You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zynga Exploring Subscriptions for Games as Revenue Soars

Zynga is “testing and exploring” bringing subscription services to some of its games, Bernard Kim, the president of publishing told Variety shortly after its quarterly earnings report hit on Wednesday.

The company’s revenue was $265 million for its first quarter, which ended on March 31. That’s up 27% compared to the same period last fiscal year. Those results were driven by “Merge Dragons!” and “Empires & Puzzles,” as well as “strong contributions” from racing title “CSR2,” “Words with Friends,” and “Hit It Rich! Slots,” according to the company.

During its earnings call, Zynga Chief Executive Officer Frank Gibeau noted that subscriptions will be a “very viable business model” for the company in the long term and in the near term that it may be a good fit for some games.

Kim told Variety that the company was examining the notion of a subscription service for games like “Words With Friends” and that it would deliver extra content to players.

“When it comes to Zynga we try to put our customers first,” Kim said. “We want to make sure we are testing it properly before we roll it out because once we do, we can’t just roll it back.”

Popular on Variety

Word With Friends” is one of Zynga’s five “forever franchises,” or game franchise that the company believes have a long shelf-life, fosters the sort of play that encourages daily play and earns more than $100 million a year in revenue. The other forever franchises are “CSR Racing,” Empires & Puzzles,” “Merge Dragons!,” and “Zynga Poker.”

The plan moving forward for the company is to try and identify and build new forever franchises. To do that, Kim said, the company will look to its own franchises and some of the IP the company now has access to for future games. That includes “Game of Thrones,” which the company just announced a slot game for, “Harry Potter,” and “Star Wars.”

The company’s top titles, along with its work on those new IP titles, underlines the company’s long-term shift from creating Facebook games, to titles that play on smartphones. Zynga’s recent purchase of Gram Games and Small Giant Games also underscores that shift.  Kim said the company’s primary focus right now is on three major areas: live services, building and buying new forever games, and investing in emerging and new markets.

While Kim said the company is excited about the growth and potential in the mobile games market, Gibeau said Zynga is unlikely to play any role in Apple’s recently announced Arcade subscription service.

Gibeau noted that the Arcade service is focused on premium games, and Zynga is a company that focuses on free-to-play. Kim echoed that sentiment.

Apple Arcade is going after an audience in the market that wants to finish games, playing them from start to end,” he said. “We love creative thinking like that, it brings tremendous exposure to the category of mobile gaming.

“We believe we are in a renaissance of mobile gaming and that in-app purchases and the app economy is still in its infancy.”

More Gaming

  • Riot Games

    Riot Games to Pay $10 Million to Settle Gender-Discrimination Lawsuit

    Riot Games, developer of “League of Legends,” will fork over at least $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of women employees alleging the company’s “bro culture” resulted in systemic gender discrimination. Terms of the settlement in the case, reached in August, were revealed in court documents filed last week in California [...]

  • Dreamscape_Dragon vr

    Dreamscape Gets ‘DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy’ VR Experience (EXCLUSIVE)

    Location-based virtual reality (VR) startup Dreamscape has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation to launch a new “How to Train Your Dragons” experience at its flagship Westfield Century City VR center in Los Angeles later this month. The 11-minute “DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy” experience allows up to 8 participants to hone their dragon-flying skills together, and [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Eases Restrictions on 'Simulated' Violence in Gaming Content

    YouTube announced a change to its content guidelines that will be more permissive in allowing depictions of violence in video-game content — as long as it’s not the sole focus of a video. Starting on Dec. 2, YouTube said, scripted or simulated violent content found in video games will be treated the same as scripted [...]

  • Disney’s Frozen 2 and Laika’s Missing

    'Frozen 2,' 'Missing Link' Lead 47th Annie Award Nominations

    Disney’s “Frozen 2” and Laika’s “Missing Link” led the 47th Annie Award nominations Dec. 2 with eight each and will battle it out for best animated feature along with DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” Netflix’s “Klaus” and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” when the ceremony is held on Jan. 25 at [...]

  • Black Friday Deals: Oculus Rift, PlayStation

    The Best Black Friday Deals for VR Headsets, Apps & Games

    Getting your own virtual reality (VR) setup at home used to be costly, requiring not only an expensive headset but also a full-blown gaming PC. Not anymore: The latest generation of all-in-one devices has made VR a lot more affordable, and deep discounts for the holiday season serve as another incentive to finally make the [...]

  • Beat Saber Acquired by Facebook, Company

    Facebook Buys the Maker of the Popular VR Game 'Beat Saber'

    Facebook has acquired Beat Games, the maker of the popular virtual reality (VR) music game “Beat Saber”, the social media giant announced Tuesday. Beat Games will operate as an independent studio under Oculus Studios, and continue to support “Beat Saber” on all existing platforms, according to a blog post penned by Facebook AR/VR director of [...]

  • Kris Bowers, Alan Silvestri, and Catherine

    Alan Silvestri, Cynthia Erivo, Bebe Rexha Among Hollywood Music in Media Award Winners

    The 10th annual Hollywood Music in Media Awards rewarded a diverse crop of composers, songwriters and music supervisors who contributed to film, TV and videogames over the last year, from scorers Alan Silvestri, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Marco Beltrami and Michael Abels to tunesmiths Cynthia Erivo, Bebe Rexha and the Avett Brothers to Quentin Tarantino’s longtime music sidekick, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content