Major changes for social gaming giants

Major changes for social gaming giants

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 Totally Gaming
CFO David Lee has left Zynga with immediate effect

Social gaming rivals King and Zynga have both announced major developments, with the former being bought for $5.9bn (€5.4bn) while the latter has seen the resignation of its chief financial officer.

King, the creator of Candy Crush Saga, is being taken over by Activision Blizzard, the company behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, in a deal that will create a combined firm with more than half a billion monthly active users in 196 countries.

Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick said that the company was keen to broaden its reach and appeal to a larger demographic, most notably with more than 60 per cent of King’s players being female and using mobile platforms. 

“Our potential to reach audiences around the world on the device of their choosing enables us to deliver great games to even bigger audiences than ever before,” Kotick said.

The deal dwarfs even Microsoft's $2.5bn purchase of Minecraft creator Mojang, Facebook's $2bn takeover of virtual reality headset-maker Oculus and Electronic Arts’ $750m payment for developer PopCap.

Meanwhile, Farmville creator Zynga’s third quarter earnings and bookings were better than expected, with revenue at $195.7m, compared to $176.6m in the same period in 2014.

However, overall daily active users were 19m, down 21 per cent in the quarter from a year ago, and the company announced that it is to postpone the launch of two new games, ‘Dawn of Titans’ and ‘CSR2’, to 2016 as it “invests in future development” of the products.

Chief financial officer David Lee has resigned from the company, but no explanation for his decision was revealed. Lee joined Zynga in March 2014 and has spearheaded a $100m cost reduction programme, the company's transition to mobile and a $200m stock buyback programme.

Chief accounting officer Michelle Quejado will take over the role on an interim basis. Shares of Zynga have fallen 4.3 per cent over the past year.


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