Zynga not confident about investing in mobile gaming yet

Zynga not confident about investing in mobile gaming yet
Playing the waiting game

Zynga's CEO Mark Pincus feels the company does not have the same assurance investing in mobile gaming as it does with their web platform social games.

Speaking at the MobileBeat conference in San Francisco, Mark Pincus said the company's focus remains on web games given the uncertainties of how the mobile platform will mature.

"We can't make that investment yet confidently in mobile. And I'm confident in the next couple of years we'll get to the point where we can. But it's not there yet and I think it's a little chicken-or-egg," he said.

This might seem a little odd given that Zynga bought US-based game studio OMGPOP for around $200 million (£120 million) in March this year.

"We've made a huge investment in mobile, organically building up teams and products and with one large acquisition," Pincus said.

"We're at the point where it's obvious that we all should be investing heavily. But I don't think we have that all-in confident moment. The flywheel isn't there in an obvious way."

In an interview with VentureBeat, Pincus spoke about Zynga's attempt at building a gaming experience across mobile and desktop, but how it did not sit down well with their users.

"We spent a huge amount engineering to build a totally synchronous gaming for FarmVille with different clients. Consumers hated us for it," he said, adding that they did have "some successes such as Words With Friends".

Valid concerns? Probably a business decision

But are Pincus' reservations valid? Game developer Kevin Glass from Coke and Code says Zynga's position is "understandable".

"They have a core business in the average home consumer to whom web games do not mean online games," he told us.

Pointing out that the current crop of consumers in the mobile arena are very different to average Facebook user, Glass says, "Investing too heavily in mobile games at the moment could cost them a lot given their current demographic is well out of place here."

"Zynga would be smart to wait till their player culture has moved onto the tablet/cell market."

Pincus also expressed his doubt over whether Adobe Air and HTML5 technologies will become accepted standards on the mobile platform. Glass says Adobe Air has had a poor showing in the mobile market but HTML5 and Javascript have already become standard.

"None of the technical reasons put forward make any sense – [I] wouldn't expect much else from the CEO. It's a business decision at the moment."

Via Reuters