原作者：Jon Jordan 译者：Willow Wu
当COO Matt Bromberg被问到在他工作的这段时间里，Zynga发生了什么样的变化（2016年Frank Gibeau成为CEO之后高层就大换血了）时，Bromberg回答说“我们的员工能够开开心心地工作了”。
Zynga将运营划分成三大主块。首先是公司已经发行的游戏，例如Zynga Poker和Words With Friends，尽管它们已经是十几年前的游戏了，但还是会继续更新。
Zynga在2017年11月发行了新版本的Words With Friends，这个版本可以依靠内购获得更多收益。之前的版本很大程度上是依赖广告收益。Zynga还邀请了Alec Baldwin出演新的游戏广告，在美国市场吸引新一批用户。2011年的时候，Alec Baldwin因为拒绝关手机而被赶下飞机，这就是他对Words With Friends的热衷程度。
Zynga维系成功的第二个支柱是并购活动。从2016年开始，Zynga累积花了10多亿美元收购像芬兰的Small Giants（部分股权）、土耳其的Gram Games以及Peak Games这样的公司。这意味着《帝国与谜题》、Merge Dragons等游戏都要归入到Zynga业绩的统计范围内。这些游戏的年收益都能超过1亿美元，并购交易无疑对Zynga近期的股市表现起到了非常大的积极作用。
随着并购策略开展近三年，事情也开始变得严肃起来——Zynga开始发行公司内部开发的游戏，首先是Game of Thrones Slots。在疯狂收购之前，Zynga的大部分收入其实都来自社交博彩游戏，人们经常会忘记这一事实。
Game of Thrones Slots是Zynga多年后推出的首款重磅博彩游戏。他们在前段时间宣布了几个知名IP的游戏改编项目，Game of Thrones Slots也是这其中打头阵的游戏。其它IP还包括《哈利·波特》《星球大战》。
这款游戏的暂定名是FarmVille 3 – Animals：繁殖元素来源于动物，角色扮演元素来自雇佣的农场工人。
When it comes to measuring success, money is a decent indicator.
For a publicly-owned company like Zynga, which is floated on the US Nasdaq stock exchange, perhaps it’s even the best measurement.
Certainly that’s what most Zynga shareholders think.
(Disclosure: I am one such, albeit a tiny one.)
Yet financial success is really just the end result of any company working out what its goals are, what value it can provide to its customers, and then implementing the plan.
In that context, it’s significant when Zynga C-level executives do their regular round of interviews following the company’s quarterly figures, they have a lot more to talk about than just the numbers, exciting as they are.
Indeed, when asked about how Zynga has changed during the time he’s been working at the company – there was a big management shake up when Frank Gibeau became CEO in early 2016 – COO Matt Bromberg comments ‘our people love to come to work’.
For the longest time, that wasn’t the case at Zynga, which endured years of declining Facebook sales and quarterly losses, combined with an alarming lack of operational rigor.
“Winning is a byproduct of teamwork,” Bromberg explains.
“We now have clarity of purpose and much better processes in place.”
The magic number
When Zynga breaks down its operations it does so into three main areas.
First up are the company’s existing games, such as Zynga Poker and Words With Friends, which despite each being a decade old (and more), continue to be renewed.
Zynga Poker recently teamed up with the World Poker Tour, enabling it to hook in-game events into real world championships and players.
Meanwhile Words With Friends was rebooted with a new app in late 2018, which enabled stronger IAP monetisation. Previously, the game was highly dependent on ad revenues.
It’s also receiving a new US marketing push with US celebrity player Alec Baldwin starring in a new ad.
Famously Baldwin was kicked off a plane back in 2011 for refusing to switch off his phone, such was his passion for Words With Friends.
The second pillar of Zynga’s ongoing success has been its M&A activity.
Since 2016, Zynga has spent well over $1 billion acquiring the likes of Finnish developer Small Giants, and Turkish companies Gram Games and Peak Games (parts of).
This means games such as Empires & Puzzles and Merge Dragons are now part of Zynga’s financial numbers. As each of these games generates over $100 million a year, such deals have played a big part of Zynga’s recent performance on the stock market.
Indeed, these companies are performing so well Zynga’s profits have been hit due to the additional earn-out payments it’s having to make as part of its acquisitions.
Broomberg says that’s a great problem to have.
“We have a unique approach to M&A,” he explains.
“We look really hard for a cultural fit with the companies we’re considering buying: a true spirit of partnership, and that’s paying off for us.”
And with $1.4 billion still available for future acquisitions, it’s a strategy that will continue to generate headlines in the coming months.
No wonder Zynga’s shares are up 180 per cent since Gibeau become CEO.
Bringing it all back home
But as the turnaround approaches its third year, things are going to get serious, as Zynga starts to release the internally-developed games it’s been working for.
The first is the just-launched Game of Thrones Slots.
Oft forgotten, but until its acquisition spree, the majority of Zynga’s revenues came from social casino games.
Indeed, when Gibeau took over as CEO, some commentators – including this one – argued the company should be split into casino and non-casino parts to maximise shareholder value.
Game of Thrones Slots is Zynga first big new slots games for a couple of years; also the first game to use one of the big external IPs it’s licensed. The others include Harry Potter and Star Wars.
“We’ve been pleased with the launch,” says Bromberg. “Social casino is a difficult market, but we’ve made the experience more social so people can play together.”
More, however, is riding on the success of Zynga’s other self-developed games. The Harry Potter match-3 game and the Star Wars action game from NaturalMotion are still too early to be discussed.
Zynga’s reboot of FarmVille is already in soft launch however.
“Yes, it’s a high profile game,” Bromberg says.
“We’re reimagining it for mobile, with more role-playing and breeding elements.”
Indeed, the working title for the game is FarmVille 3 – Animals: the animals provide the breeding and the farmhands you can hire provide the role-playing elements.
Bromberg is well aware of the challenge that faces FarmVille 3, though. After all, the original game launched in 2009, proving to be a smash hit on Facebook, when the social network itself was exploding.
“The world is certainly different from when the original launched,” he admits.
“A memory of that magic has to be recaptured but the game will get the time it needs.”
All the world’s a stage
But continuing that theme, the world is also very different from when Zynga itself launched in 2007 and floated in late 2011.
For one thing, thanks to its M&A activity, the company is going to continue to drive its annual and quarterly sales, while profitability is also on an upwards tick.
Structurally, what’s also significant is this once North American-centric company now generates a third (and growing) of its sales elsewhere. For that reason, it’s also much more balanced in terms of revenue from iOS and Android users.
Bromberg says “We’ve transformed from a US company into a global one.”
And in 2020, we’ll finally see just how deep that transformation goes.
Certainly if Zynga can turn some of its internally-developed games into the world beaters it’s acquired, then the best is yet to come, for staff, shareholders and players.
（source: pocket gamer ）