Zynga, the embattled social gaming company, is making news again. It has paid 527 million dollars for NaturalMotion, a mobile game maker. While a lot of critics are saying that this was too much money and too little too late for a company that is slowly dying, optimists in the industry are saying that this is precisely the kind of move Zynga needs to make to completely transform itself from Facebook app-based social gaming company to a company that would be relevant in today’s games landscape. It appears that the games landscape has escaped Zynga’s grasp. If you are to ask people several years ago which company had a good grasp of where games are evolving, you would probably have gotten a near unanimous decision. The answer would have been simple. The answer would have been Zynga.
Well, in what could only be a testament to how fast technology changes, thanks to the launch of the Apple iPhone, mobile games is now the new paradigm in gaming. Why? First of all, it is growing. We are not just talking about anemic or mediocre growth. It is exploding. It is, in fact, mobile is exploding so fast that traditional computing devices are just shrinking. This has everyone from Intel to Microsoft and all other traditional hardware players shaking in their boots. The world is changing and it’s going to be a mobile world. 2014 and beyond is going to take us deeper and deeper into mobile interactivity. At this stage in the game, mobile games space is already worth 13.2 billion dollars globally and that is just going to get bigger. Unfortunately, Zynga is still in transition and a big part of its DNA is still stuck in a desktop Facebook app land. This DNA, of course, takes the form of mental paradigms and old habits. It has to morph quickly and we compliment the company for paying 527 million dollars for NaturalMotion.
Is it too much money? Well, if your company is dying, you gonna have to step it up. It appears that Zynga’s managers and executives took the bull by the horns and made the necessary move. Will this be too little too late? Well, it remains to be seen. A lot is riding on the new CEO, Don Mattrick, to turn things around and quickly.