Can Zynga Inc’s Mobile-Friendly Titles Boost Monetization?

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Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) chief operating officer Clive Downie announced earlier this week that the game developer will be launching mobile-friendly versions of three of its top franchises. Zynga is struggling to retain users, while its key rival King files for an IPO. King’s games are dominating the mobile platforms. The San Francisco-based company generates most of its revenue from in-app purchases. Though the user volume is declining, Zynga’s percentage of paying players remains steady.

Zynga brings up mobile versions of its key money-spinners

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s three popular franchises, Farmville, Words with Friends and Zynga Poker will see mobile spinoffs. The Farmville family’s mobile version is called Farmville 2: Country Escape. It will offer online gaming, and will sync with the player’s achievements in the Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) version. Downie said that Country Escape will redefine your Farmville social experience. It has new Social Control options that provide you more choices on how you connect with family and friends. 

Zynga Poker’s mobile incarnation New Zynga Poker is a mobile-first title that offers more gameplay. The original Poker was released on 2007, and is known for its unobtrusive design. The New Zynga Poker makes it much easier to join tables with your real-life friends. It has also seen some graphic improvements.

The mobile-friendly version of Words with Friends will have some new features as well. The company has added an enhanced dictionary, which includes a stats-boasting player profile, audio pronunciation and easier ways to connect with friends. Words with Friends still attracts a healthy monthly active users, so we can expect this to garner some interest. Of course, this game has already been more mobile-friendly than other franchises.

Will mobile-friendly version solve Zynga’s biggest problem?

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s biggest problem is player retention. In Q4, 2013, the number of monthly active users (MAUs) plunged 62%, and the number of daily active users sank 52% YoY. The company continues to monetize about 2% of its players. But when the overall player volume is decreasing, the monetization potential shrinks.

During the fourth quarter, Farmville, Farmville 2 and Zynga Poker accounted for about 60% of the company’s web revenue. Reinventing Zynga Poker and Farmville franchises to make them more mobile-friendly could increase the company’s ability to attract more players. That will, in turn, boost monetization potential.

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares soared 1.13% to $5.57 at 11:41 AM EST.

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