Hungry, hungry Zynga picks up MarketZero team

Ronny Kerr · April 5, 2011 · Short URL:

Founders behind migrate to the biggest social gaming company

Will this social gaming company’s hunger ever be satiated?

Zynga is announcing Tuesday that it has acquired the team behind MarketZero, a self-described “specialized software think tank” based in Austin, Texas. The company, whose business is not being acquired by Zynga, operates a poker ratings and statistics site called

Though Zynga hasn’t stated this explicitly, it would make a lot of sense for MarketZero’s founders--Gustavo Abdala, Amir Elaguizy, Nir Leibovich, Timothy Sullivan and Jason Wang--to help further develop Texas HoldEm Poker, one of Zynga’s most popular titles. Bested only by the company’s newest, CityVille, and the all-time classic FarmVille, Zynga Poker sees around 37 million monthly active users, according to data from All Facebook. If you look at that data, however, Poker seems to be losing users every day.

Zynga refuses to let the acquisition spree end. The gaming studio’s eleventh purchase in less than a year, MarketZero is in good company:

  •     XPD in Beijing
  •     Challenge Games in Austin
  •     Unoh Games in Tokyo
  •     Conduit Labs in Boston
  •     Dextrose AG in Frankfurt
  •     Bonfire Studios in Dallas
  •     Newtoy Inc. in McKinney, Texas
  •     Flock team
  •     Area/Code, New York
  •     Floodgate Entertainment

Today’s news follows a big one from yesterday: Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO and co-founder of DreamWorks Animation, was named the sixth member of Zynga’s board of diretors. If this wasn’t apparent already, Katzenberg’s nomination clearly shows that Zynga has bigger ambitions than just being the largest and wealthiest social gaming company in the world; it wants to be a global entertainment company.

Of course, there’s something more substantial fueling these endless acquisitions and grand ambitions for world domination. Zynga is reported to have raked in $850 million in revenue in 2010, only the company’s third full year in operation, tripling revenues from the year before. Its profit was about $400 million, matching Google’s net income in 2003, which was the company’s sixth year of business.

When success is roaring that epically, one can’t just sit back and enjoy the sunshine. Zynga is a smart company and is pushing its business further and further.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit