In June of 2009, they launched FarmVille on Facebook, had 10 million+ active users daily in only six weeks, and on that trajectory went public with huge pre-launch hype on December 16, 2011 -- opening at $10 a share, hitting a high of $14.50 in March of 2012, and today trading under $3.50 a share and not yet making a profit.
Last week, Zynga and Facebook distanced themselves -- one from the other -- with the upshot being that Zynga wants to build its own dot-com and Facebook can now produce its own games.
So much to comment on here I could have Ramble material for a month or more.
- The two "struggling" social platforms -- once entwined, now disentangling -- what does that portend for the industry? For Facebook?
- Who has the better shot? Facebook in creating games or Zynga in creating yet another social platform? Zynga's plan is to do just that.
- Compare their stock market performance; analyze the analyst hype before they went public and after; see what they say now -- amazing how the analysts are always right...
Truth is -- I don't want to bash them -- in fact, I have growing respect for them as they fight back from the digibabble morass they got thrown into (and to be fair, were happy to drown in). Look how much the founders made even as the company makes no "money" and begins to deal with the real world and real world needs.
They have expanded their view of the world -- and I imagine they were the ones who amended Wikipedia as follows: "The company develops social games that work stand-alone on mobile phone platforms such as Apple iOS and Android and on the Internet through its website, Zynga.com, and social networking websites such as Facebook, Google+, and Tencent."
More interesting -- as far as I'm concerned -- they are also turning their best sellers into board games -- physical... buy in a box/open in your home... play face-to-face with friends... honest to God, old-fashioned traditional board games.
And, by the way, board games are selling.
Bottom line -- Zynga has followed the content -- if you will. Sometimes it ends up on Facebook, sometimes in stand-alone use on a smartphone, and occasionally on a kitchen table or living room floor.
They have a long way to go -- selling virtual goods just doesn't cut it: advertising isn't enough and the board games won't get their stock price going -- but maybe, just maybe, if they can really cut themselves loose from all the digibabble hype, they will create real value for their investors and continue to delight their users.
I'm rooting for you, Zynga -- keep following that content -- and keep it as fluid as it is.
"Follow the customer, if they change... we change." Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive, Tesco plc
And the content leads you right to the customer.
See what I mean?
What do you think?