Mashable: Zynga Buys Social Web Browser Flock
Rounding out a list of eight acquisitions in the past seven months, Zynga has purchased “social web browser” Flock…
With the purchase, Zynga hopes to further the spread of its social media games.
Those games include FarmVille, Mafia Wars and CityVille. All run on Facebook and other services and are free to sign up for. Zynga says it has over 215 million people active users each month. That figure is more likely the number of user identities than real people but it’s an impressive total all the same.
Zynga has 1,300 employees, so is no tiddler. The company’s not missing many tricks, either. It made deals last year in India, Japan and China. Zynga’s pre-paid game cards are on sale at nearly 13,000 games and general stores throughout America. American Express card holders can use their rewards points to buy virtual goods on Zynga games.
It reads like a business school case study. Wikipedia has this not-uncritical account of how the company has grown.
You can get an idea of how to play the CityVille game from this article on Silicon Alley Insider. The article also shows where Zynga gets much of its money from. To me, it looks like legalised pyramid selling.
Facebook makes money, too. Players can use Facebook Credits to buy virtual goods on Zynga games and others. Facebook normally keeps 30% of that income (the same as Apple keeps for sales of iPad & iPhone Apps).
There were rumours last year of a falling-out over this, with Zynga creating an independent, direct portal. The two sides have since kissed and made up, publicly at least, and have plighted their troth for the next five years. Since Zynga is the biggest app on Facebook, there was probably a discount agreed.
Making use of Zynga
Online games are not likely to be of direct relevance to the corporate computing sector, except possibly in the training department. They will, though, possibly be of interest to marketers. At the least, there will be sponsorship and product placement opportunities. Mashable (again) details some of these as found on Zynga.
According to eMarketer, social gaming will grow rapidly this year in the USA, as it probably will elsewhere. Plenty of scope there for adventurous advertising departments.