Great year end for social games

    by -
    Zynga

    ZyngaSo finally Zynga too landed on Wall Street: for the world’s most popular social games developer (which according to the latest numbers of AppData.com has over 224 million of monthly average users, more than four times the number of fans of “social” games versions of Electronic Arts titles, 54.3 million, or Microsoft, 48.2 million) this meant collecting 1 billion dollars by placing 100 million shares (approximately 14% of its capital) to $ 10 each.

    The curious thing is that since Zynga was evaluated again in August of $ 11.15 billion share in the hands of its founder, Mark Pincus, approximately 15%, was worth, in theory, just under 1.7 billion, while now that Zynga was valued about 7.15 billion (indeed, based on the $ 9.5 closing the first day of trading it was worth just over 6.8 billion) Pincus has become “poorer” of about 670 million dollars (its share now value only 1.002 billion instead of 1.672 billion as estimated in August). I am sure he will not complain too much though, because after the Ipo of Google in 2004 which collected $ 1.9 billion, Zynga’s Ipo is the second largest ever for a dot.com, while some doubt could come to the new shareholders.

    Sure, Castelville goes very well with 37.1 million players on a monthly basis, but by early December the daily average players number seem to want to stabilize, while Citiville with its 48.8 million players monthly average remains far (eve if it continues to lose players) and even Farmville with the monthly average of 31.9 million players is not very far. If anything, this is a”curious” data of this year end, that some “oldies” from Farmville itself to Adventure World (9.4million) are able to remain at good levels if not to be back on their feet after the decline of recent months.

    Who knows if this will help make Pincus to strengthen its business model and extract value for shareholders? Certainly the recent departure of some managers including Owen Van Natta (who was also among the first venture partners of Zynga) is not a good sign although some sources have pointed out that Van Natta had given his willingness to remain for no more than one or two years in the Board of directors of the company, that in the meantime is recruiting specialists with which to strengthen its management structure. However, a delicate phase, as confirmed in recent years the problems by Linden Lab, which is not always good for a company and its shareholders.

    Life social gamesMeanwhile, the report comes to us from Italy of a new “social game”, Life (www.lifesocialgame.com) that presents itself as a “browser game (totally Italian) with a social platform independent and inspired to Game of Life” (a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970)”. Characterized by simple rules, minimalist graphics and multi-language support (but also of a regular fanpage on Facebook) the game and its community intend to constantly interact and merge: it provides the platform to the individual cell identity (which may or may not correspond to the real identity of users) and is able to provide the basis for simple forms of communication (such as notifications or messages) and meeting, and users can choose whether to participate in the strategy game or just enjoy the community. A rival perhaps more of Facebook than Zynga, developed by MaD-Projects and we will see in the coming months if he can “break“in the increasingly competitive world of social media.