Zynga is not loosing steam when it comes to entering 2012 with a whole new lineup of games for its users to get addicted to.
Its only four weeks into the year and Zynga has just brought its third new game of the year out to the public. The latest game announced to go live, in beta, Thursday is Zynga Bingo. This game follows the San Francisco's latest strategy of taking popular games that are fairly familiar to people and digitalizing and socializing them. In the past we have seen Zynga recreate Hangman into Hanging with Friends, change a Boggle concept into Scramble with Friends, reinvent a hidden item picture into Hidden Chronicles and now we have the latest addition to the Zynga Casino -- Zynga Bingo.
Currently, the game is in private beta but will be rolling out to the public soon.
Zynga Bingo works similarly to the way an ordinary bingo game workswhile incorporating the game play strategy used in Zynga Poker. As numbers are announced in the game, you check those that match on your card -- and the first player is the won that gets a BINGO pattern first.
The social element of Zynga Bingo is that you can compete in themed bingo rooms, against friends, or other random players on Facebook simultaneously.
As for Bingo room themes, there’s Vegas Lights, Pirate’s Paradise, and even a FarmVille-themed room. Winning more tickets allows players to unlock secret rooms as well.
Players can compete with up to six cards at once -- encouraging people to eat up those virtual credits and keep Zynga investors excited by revenue growth.
How Zynga Bingo fits in the big picture
Zynga first announced the Bingo option as a part of the Casino house of games (joining the popular Zynga poker) back in October.
This information came concurrently with the talks that Zynga would be rolling out a slew of new games, some of which we have seen, and would start to run more independently or parallel to Facebook rather than tied exclusively to the company.
With Zynga announcing its own gaming platform, Project Z, to offer a one-stop-shop location to play their social games, the company is adding value and much-needed autonomy.
While on Facebook, mobile and Google+, users have to individually download or sign up for games, with lots of opportunities to divide their time by playing games made by competitors, Project Z will allow the company to hold on to a captive audience. Nothing could be better than driving people to a website that has no risk of the user choosing another brand to play on. This move to maintain a captive audience spells more traffic, advertising dollars and possibly virtual good revenue -- if the company goes down that road.
Zynga made its first move off the Facebook platform last year by adding mobile applications for some of its games, including Words With Friends, Hanging With Friends and the Zynga Poker.
This mobile adaptation of the social games made popular was enough to cause an initial buzz that Zynga could survive without Facebook, but currently those applications are free to download from iTunes App Store. Zynga also had more monthly average users on Facebook than the next 15 developers according to AppData.
Social gaming is a force to be reckoned with
From Zynga's FarmVille and CityVille to EA's The Sims, millions of people are participating in social gaming online and growth in the industry is expected for over the next few years, but the rate of growth look like it will be slowing.
An industry report by IBISWorld, released in November, estimates that social gaming revenue will increase nearly 25% annually for the next five years. As of June, social gaming was clocking in $4 billion annually and is expected to reach $11.3 billion by 2016.
As more social platforms beef-up their social gaming networks and groups, like Zynga, put additional effort on growing their own websites, the usership is expected to respond to the investment.
A lot of investors and industry analysts will be waiting to see whether this onslaught of new games and content will help increase confidence in the company's earning power. The company is expected to deliver Q4 earnings near February 14, and Zynga’s stock has been tiptoeing around its IPO price without much of a bump.
Zynga's stock (NASDAQ: ZNGA) was trading near $9.30 on Thursday, down 70 cents from its December debut. Hopefully for Zynga, all of these changes to its system will result in more usership and revenue.