support third-party games and allow for more social gaming. The beta release of such platform included a host of features, such as Live Chat, Player Profile, Social Stream, zFriends, as well as the ability to find new games.

In September, Zynga began offering third-party games, including Sports Casino by RocketPlay, Fashion Designer by 50 Cubes, Mini Putt Park by Majesco Entertainment, and Rubber Tacos by Sava Transmedia.

By making Facebook Connect optional, Zynga is able to have more control over the gaming experience.

This is in line with the revised agreement between the two social media companies last year, which stipulated that one, Zynga is permitted to not use ad units and credits from Facebook. Furthermore, Zynga’s right to advertise third-party games using information provided by Facebook was also made subject to certain restrictions.

According to TechCrunch, Zynga has gained several insights since launching its new gaming platform.

For one, it discovered that gamers generally like competition from other players, and approve of being challenged. This is encouraged by the social stream that is available on Zynga’s gaming platform.

Through the stream, the platform shows the other players, as well as allows gamers to share and ask for assistance in a game.

Zynga also noted that it is more optimal for monetization to integrate ads beween the data in the social stream instead of placing one below everything.

Beyond creating adjustments in the gamers’ experience, Zynga is also undertaking changes within its own company. The social gaming giant had discontinued several games, including Mafia Wars Shakedown, Montopia, Forestville, Word Scramble Challenge, Petville, Mafia Wars 2, Fishville, Vampire Wars, and Treasure Isle, among others. It has also laid off some employees in a bid to reduce expenditures.

via techcrunch

Zynga Closes 11 Games In Cost-Cutting Efforts

As part of its cost-cutting scheme, the weakening social gaming giant Zynga is officially ceasing to offer eleven of its games. This was announced by the company’s CEO, Mark Pincus.

Zynga

Some of these games have already been removed from app stores whereas others have stopped accepting registrations and have closed or on their way to closing between this month and January. The list of games include Petville, Mafia Wars 2, Fishville, Vampire Wars, Treasure Isle, Indian Jones Adventure World, Mafia Wars Shakedown, Forestville, Montopia, Mojitomo, and Word Scramble Challenge.

The shutdown of the games has elicited many negative responses from the gamers on Facebook, some of whom have spent much time and/or money on the games.

One gamer says: “OH NO my Pet has gone,can’t even get into the game .All that time and effort that I put into feeding and clothie had.” Meanwhile, another gave a suggestion: “Zynga, please offer Petville players a chance to play this game elsewhere or charge us a fee to play. Simply deleting a game with many loyal players is disgusting. There would be thousands more people playing still if you hadn’t decided to drop support 1 1/2 years ago; even through the endless bugs many of us kept playing our favorite game.”

2012 has not been a good year for Zynga in general, after many of its gamers reportedly ditched the games for those offered by other mobile game developers.

The company was also believed to have made a bad move when it acquired the game developer OMGPop and the game Draw Something for large sums of money. Draw Something!, it would be noted, was a well-liked game, but its popularity eventually waned.

Zynga’s share price has fallen to only $2.33, marking a 3.52 percent decline from its IPO price of $10 in 2011.

Apart from shutting down games, Zynga has also closed offices and laid off over 100 employees.

Zynga to date continues to offer around 30 game titles, including Bubble Safari, Cityville, The Ville, Farmville 2, Words With Friends, Zynga Poker, Legends: Rise of a Hero, JamJam, Fashion Designer, Ruber Tacos, Ruby Blast, Go Slots, Castleville, and Chefville, among others. Zynga’s games are available on Android, iOS, Facebook, MySpace, some social media websites, and the Zynga official website.

via 1, 2

Zynga Slashes Their Roster During Apple Press Event

Zynga once again has been trying to avoid a bunch of bad PR by announcing that they have just laid off a little over a 100 employee’s that were working on Bingo and TheVille at their offices in Austin. This was cleverly timedduring Apple’s iPad Mini event today so that they could possibly avoid getting any sort of bad press. Unfortunately for them, Zynga has caught the attention of the media at full force, especially from Twitter where angry users and former employee’s voice out the complaint. It is also rumored that Zynga could be laying off other employee’s across the country soon as well.

