Zynga, the company behind popular Facebook games like FarmVille and MafiaWars, is experiencing an amazing growth. Within 1 year, the number of employees has jumped from 375 to 1,000, offices have been established in India, revenue has been growing steadily and is estimated to be $835 Million for 2010, and above all, customers and investors are both more happy than they have been with probably any other start-up.
The games Zynga offers may sound silly and goofy to some, but they are played by 211 Million active users each month. Zynga makes money by letting people buy virtual in-game products using real money and even though the number of people who engage in these transactions are very small, it adds up to several hundred million dollars each year. People believe Zynga is the hottest digital property coming out of Silicon valley since Facebook and Twitter.
This, however, is just the beginning! Or at least that is what Zynga’s founder Mark Pincus thinkgs. Mr. Pincus who has been involved in at least 3 different start-ups before Zynga, wants to make Zynga for social apps what Google is to search; and given the current track record, nobody can say he is over expecting. It is estimated that between 20% to 30% of Facebook users come to the platform for playing games. This strong dependency of Facebook and Zynga on each other has also brewed some major differences in the recent past, but both companies claim that all that is now behind them and the relationship between the two social media giants is stronger than ever.
Some analysts also believe that Zynga is planning to go public very soon and the company is currently valued at around $5 Billion. An interesting thing to note is that despite Google’s fierce competition with Facebook in social media properties, Google has invested heavily in Zynga along with Softbank. On the other hand, Zynga has also partnered with Apple to offer its games on the iPhone. This intricate web of collaboration makes all the internet giants more dependent on each other than they would probably like to admit.