Zynga is one of the successful slow burners of what we could describe as the Facebook age. Ten years ago we would have described it as a dot.com triumph but we’re in a different era now, one in which overnight success stories are unheard of and the businesses that survive need long term planning and finance. Zynga is an interesting example, perhaps best well-known for providing Poker and Farmville on Facebook.
Founded in 2007 as Presidio Media, the name was changed to Zynga shortly afterwards, anecdotally as a reference to founder Mark Pincus’ dog. It was well funded via venture capitalism almost from the start and Yoville, their first social media acquisition, was attracting millions of users daily.
It’s now a company which has devised dozens of games which are enjoyed by millions of users every month. It’s vast user-base enabled Zynga to go public in December 2011, raising hundreds of millions of dollars.
Of particular interest to us is Zynga Poker; it’s a free poker application played on Facebook and is currently the most widely used online poker platform in the world. That’s an impressive feat for a game which offers no money for the winners. Everyone plays for free and the only thing a player can win is even more free chips. So what’s the attraction? Well anyone who has played this game knows that the user interface is superb. It easily outdoes virtually every other online poker provider, including the ones at which the participants can and do win large sums of money.
Zynga Poker is thought to have around 40 million monthly users and even though it offers no cash prizes, it is one of the most influential poker sites around. In fact is this presence and influence which has led to much talk about Zynga offering a real cash website. The infrastructure is already there – it is possible to buy more chips if you really want to – and clearly the user-base is there. It would only take a small percentage of current players to convert to using real money for Zynga to become a major player in the online poker business. It’s a company which is clearly going places.