Social game leader of the pack Zynga has recently landed yet another influx of cash. This time however, the majority of the investment is coming from Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies. If this name sounds vaguely familiar, you might remember them as a $200 million investor in Facebook. They’re also the same firm that we covered less than a month ago with their $5 million investment in a homegrown social strategy game and gaming platform.
If you’ve not been keeping score, and admittedly in this blister paced market, it can be quite a challenge, Zynga is currently the king of social gaming on Facebook. They’re the makers of FarmVille, arguably the one that started the farming craze, which launced in June and counts 72.9 million active monthly users. And while this number alone is enough to make any investor sit up and take notice, Zynga also stables Mafia Wars, FishVille, YoVille, Café World, and Texas HoldEm Poker. Combined, Zynga’s active monthly usage amounts to a massive 232 million. To put that in perspective, there are only three countries on the planet (China, India, and the United States) that are larger.
Looking at Zynga in the overall social gaming space, again, they’re clearling leading the pack. The second largest player on the Facebook gaming page is Playfish, which counts 59 million users. Obviously nothing to sneeze at, but when compared to Zynga – peanuts. Playfish was recently acquired by EA, as the traditional games giant is seeking to make a shift towards current market preferences.
And while massive numbers are good, many, if not all, investors in social gaming have recollections of a former internet boom that was fueled by views, and never bothered to look at the solid bottom line. Fast forward 10 (or so) years, and it looks like both investors and startups have learned a lesson. Zynga is not only covering their costs, but bringing home the bacon – in loads. While on paper, it seems like free-to-play gaming in general wouldn’t make sense. Giving games away and waiting for players to make a microtransaction purchase wouldn’t have been a solid solution pre-social gaming explosion days. However, rumors are circulating that Zynga’s 2009 revenues are pushing the $250 million mark. The company employs either full time or part time 712 employees and is constantly growing.
Again, these figures are enough to make any investor take notice, and it’s clear that Russian firm Digital Sky Technologies is clearly putting it’s vote of confidence into the social networking/gaming area.
With respect to the new investment, Zynga’s founder and CEO Mark Pincus commented to the New York Times, “The opportunity every quarter is proving to be bigger than we imagined and we always thought it was prudent to keep adding to the capital of the company as we grow.”