The Big Developer: Zynga Games

Zynga has become a household name in some parts of the country, which is really a given once you look at the social games they have developed such as FarmVille and PetVille, which have really defined what it means to make a good social game. The good thing about Zynga is that they keep you coming, if you don’t finish that one task on the farm in “FarmVille”, then you won’t be satisfied until you do. Another example would be the popular game, YoVille, which is basically a very tuned down version of The Sims with “ups” in random places. YoVille takes the player and allows them to create their own apartment, have their own job, and chat with friends, in the virtual world. Zynga has done a very good job making the game work together seamlessly, even though when one thinks of putting all of that into one game, it seems impossible, which is why the game has 1.5 million monthly users. One final example is Zynga’s first game, Zynga Poker. Zynga Poker currently has 38 million active players and is popular among southern states. The game puts players in a virtual casino, where they play poker with each other. If it doesn’t sound hard, then it will right here: The task at hand right now is to put 38 million players in a casino, in which they can each participate in Poker games with different people. Despite the challenges, Zynga’s excellent time managed to make the casino, and the game remains as Zynga’s steady income (Zynga Poker accounts for 15% of Zynga’s total 306 million users.

Zynga Poker Gameplay

Zynga started out in 2007 (about the same time when Facebook started growing rapidly), when Mark Pincus and a few buddies decided to start the company, Presidio Media. They changed the name a month later to “Zynga” to honor Mark Pincus’s late dog, “Zinga”. Zynga’s first game, Zynga Poker, was published on Facebook in about 2 months. The game made $10 million the first week, and the company made $29 million from companies investing in it later as well. In a few years, Zynga is now a household name with products that everyone enjoys with revenue of 1.1 Billion dollars.

Zynga has really changed the market when compared to other social game developers such as Wooga (Diamond Dash) and (FunFlow, Puzzle Saga, etc.). Before Zynga came along, social games were not made the way they are today. They were either free, and didn’t implement the right things a video game should, or they cost money, and the user had to pay for certain features to be unlocked. Now Zynga is not the best social game developer, and some of their games aren’t very polished. A great example would be Mafia Wars, which is a game in which the user has to control their own Mafia member, and kill others to gain points to buy upgrades and such. Sound fun, right?, but here’s the catch: All you do is press buttons, nothing more, nothing less. That is the only thing that really gets me, when you look at the logo for the game, and it looks very good- then you try it out, and it ends up sucking pretty bad. This is the only game from Zynga that I know of that does this though. Overall, Zynga makes very polished games, and updates them monthly to keep them that way.

Zynga’s most popular game CityVille, in which the player is the mayor of a town, and has to build buildings and make profit from the town, brings in 61 million monthly user’s, but for one reason: It’s Addictive. All game companies know that players will come back if the game hooks them, if the game is addictive enough. CityVille can be compared to other popular games such as “World of Warcraft”. World of Warcraft is a big game, no doubt, but cannot even compare to CityVille in terms of monthly users. World of Warcraft has a subscriber base of 12 million users. Sure, World of Warcraft has a bunch of players and is a way more polished game than CityVille, but when it comes to the numbers, we all know who the real winner is. We could also compare the game in terms of numbers to big franchises such as “Call of Duty. Call of Duty is a huge franchise, and in order to understand how big it is, we need to go into some tough numbers. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the first day made 310 million dollars, making it the biggest entertainment launch in history. 2 years later, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was released and made 400 million dollars the first day, which broke the previous record set by the same company. Anyway, Call of Duty has a total player amount of 40 million, CityVille still surpasses that number by more than 20 million. One could argue, that it is because CityVille is free-to-play, and already has a social platform of 900 million people, but I believe when it comes to numbers, one can’t argue.

Even Call of Duty can’t beat Zynga

None the less, Zynga has managed to leak into every Facebook user’s memory, and will probably stay like that for a long time ahead, this is why Zynga deserves to be called a “Big Developer”.


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