Does Facebook Have a New Best Gaming Friend?
Zynga (ZNGA), the poster child of the dot-com bust part deux, is heading towards $2 a share. It is losing yet another executive, this time Laurence “Lo” Toney, the general manager handling its charge into online poker.
And while FarmVille fades into history, it has some Finnish competition. The Finnish company Rovio, maker of Angry Birds, is doing a better job of brand extension: it has Star Wars fans the world over psyched up for Angry Birds Star Wars, a partnership with Lucasfilm.
Moreover, a company called Supercell has opened a San Francisco office, the New York Times reports. That’s to be closer to the two big companies it works with most often. It has Apple’s (AAPL) top-grossing iPad game. Its other new best friend is Facebook (FB), with whom it shares an early investor, Accel Partners.
A few months before Zynga went public and pushed toward $15 a share, Supercell released the sci-fi game Gunshine.net on Facebook. Last November, Supercell’s chief executive said, “we intend to get ahead of the curve and challenge the big guys … our next step is to widen Supercell’s reach by launching games that offer similar styles of rich game play, but with themes that have broader appeal.”
Zynga still is number one on AppData’s developer leaderboard for Facebook, with 329 million monthly active users. No-one else even comes close, as the next on the list is Microsoft (MSFT) with 62.2 million. Electronic Arts (EA) is number five with 39 million. Yahoo is ninth with 31 million. Rovio is 26th with 13.3 million. Supercell doesn’t make the list. Gunshine.net has just 160,000 monthly active users.
And it’s still Facebook’s moneymaker, directly generating 10% of its total revenue in the first six months of 2012, down from 12% a year earlier. Plus Zynga bought display ads accounting for another 4% of revenue. But Facebook lists it as a risk factor, saying it could fail to maintain good relations with Zynga.