It’s the silent success story of modern gaming. It’s growing. It’s bigger than you realise and it becomes more influential every day. And it believes video games should be free.
That’s the realisation that could well this morning be hitting the industry’s top level execs right in the face following the publication of a letter sent by Zynga to potential shareholders following its filing for an IPO.
Zynga itself currently boasts a workforce of around 2,000 strong. Its games have attracted a global user base of some 148m people across 166 countries, combining to produce some 232m MAUs.
A transformative power? Perhaps. But what does it mean for traditional publishers when companies like Zynga are telling potential shareholders that free games are the future?
"Games should be free. Free games are more social because they’re more accessible to everyone," the statement from CEO and founder Mark Pincus, published by Industry Gamers, reads.
"We’ve also found them to be more profitable. We have created a new kind of customer relationship with new economics—free first, high satisfaction, pay optional. This model aligns shareholder value with delivering the best player experience."
The move to file for its IPO has been long expected. How keenly it is adopted by shareholders will be a subject of intense fascination for the industry.
"By offering our shares to the public we hope to enable Zynga to invest more in play than any company in history," Pincus added.
"To accomplish this, we will continue to make big investments in servers, data centers and other infrastructure so players’ farms, cities, islands, airplanes, triple words and empires can be available on all their devices in an instant. We will also continue to fund the best teams around the world to build the most accessible, social and fun games.
"While I’m humbled by the size of the audience we enable to play today, we’re just getting started. We’re thinking every day how much more accessible, social and fun our games can get.
"My kids decided a few months ago that peek-a-boo was their favorite game. While it’s unlikely we can improve upon this classic, I look forward to playing Zynga games with them very soon. When they enter high school there’s no doubt that they’ll search on Google, they’ll share with their friends on Facebook and they’ll probably do a lot of shopping on Amazon.
"And I’m planning for Zynga to be there when they want to play."