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Zynga shedding players, plans to shut down  The Ville

Zynga shedding players, plans to shut down The Ville

April 24, 2013 | By Kris Graft

Social games giant Zynga has reported quarterly profits thanks to strong performance of FarmVille 2, but the company is shedding players, paying and otherwise.

Monthly unique paying users decreased to 2.5 million during the third fiscal quarter ended March 31. That's down from 3.5 million paying users for the same quarter a year ago, a 30 percent decline.

Daily active users and monthly active users also declined year-on-year for the quarter. DAUs were down 21 percent to 52 million, while MAUs were down 13 percent to 253 million.

Zynga reported a quarterly profit of $4.1 million, a small gain but much better than the $85.4 million loss the company incurred for the same quarter a year prior.

Quarterly revenues were down 18 percent to $263.6 million.

CEO Mark Pincus in a statement called FarmVille 2 a "breakout hit" that has nearly 40 million players every month.

He called 2013 a "transition year," during which the company will take on the challenging mobile space, where Zynga is working to gain more traction. Pincus intends to "invest in developing the leading franchises and network across web and mobile platforms" for the company's 253 million monthly players.

Even though Pincus is optimistic -- and even though Zynga beat analyst expectations -- investors drove shares down 11 percent in after hours trading.

UPDATE: Pincus said in a conference call that the company would be shutting down social games The Ville, Empires & Allies, Dream Zoo, and Zynga City on China's Tencent network. Draw Something 2 is launching tonight.

Pincus also addressed the company's focus on "mid-core" games. The company aims to take game mechanics that are familiar to more traditional, avid players and make them more palatable for a wider social and mobile game market.

"I would say that of the teams that are focused on new [intellectual property] today, we probably have more resources investing in mid-core ... than any other genre. It's obviously the biggest and fastest growing part of our market, and you can imagine that's where we're investing the most as well.

"We're not trying to compete in the most hardcore places, even within mid-core. ... Even if [a game] is traditionally a more hardcore game style or genre, what we're trying to make it much more accessible."

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