Saturday, October 24, 2009

What should Zynga do next?

Ok, so it's not too difficult to look at a successful company and describe some of the smart things they've done and why they might be considered significant; much harder to say what they should do next. Here's my attempt to map out four next steps for Zynga:

1.) Enable interactions between games
The logical step on from cross-promotion - hinted at by their dynamic CTAs ("Did you milk the cow? Take a break with a milkshake in Café World!") - Zynga's portfolio of games is just crying out to be joined up at a more molecular level. What better way to increase reach and dwell time than to start create rich interconnections and dependencies between the games, enabling the pigs raised on your FarmVille farm to be dispatched to your Café World café (possibly via your Abattoir City slaughterhouse - you can have that idea for free guys ;-) You wouldn't necessarily need to own all the businesses yourself - your network of friends could form a mini cooperative (or cabal, should you be so inclined) with one venture supplying another (not hard to see how Mafia Wars might fit into this setup).

2.) Prioritise development of mobile apps
Zynga have already made a start with iPhone apps for four of their titles, but if I were them, I'd be inclined to bump mobile app development right to the top of my to do list. They wouldn't need to be Rolls Royce ports of the desktop browser games - pared down versions which enabled you to harvest your crops or take your dish off the stove would be sufficient at this stage. There's obviously huge potential for push notifications announcing calamity (or opportunity) in your game world and Apple allowing free iPhone apps to use in-app payments clearly presents some attractive revenue possibilities.

3.) Fill in the obvious gaps in its portfolio
Accusations of derivative / copycat games are rife in the social gaming space at the moment (Psycho Monkey has sued Zynga, Zynga has sued Playdom as well as a number of other developers) so Zynga would need to tread carefully in filling in some of the holes in its current portfolio. One of the most obvious gaps is pets, which are big business in the social gaming world, as Pet Society, Neopets, My Fishbowl, Animal Paradise and countless others will testify. If I was in charge of the 'what next?' list at Zynga, a pet game would be somewhere near the top...

4.) IPO (or get bought by EA)
Both have been rumoured, with the former probably more likely than the latter. Either way, the next 6 months look like a good time to capitalise on its rapid ascendancy and position as market leader. Who knows what the landscape will look like in another couple of years time?

Having said all that, they do seem to be doing ok without my advice... ;-)

1 comment:

iPhone Users said...

I agree with the point#2.
They should bump Mobile apps development, because worth it.

iPhone Users