Justin Maxwell, who has been a former employee of Apple, Sony, Mint and Smule was the one to break this news. He announced that Zynga workers were apparently given a mere two hours to clean out their desks and vacant the office. Maxwell apparently learned this news straight from his friends who worked at Zynga and were included in these unfortunate layoffs, and that’s just where he learned this news from. Zynga employees themselves probably were not able to talking about being laid off.

Josh Constine from Techcrunch mentions that earlier this month Zynga’s share price had taken a massive drop after the company reduced earning and revenue projections for the upcoming year. During that time, CEO Mark Pincus said that there would be “targeted cost reductions” in many areas, which is the nice way of saying layoffs. So yes, layoffs have been expected, but the announce during Apple’s iPad Mini event that most of the tech industry was watching makes it seem like Zynga was trying to minimize all of the bad press that they could have potentially gotten. Shouldn’t they know by now that trying to do things in secret is usually louder than publicly announcing things? I would expect with them trying to do the same thing earlier this year they would have learned by now.

There is still a little hope for Zynga, things have not been looking good for them as of late though. Constine mentions that if they could find a way to inspire their reaming employee’s to fulfill the company’s mission of connection the world through games they might just have a chance at staying afloat. For now though, Zynga is running out of chances, and if things continue as they are, we may see Zynga in for some really bad times fairly soon here. That’s the nice way of saying that they’re going to have to fire a lot of its roster.

Hopefully Zynga will be able to figure out some of these issues in the company. It is definitely sad that Zynga has to slash the roster to stay afloat right now due to the popularity of their games decreasing, but if they can just get some good ideas flowing and inspire their employees into creativity, things could potentially go really well for them.

Do you have any thoughts on all of this? How do you think Zynga could improve?

source: Tech Crunch

Horn Review — Zynga’s First UDK Powered Game

Available On: Android, iOS

Price: $6.99

Download: Google Play | iTunes

Despite The Dark Knight Rises’ awesome dark and gritty feel, Horn is spectacularly beautiful. While Gameloft did a great job translating the dark themed world of Gotham City into a game, Zynga has done a fantastic job creating some visually impressive and beautiful graphics for Horn. This is one specific mobile game I would say that hardcore PC gamers would like. Coming from me, that’s really saying something. I’m a huge fan of games like Elder Scrolls, Kingdoms of Amalur, and RPG games in general. Horn wets that taste by offering an open 3d world for players to explore through. No game on Android has such a experience, at least yet, and Horn may just be leading the way towards that.

While I’m always one to highly suggest a controller on touch devices just because touch controls are often clunky, you do not want to do that with Horn. Horn offers its own uniquely styled gameplay and combat system, it’s so good to the point where you will want to use touch gestures in the game. Combat is auto detected, so whenever you near a monster, you begin the auto-attack system where you can dodge by pressing two arrows, and you can also swipe the monster to do your awesome slicing attacks. Combat is always fun, and rarely ever gets boring because of the variety of monster mechanics. Every monster you fight often has some very unique mechanics.

With all of that said, those are some very good things about the game that will keep you interested, but a lot of the environments are entire repeats of other segments of the game, it’s really weird to explain. It just feels very linear, despite their claim of a vast 3D open world. Whatever the reasoning behind this, the rest of the mechanics and amazingly awesome combat really balances this out. I highly enjoy this game, which you might of guessed, as I am a huge fan of RPG’s and Horn does a great job at quenching the RPG taste. Though Horn will not offer you Skyrim-like features, it does a good job at being one of the first mobile RPG’s worth playing.

Zynga isn’t a company that I often look too for my gaming needs. Angry birds wasn’t my style, and Amazing Alex wasn’t either, it was definitely geared towards more casual players. Horn was a huge surprise coming from Zynga, such a surprise that I am looking for a sort-of sequel that will fix the linear “open world” environment.

Horn is an excellent game and I seriously recommend giving this specific title a look. The game is going to set you back by $7 on both iOS and Android, but is entirely worth it. There is a very good amount of content in this game, and will keep you busy for a few hours. I would highly suggest playing this game on a tablet, as opposed to a smartphone because that is what it plays very well on.

A job well done, Zynga.

