对于Zynga来说，从Facebook中独立出来的最大希望在于iOS和Android，在这里，谷歌和苹果也都创造了快速发展且引人注目的游戏生态圈。而今年开始，Zynga接连遭遇了挫折，如Storm8的《Farm Story》和Playforge的《Zombie Farm》打败了其大热游戏《FarmVille》，来自西伯利亚的开发商也打败了排行榜常胜冠军《Zynga Poker》。
但是经过逐步的优化，通过收购《Words With Friends》开发商Newtoy以及发行《Dream Zoo》的行动都让我们看到了Zynga翻身战的效果。在《Dream Zoo》的推动下，Zynga在Android和iOS平台已经拥有了1300万的日活跃用户，这真的是一个很惊人的数字。虽然没有足够的数据支持，但是Zynga在手机设备上的日活跃用户可能已经大大超过其他开发商（游戏邦注：除了Rovio Mobile之外，后者声称自己在所有平台上的日活跃用户高达3千万）。
Zynga已经在欧洲和亚洲建立了工作室，但仍Facebook仍是其发行游戏的首要平台。例如，Zynga最新发行的3款游戏《CastleVille》，《Mafia Wars 2》以及《Empires & Allies》在Facebook上发行的第一天便同时推出10种不同语言版本。但亚洲社交网站最近才开始发行Zynga的早期游戏，而从某些情况看来，这些游戏并不算成功。
据报道，Zynga Japan（由前Tecmo Koei首席执行官Kenji Matsubara领导）在日本社交网站Mixi中发行了《FarmVille》和《Treasure Isle》的日本版本，并即将在Facebook外的其它网站发行更多游戏。Zynga在中国北京也设立了工作室，并开发了一款中国版的《CityVille》，称为《星佳城市》并在腾讯的开放平台发行，分布在腾讯朋友和Q-Zone的游戏中。但是在这些平台上却已经拥有许多城市建设游戏了。Zynga北京工作室创建于其收购的XPD Media，而这家公司目前也主要面向西方市场。
帮助Zynga获得新生的第三种方法便是那些具有替代性的平台，如Google+。当Facebook的早期竞争对手，如MySpace相继衰弱时，Zynga选择将游戏撤离这些平台，而转向其它网站。例如，Google+已经拥有2款Zynga大受欢迎的游戏–《Texas HoldEm Poker》和《CityVille》，虽然没有明确数据表明这些游戏在该平台的成绩是否如Facebook那般出色，但是越来越多开发者选择在此发行游戏就已足够说明G+的价值。
为了早日脱离Facebook，Zynga甚至准备推出属于自己的游戏平台，Zynga Direct（亦称为Project Z或者Z-Live）。但Zynga Direct还是绑定了“Facebook Connect”功能（游戏邦注：网站为了使自己更加社交化，在首页加入“login with facebook”按钮，这样用户可以不用注册而直接通过已有的Facebook帐户来加入该网站）。但是同时，玩家即使没有Facebook帐户也能够在Zynga Direct中玩游戏，这也是他们走向独立的重要一步。不过我们现在暂不可得知独立的Zynga平台需依赖于多少现有的Facebook玩家，能够吸引多少手机用户的关注——我们甚至不知道Project Z是否会在2012年问世。
开发者开始针对于这些改变做出调整，尝试一些全新的发展领域。例如Zynga竞争对手EA和育碧将视频游戏与社交游戏结合在一起（例如，《模拟人生社交版》、《Ghost Recon Commander》），育碧等公司也开始探索其它媒体形式，如根据电视节目改制内容，为新社交游戏创造更多的吸引力。而一些中端和小型游戏开发商也创造了一系列细分市场的社交游戏，获得了大量的忠实玩家，其游戏盈利性甚至超过了Zynga游戏。
Zynga在过去一年中也积极探索这三大新领域：将手机游戏《Words With Friends》推向了社交平台，同时借助主流传媒品牌和名人效应（游戏邦注：例如，与歌手LadyGaga在《FarmVille》等游戏中展开营销合作），提升原有游戏的粘性。Zynga也发行了一些新型游戏，如策略战斗游戏《Empires & Allies》。在2012年，Zynga可能会继续执行这些方法，并且可能会将自己从手机领域或国际市场中吸引到的新用户引入Facebook或者自己的游戏平台。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，拒绝任何不保留版权的转载，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
What Does Life After IPO Look Like For Zynga?
