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Zynga 'not for sale', Says Founder

Date: Nov 23 2010 06:21:38 Source: telegraph.co.uk Views:
KeyWord: Zynga, Mafia Wars, FrontierVille, CaféWorld, Yahoo

Zynga, the social network games developer behind the hugely popular FarmVille, is not for sale and is more likely float on the stock market, according to Mark Pincus, its co-founder and chief executive.

The company, which was founded only three years ago, is now reportedly worth $5.5 billion after its latest round of investment and employs over 1,300 staff.

Talking exclusively to The Telegraph in San Francisco, Pincus said: "Zynga is not for sale. That is not my goal. I want to build an international tresure; an entitiy which lasts in people's live for a long time.

"I cannot say Zynga will never be up for sale but we are more likely to IPO [go public] rather than be sold. Being sold is not my ambition. Going public makes it easier for investors to monetise your product."

It is understood that Google is one of Zynga's largest investors and recent speculation suggested that Google was lining up hefty bid to buy the whole company. However, Pincus, was resolute that it would be a more likely outcome that the company would float, rather than sell.

Zynga, which is one of the first major platforms to be built on top of Facebook, using the social network's API, announced the launch of its latest game, CityVille last week. The game, which is the company's seventh release to date and its third this year, allows players to build and become mayor of their ideal city. Zynga hopes that it will emulate the success of it most popular title, FarmVille.

A beta version of the game will go live globally in the coming weeks and is the first global release from the company, available in five languages from the start: English, German, Italian, Spanish and French. The game will be available only on Facebook and is free to play but users can also buy Facebook credits to purchase extra features. These 'virtual goods' provide more than 90 per cent of Zynga's revenue stream, with in-game advertising set to become a larger part of its profits in the coming months.

Pincus, an early Facebook investor, talking to The Telegraph in what is his first major UK interview since creating Zynga, said: "I want 'Zynga' to be become to a verb, like 'to Google' has. I want people to 'Zynga' each other and for the word to become completely aligned with gaming.

Thirty-three million people around the world have downloaded FarmVille, Zynga's most popular game to date, and currently there are 60 million active players.

The social gaming company also makes other games for Facebook such as Mafia Wars, FrontierVille and CaféWorld. Several of its games are also live on MySpace, but it concentrates most of its energies on the Facebook community. Last week it announced that it will launch FishVille and Mafia Wars across Yahoo!'s products, but not its most popular games, FarmVille and FrontierVille.

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