Hasbro, Zynga team up to launch Zynga social games in US

From virtual game to a real family board game. This is what is due to befall on four popular social online games, from the recent collaboration of Hasbro and Zynga.

Two of the world’s biggest social game providers, Zynga and Hasbro have just teamed up to launch four eminent Zynga social games, to be labelled as Hasbro-produced board games for retailers in the United States. Among the soon-to-be released games include Draw Something, Words With Friends, City Ville and Farm Ville. These games are usually played by hundreds of millions of Facebook users, up till now. They are also available in mobile platforms, emerging on top among other games.

The four Zynga-Hasbro games are set to be offered in the US market this month.

In every month, Zynga acquires 306 million active users for its social network and mobile games. Its social online games apparently have influenced the mass culture of these days. The more people use Facebook per day, the higher the chances of Zynga games to be played each day as well.

Seeing the new generation is becoming extremely hooked into these social online games, both companies have decided to venture digital game brands out and present them to the physical world of family board games.

Zynga-Hasbro Games Overview

The special digital values incorporated in the Hungry Hungry Herd, City Ville and Words With Friends titles are thought to refine every player’s game play, whether online or mobile.

Hungry Hungry Herd. One of the soon-to-launch family board games inspired from the characters of Zynga’s Farm Ville is the Hungry Hungry Herd games. In this game, players will try to take in as many apples as they can. The player with the highest number of apples wins.

In order to keep their farms going online, a minimum of 50 Farm Cash redeemable digital currency is offered. Players are also given with an option to choose from a Gobbling Horse, Munching Pig, Snacking Sheep, or Chomping Cow. After releasing the marbles at the center, a player should try to eat as much as he can. The game is designed for players at the age of 4 and above. It will cost $22.99.

City Ville Monopoly. In this game, players compete to form their dream cities. A train station, toy shop and bakery are among the available game locations for players to purchase. Stackable houses are also provided for players to build homes, apartments and businesses. Mystery Gifts, which players can exchange, are also offered. Target markets for this game are kids aging 8 and above, for a price of $24.99. An 85 City Cash for players to use in online version is already included in the package.

Words With Friends. The concept of this game is closely similar to that of the Scrabble board game, where players play word combinations to score the highest points. In mobile or online versions, players can access several digital features like The Word-O-Meter, The Count, and Tile Pile, to increase their scores. The game includes 104 tiles and 4 tile racks. It is available this month at HasbroToyShop.com and from most major retailers for $19.99. It is best for kids 13 and above.

Draw Something. In this game, players will choose a card and draw one from the three given items. Difficulty ranges from easy to hard. A cue to winning the game is by choosing to most difficult item to draw for other players to guess. If the guess is right, the more coins are given. This game is best for children of ages 8 and above, available at $19.99.

Eric Nyman, senior vice president and global brand leader of Hasbro Gaming in Pawtucket said the company is delighted to work with Zynga, to offer the millions of their patrons with a unique and sensational Zynga gaming experience, as well as providing families more great options to play on.

Zynga team is also honored to join forces with Hasbro.

According to Zynga’s executive vice president of corporate and business development, Barry Cottle, it is Zynga’s privilege to collaborate with Hasbro. He believes this union will pave the way for Zynga to establish stronger connections with their players.

Source: Venture Beat

Draw Something Reaches 50 Million Downloads In 50 Days

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After a couple dozen social game were under their belts, without a mega hit New York’s OMGPOP was evaluating their options for the future.

After their last round of venture funding they weren’t sure if they would be able to pull another. Early stage investors were beginning to worry about the company.

Little did anyone know they had an ace up their sleeve in a social pictionary style game called Draw Something.

More after the break

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After Draw Something Beats Words With Friends Zynga Considering Purchase Of OMGPOP?

If you haven’t become intimately familiar with the game Draw Something, you are either anti-social when it comes to social gaming or you live under a rock. Draw Something has quickly risen to the most popular social game in the world, beating out Zynga’s smash hit Words With Friends.

Draw Something is a game very similar to win, lose or draw. You have to draw pictures and let your opponent guess the picture. The game comes in a freemium version and a premium version. It selects words for you on three skill levels. The first skill level is typically an easy noun like boots, or tears. The second level is either a noun or a verb, that may be a littler harder to draw. The third is usually a proper noun like Lil Wayne or Rihanna.