With shares dipping 5%, Zynga’s $1 billion initial public offering Friday shows that there’s still a long way to go for the company that legitimized free-to-play social games in Western markets.
Following South Korea’s Nexon, Zynga is the second initial public offering from a gaming company in the last week that has seen its shares dip below the initial price. Unlike coupon site Groupon, which is still trading above its offer price, both Zynga and Nexon have comparable publicly-traded companies like video game publishers Activision, EA, and Ubisoft, against which revenue and profit multiples can be benchmarked. (Nevermind the fact that Zynga is profitable and Groupon is not.) Given that those companies have struggled to maintain investor in the last three years as confidence as mortar-and-brick retail sales dip, it’s easier to understand how Zynga is facing skepticism over more than just its free-to-play model. On top of that, uncertainty about the stability of the European Union has rattled investors in broader equity markets.
The consolation from Zynga’s day-one performance may be that the developer and its underwriters priced the offering effectively enough that the company didn’t leave money on the table for investors to pocket by immediately turning around and selling shares.
The real question is, where to next? The key to life after IPO for Zynga will be growth — on mobile, in international markets, and on alternative social game platforms outside of Facebook.
Mobile: Will There Be a Zynga of iOS or Android?
The most promising opportunity for independence from Facebook lies on iOS and Android, where Google and Apple have built attractive, fast-growing ecosystems for the same kind of games that are the heart of Zynga’s original business. Zynga started the year as an underdog with Storm8′s Farm Story and Playforge’s Zombie Farm beating the companion to its blowout hit FarmVille and a group of Siberian developers running circles around their poker app.
But with gradual optimization, a savvy and cheap acquisition of Words With Friends-maker Newtoy, and a promising launch in Dream Zoo have helped Zynga come around. It has 13 million daily actives on Android and iOS — a number that is sure to grow with the fracas around Alec Baldwin’s addiction to Words With Friends. Although there is no data to know for sure, Zynga probably has more daily active users on mobile devices than any other developer except for Rovio Mobile, which says it has 30 million daily actives across all platforms.
In 2012, we’ll find out if that becomes a big enough business to help the company diversify outside of Facebook in a meaningful way.
Ballpark figures have us putting high-grossing iOS games at between $1 and 3 million a month and there are several publicly traded mobile gaming companies that pulled in between $7 and 19 million in the quarter ending in September. That gives us a handful of privately-held companies with similarly-ranked games that are likely bringing in between $50 and 100 million in annualized revenue.
At this point with six titles in the iOS top grossing 100 in the U.S., Zynga is probably one of those. Then you have to consider that Android and iOS may be poised to have a larger combined footprint than Facebook in the next 12 months. The two platforms have 450 million cumulative device activations or sales behind them. (That number doesn’t deduplicate consumers who have replacement devices.)
One drawback, however, with mobile platforms is that neither Android or iOS seems structured to produce a winner-take-all environment in the way that Facebook has been. Apple certainly isn’t going to sign a five-year agreement guaranteeing Zynga the same kinds of advantages and growth targets that Facebook has. Plus, a variety of games can flourish on the iPhone from casual, resource management games to console-quality RPGs and first-person shooters.
International: Looking Toward Asia
Zynga is also starting to experiment with pushing its titles abroad into Asia. But those markets are extraordinarily competitive with homegrown incumbents and very different rules and regulations. This is especially true in China, where Facebook is banned and Zynga has had to go with Tencent instead. (Not that Tencent is unattractive – its network of platforms boasts 700 million monthly actives to Facebook’s 850 million and the company told us in September that its top title is earning $1.6 million per month.) Sina Weibo, the new social networking darling that has quickly captured China’s white collar and college educated class the way Facebook originally did, is only just beginning to build its third-party platform.
