Are Zynga’s Second-Quarter Results Anything to Worry About?

Are Zynga’s revenues trending in the wrong direction?

In the second quarter, Zynga said its “bookings,” which are sales recorded during the same three-month period, dipped four percent. Additionally, it said three million fewer people played Zynga games on a daily basis than in the previous quarter.

After the company’s updated IPO filing was released last week, critics have been dissecting the results and coming to the conclusion that the drop in bookings is a sign of things to come. So, is it?

Probably not.

In fact, the San Francisco social games company, which is seeking to raise $1 billion in the public markets, may be gearing up for its second wind.

In the first half of the year, Zynga launched only one major game — Empires & Allies — to break a five-month hiatus.

Since then, it has moved quickly, announcing two other major releases: Adventure World and Mafia Wars 2. In addition, it has launched a number of minor releases, including an expansion to FrontierVille, as well as Words With Friends, which was brought over to Facebook from mobile.

It has also launched two titles on Google’s new games network, and it is making a big announcement — called “Zynga Unleashed” — on Oct. 11, at a press event at its new headquarters.

Today, Zynga is looking a lot more like an entertainment company that must continue to deliver new hits in order to gain new players, much like a TV studio needs to produce new sitcoms in order to get more viewers. Practically speaking, if Zynga doesn’t release a new game, then it won’t see a lift in users.

While Empires & Allies was technically launched in the second quarter, it launched in June, so it would have only one month of results before the end of the quarter.

Given that it launched virtually no games for five straight months, the second quarter still performed fairly well.

In that quarter, Zynga’s revenue totaled $279.1 million, increasing 115 percent compared to the same period in 2010.

More to the point, the new titles it has launched since then have already garnered millions of new players.

Empires & Allies is attracting nearly five million daily active users; Adventure World is clocking 4.5 million; Words With Friends is bringing in four million; and FrontierVille’s Pioneer Trail is garnering 2.4 million, according to AppData.com. All told, that’s about 15 million more users, which exceeds the 13 million players who play CityVille, the most popular game on Facebook.

Getting more players is key because fewer than five percent of its players actually pay to play. The big question will be whether the new games will be enough to offset Zynga’s older games that are either stagnant or losing players.


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