The drawings are hillarious based on skill level. Once the drawings are complete you need to guess your opponents drawing. If you guess successfully both players earn “coins” that can be used for in app purchases. It has the same game play style as the words with friends franchise. You can play multiple games at one time and you can get a random opponent or play against a Facebook friend.

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Android Game Spotlight: Zynga’s Dream Zoo

Zynga’s been in the news a lot lately, ever since their wild ride of an IPO. Now though, we’re going to take a quick look at one of their newest games to hit the Android Market, Dream Zoo.

Dream Zoo is very similar in ways to Animal Tycoon 2, that was recently released to the Android Market. In Dream Zoo you own your own zoo. The big difference is the animals are rare breeds, and imaginary if you will. Blue polka dot elephants and giraffes with chocolate swirls are just some of the animals you’ll get to raise, breed, and keep happy in their new habitat, your Android phone.

The animals move around the game in cool animations. You can keep your animals growing by completing mini games. You can even discover new animals by going on safari’s.

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Zynga Gets Bazyngad

Yes we totally realize that Bazinga is spelled incorrectly above… With that out of the way let’s get into the story.

Zynga, the publishers of such smash social hits as Farmville, Cityville, Zynga Poker and many others, some of which even appear in the Android Market, went public Friday. Zynga stock, which appeared on the Nasdaq as ZNGA, was expected to be one of those ginormous silicon valley offerings.  Zynga set it’s stock price at $10 on Thursday.

Friday Zynga’s founder Mark Pincus rang Nasdaq’s opening bell in San Francisco. After that it was off to the races. The stock spiked at $11.50 but by the close on Friday afternoon at had fallen to $9.50

While $.50 a share may not seem like a lot, Zynga was valued at $14 billion dollars back in August when they went for their last round of venture funding. The $10 stock price valued the company at $7 billion dollars.

On the upside Zynga was able to sell 14.5% of it’s available stock on Friday which is a lot more than the 5.5% of available shares that Groupon recently sold in it’s IPO in November.

Zynga isn’t concerned about the 5% drop on Friday. Zynga’s COO John Schappert told the Wall Street Chet Sheet:

“We’re not looking at it today or tomorrow, or what we could have squeezed out. We’re looking at the long run.”

source: Associated Press

 

 

The Only Way It Could Be Worse Is If They Put The Angry Birds In The Farmville Movie

Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen, the screenwriters who brought Buzz Light Year, Woody, Jessie, and Mr. Potato Head together in the original Toy Story are contemplating doing something really, um, well, dumb.  Sokolow and Cohen revealed in a recent interview that they are considering putting Zynga’s smash hit social media game, Farmville on the big screen.

Of course we’ve seen the likes of Pokemon, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, Mario Brothers, Double Dragon and more, come to the big screen, but this is different. I’m not sure that a Sim City movie would have worked and I’m not sure that Farmville would either.

 

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Zynga Brings The City But Not The Farm To Google + At Least Not Yet

Although the early adopters and die hard Google+ set have repeatedly said they don’t want to see Facebook games on their beloved Google Plus we always knew they were coming.  Zynga’s poker game was in the first run of Google+ games.

Now that Google has opened up Google+ to the public, it’s that set of users who will be looking for their favorite social media games to make the transition as well. In fact in order to sustain Google+ and the exodus of Facebook users that Google+ and a bunch of unwanted changes to the Facebook experience has caused, social media games needed to come over.

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Zynga Teams With AT&T

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In the first ever deal of its kind , social gaming powerhouse Zynga has joined forces with AT&T.  The creator of such social mega hits as Farmville, CityVille, and Words With Friends, will bring their hit titles, exclusive content and special premiums to AT&Ts millions of customers.

What’s clearly set out to start as a mobile wireless partnership could possibly end up integrated with AT&Ts Uverse customers as well, taking Zynga games from the computer screen, to the small screen and the living room.  Earlier this year Zynga’s founder Mark Pincus said he wanted the company to branch out.

In this AT&T partnership AT&T will feature Zynga titles in their AT&T tab in the Android market. Zynga plans to develop exclusive content for AT&T customers.

Source: Zynga