Zynga released its latest quarterly earnings number in an updated prospectus. Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat has a good overview of the numbers:
“Zynga reported net income of $12.5 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, down 54 percent from $27 million a year ago, according to anupdated S1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The performance isn’t stellar, but it’s not so bad as to suggest Zynga’s planned initial public offering is in trouble.
Revenue was $307 million in the quarter, up 80 percent from $170.6 million a year ago. In other words, Zynga is working harder for the profits it gets by generating a lot more revenue compared to the past.
In the second quarter, Zynga reported only $1.4 million in profits on $280 million in revenue, so the third quarter report is an improvement on a quarter-to-quarter basis.”
What’s interesting are the user metrics. From the filing:
“According to AppData, as of September 30, 2011, we had the largest player audience on Facebook, with more MAUs on Facebook than the next eight social game developers combined.”
In the previous filing, Zynga had as many users as the next 15 developers combined as of June 30.
“Our players are also more engaged, with our games being played by more than 58 million average daily active users, or DAUs, worldwide as of September 30, 2011.”
That’s down from 60 million at the end of June. And the quarter included the release of two new games: Empires & Allies and Adventure World. Also, monthly average users fell from 232 million to 230 million in the quarter.
“According to AppData, as of September 30, 2011, our games were played by more DAUs than the next 14 social game developers combined.”
That number is down from 30 at the end of June.
So, as Takahashi notes:
“Zynga is working harder for the profits it gets by generating a lot more revenue compared to the past.”
The good news, as Zynga prepare for an IPO in the next few weeks, is that it’s coaxing more revenue out of fewer players. And Zynga has a big pipeline of games coming. That includes CastleVille, which will launch in the next couple of weeks.
The CastleVille release is the latest in Zynga’s “Ville” franchise that includes FarmVille and CityVille.
“This is really built on the shoulders of the games that came before it,” said Bill Jackson, the Zynga creative director who led a team based in Dallas that built the game. ”It’s built on the shoulders of giants.”
Jackson was giving me a preview of the games a few days ago. And the quality is indeed impressive.
CastleVille is set in Medieval times and has many elements that will be familiar to Zynga players. In this case, the goal is to build the castle of your dreams by engaging in a series of quests. A preview of the game demonstrated how Zynga continues to push the edge in terms of graphics as well as music, which includes the use of a full symphony to create the soundtrack.
Where the game pushes into new territory is in its expanded use of narrative. There is a story at the heart of it that players can choose how they follow, rather than having quests or goals dictated to them as in previous games.
At its heart, CastleVille remains a social game, but it also shows how Zynga is moving toward creating massively multiplayer experiences. The question now is whether the rising production values and the evolving game experience will draw new players as well as longtime Zynga fans.