Over the past six months, the company has made 6 acquisitions to stretch the boundaries of its realm. Roughly 320 million people have now played one of its 10 games (FarmVille, FrontierVille, Mafia Wars). And it has 1,300 employees.
Founder and Chief Executive Mark Pincus says more acquisitions are likely on the way. “If you have a startup here, please call us,” Pincus (pictured) says during a brief on-stage appearance at the Web 2.0 Summit going on in San Francisco.
For tiny gaming startups wondering how to make it in the hard, crowded world of gaming, the offer might be worth taking. That’s not because I know Zynga pays well, or offers game designers the autonomy to succeed.
I say this because it appears Zynga’s understanding of the next phase of Internet development seems on the mark. During his appearance at the annual confab, Pincus says two things especially worth noting.
First, he says he hopes to have 400 people by the end of the quarter working on new intellectual property–in other words, games expected to come to market in the next six months. He realizes the need to steer new content to a restive gaming community always looking for the next new thing. Increase your content, increase your odds of hitting it big: That seems to be his guiding principle. As part of its content expansion, Zynga has already bought Conduit Labs, Challenge Games, XPD Media and Unoh.
Second, Pincus sees a maturing of the Internet. Over the next 12 months, Internet users will develop and strengthen relationships with branded online services, much as they have with offline brands such as Tide, or Starbucks. “These services will ultimately feel like a dial tone,” he says, and users will come to expect they are always available. “Facebook, for many of us, is that social dial tone.”
Pincus wants to be the branded service for social gaming. To that end, he laid out a strategy he called “dog activated.” When you see the Zynga dog, you know what to expect…and that is social gaming.
Pincus has a smart take on the Internet. Might not be a bad idea to hitch up to the wagon.