Zynga CEO Mark Pincus was a four-time entrepreneur with no experience in the game industry. Yet in five short years, he has created a game industry giant with dedicated users. Zynga has doubled its revenues this year. Today it holds the top five games on Facebook DAU: CityVille (10,110,000), CastleVille (8,100,000) and FarmVille (7,200,000), Texas HoldEm Poker (6,300,000) and Words With Friends (5,700,000).
Zynga filed its updated S-1 on December 2. It will issue 100 million shares of Class A common stock at prices of $8.50 to $10 per share and will list on Nasdaq as ZNGA. The underwriters are Morgan Stanley, BofA Merill Lynch, Allen & Company LLC, Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. Zynga’s initial public offering would be the largest IPO from a U.S. Internet company since Google’s $1.7 billion in 2004.
In Zynga’s “Our Vision for Play,” the company notes that games have grown to become the second most popular online activity in the United States by time spent, “even surpassing email.”
Today, Zynga has 227 million average monthly active users, or MAUs, in 175 countries. It has generated over $1.5 billion in cumulative revenue and over $2.0 billion in cumulative bookings since its inception in 2007.
Zynga sees the these three trends as key to its growth: growth of social networks, emergence of the app economy and rapid growth of free-to-play games. It had a gross revenue of $828,863 ending the third quarter on September 30, 2011, with a net income of $30,689.
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus told Reuters that he believes it can double the number of paid players which make up only 3% of users, or 227 million monthly users. These players buy virtual items such as houses and tractors.
The popular mobile game “Words With Friends” has gone up from 2 million to 10 million users in just one year. It got some extra attention last week from Alex Baldwin, who got kicked off an American Airlines flight for refusing to stop playing Words With Friends on his iPhone. He went on Saturday Night Live dressed as an American Airlines captain and issued an apology to himself.
BusinessWeek reported that people with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Zynga had already received orders to cover all the shares sold in its initial public offering.
Zynga aims to conquer the $9 billion virtual goods market, and is also looking to mobile game growth on Facebook, which accounts for 95% of Zynga’s revenue.