Zynga Inc Expands Into Sports, Unveils “NFL Showdown”

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Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is trying to cash in on football season by launching its first football-based mobile game, NFL Showdown. The company has plans of pushing into sports-based games for mobile, and this game is its first effort.

Football game with a difference

The free-to-play title has been designed specifically for the mobile platform, and the Zynga Sports 365 team has focused on making it different from EA’s Madden NFL Football title for consoles. NFL Showdown is a simulation for football team-managers and allows the user to create their own fantasy teams and play against friends.

In the game, the user has to train their football players so that they perform well in the game. The energy and confidence of the player is obtained from the limited resources allotted to the user, and there is a scoreboard to evaluate the performance of the players.

Mike Taramykin, the vice president of Zynga Sports 365, in an interview with GamesBeat, said, “This is going to be something new that you haven’t seen before.”

Zynga banking on brands

Zynga is struggling to make a mark as a maker of quality mobile games, as reflected by the launch of NFL Showdown. This is also a reflection of the fact that the company is trying to enter into new genres in pursuit of mobile success.

The company’s revenue has been declining at an alarming rate, which raised serious doubts about its survival in the long run. Therefore, to revive its fortunes and stabilize its falling revenues Don Mattrick was hired a year ago to become CEO. He has come up with new strategic expansion categories, of which sports is one. Mattrick has prior experience in running game studios at Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA). A new sports game studio has been set up by the company’s CEO at Orlando, Fla., for which Mattrick has hired many sports games veterans, including some from EA.

Zynga initially gained popularity and achieved success with its social game FarmVille, and its entry into football signifies how seriously it is making efforts for a turnaround. Also it can be interpreted that brands are a major strategic weapon in the field of mobile gaming. Zynga Inc’s future in gaming will largely depend on the success of its gaming titles like Zynga Poker (which recently got a reboot), NFL Showdown, as well as its larger Sports 365 brand.

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