South Korea and Japan also have a very mature social and mobile games industry. To succeed there, Zynga will need local studios and hyper-localized versions of its core franchises. It may even need to launch completely new franchises, as Zynga’s current wheelhouse of games covers genres that are already saturated on Asian networks like city-building and farming. Other Zynga games, like FrontierVille (a.k.a. Pioneer Trail) or CastleVille, would probably be too hard to adapt to an Asian audience given the heavy Western cultural influences in both games.
So far, Zynga has established studios in Europe and Asia but we still see the company relying primarily on Facebook for distribution. For example, the developer’s last three major launches — CastleVille, Mafia Wars 2, Empires & Allies — were all localized in more than 10 languages on Facebook from day one. Meanwhile, social networks in Asia are only just now getting releases of older Zynga games and in some cases, those games are failing.
Case in point: Zynga Japan — currently led by former Tecmo Koei CEO Kenji Matsubara — reportedly sunsetted both FarmVille (Farmvillage) and Treasure Isle (Treasure Island) on Japan’s Mixi social network and has yet to make any major game announcements for networks other than Facebook. In China, where Zynga has a studio in Beijing, the developer launched a version of CityVille called Zynga City on Tencent’s Open Platform, first with the Pengyou and Q-Zone game networks. But this game is one among many city-building games. Zynga’s Beijing studio, formed through the acquisition of XPD Media, is also more Western-facing for now.
As far as we know, Zynga has made no moves onto other international social game networks like Orkut or VK.net. The developer has made acquisitions in Europe, but hasn’t formally announced a regional office to oversee expansion in the region.
Alternative Platforms: Will Google+ Work?
The third area of new growth could be on alternative platforms like Google+. While early Facebook rivals like MySpace have declined so much so that Zynga has pulled its games off those platforms, other networks have been gaining traction. For example, Google+ already has two of Zynga’s larger franchises — Texas HoldEm Poker and CityVille. We don’t have any data though on how well those games are actually doing compared to Facebook, but the increasing number of social game developers launching on the platform suggests that G+ may be viable.
Zynga is also trying to grow its own platform off Facebook by launching a games platform, Zynga Direct (also called Project Z or Z-Live). But we see Facebook’s influence there too, as Zynga made an effort to point out the service’s integration with Facebook Connect at its Unleashed event this fall. However, it may be possible to play Zynga games on Zynga Direct without a Facebook account, which would be another step toward independence. The success of an independent Zynga platform depends on how much of its existing Facebook and mobile audience the developer can take with it when the service launches — and we don’t even know if that will be in 2012.
Facebook: Is it still possible to grow?
Facebook — Zynga’s greatest ally and number one weakness — is the one place where future growth is largely out of Zynga’s control. As a games platform, the social network no longer provides developers an ecosystem that can consistently sustain rapid growth. Though new social games still continue to launch on the platform, we’re not seeing the kinds of traffic Zynga enjoyed on Facebook in 2008 and 2009. Rising costs in development and user acquisition have led some to believe that the platform is no longer a place where new developers can find success by copying what Zynga has done in the past.
Developers’ strategies on the platform are starting to adapt to these changes, which could open up new growth areas. For example, Zynga rivals EA and Ubisoft have used it to leverage major video game franchises by creating companion and standalone social games married to those franchises (e.g. The Sims Social, Ghost Recon Commander, etc.). Ubisoft and others are exploring licensed media properties like TV shows as means of generating traction for new social games. Lastly, mid-market and small developers are producing niche genre social games with very loyal audiences and much higher monetization rates than Zynga’s games.
Zynga has explored all three of these areas with its game releases in the last year: The company has used the Words With Friends franchise to launch a growing companion social game. It also experimented with content releases for major media brands and celebrities to drive engagement in its existing games. Zynga has also launched some games in new genres, like strategy combat game Empires & Allies. Zynga will likely experiment more with these approaches in 2012, perhaps even migrating new users gained in mobile and international markets back to Facebook or onto its own games platform.（source:insidesocialgames）