Zynga player decline continues, original founder no longer chief product officer

Millions of dollars, millions of players, and a good old executive reshuffle: it's the latest Zynga financial report!

Don Mattrick and Mark Pincus, just chilling out.

Social giant Zynga has revealed its gloomy financial results for the first quarter of 2014, and the company's founder has announced he's stepping down as chief product officer.

"Mark Pincus has decided to move on from his operational role as Chief Product Officer at Zynga to focus on serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors," said former Xbox boss turned Zynga CEO Don Mattrick in a letter to employees.

Alongside the reshuffle, Mattrick also revealed that Zynga had 28 million daily active users for the quarter, a boost of 1 million from the previous three months. But the company has lost almost half of its daily players since this time last year, when it had 53 million of them.

How about monthly active users, then? 86 million this quarter, down from 150 million this time last year.

Mattrick, who was brought on as Zynga CEO in an attempt to reverse the company's declining fortunes, pointed to the growing success of Zynga Poker and Words with Friends.

"In Q1 our teams delivered a solid start to the year against our strategic frame of growing and sustaining our franchises, creating new hits and driving efficiencies," said Mattrick.

"We have established a strong base for 2014 and believe we are pacing well for a year of growth."

Mattrick says that the company spirits have been buoyed by the recent release of FarmVille 2: Country Escape, which has seen over 4 million installs since its launch.

"We are pleased with the team's execution and encouraged by the early indicators we are seeing," he adds.

In the midsts of all this, Mattrick also announced the hiring of former Microsoft man Alex Garden as President of Zynga Studios.

Garden, who also founded Homeworld and Company of Heroes developer Relic Entertainment, has been working in the games industry for over two decades. "I met Alex 25 years ago when he began his career working as a game tester for Distinctive Software, which I founded in 1982," said Mattrick. "He is an exciting hire for us as we focus on growing and sustaining our franchises, creating breakthrough entertainment experiences and developing more creative leadership across Zynga."

Overall, Zynga made $168 million in revenue, a 36 per cent drop from the same period last year. Zynga also made a net loss of $61 million for the last three months, down from a net income of $4 million.

Martin Gaston is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @squidmania
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

75 comments
Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

B-but I thought Farmville 2 was going to save them!

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

The band has started to play on the deck of the Titanic.

HAWKLANDER
HAWKLANDER

Next job for Don Mattrick will be at Nintendo !!!!!

catsimboy
catsimboy

Fingers crossed for their continued decline and eventual shutdown. Schadenfreude never felt so good. Maybe their next job can be on a farm where they'll be shocked when they don't get milk by tapping cows, they just get kicked in the stomach.

mattress805
mattress805

You can thank Mattrick for being forced to have to buy a Kinect with the Xbone. It was his baby and he thought Kinect was going to change the world. Ha ha

Moonco
Moonco

Good riddance, ya filthy animals!

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

Mistook the picture for a thumbnail of a video for a third installment of dumb and dumber:  Gold dipped balls edition.

fastharry
fastharry

as long as the caption does not say Don Mattrick at Microsoft...I'm a happy camper.

StHapns247
StHapns247

 They should adopt a F2P model as that is the future of gaming.

eternaldragoonx
eternaldragoonx

I hope all these crap mobile free to play developers go out of business and get aids.

homey_d_clown
homey_d_clown

Casual gamers loyalty to a game is limited, and they always have to be given a free version to try.

That is why core gamers made Rockstart a Billion on day 1, loyalty to the brand.

The only option Zynga has to survive is to move some of it's games out of the casual realm and into the next level, making games like Farmville more detailed, like a Sims game.

mattcake
mattcake

Move directors around all you like, won't matter. There's just more competition in the tedious, grinding game market now.

chuckles471
chuckles471

Don't stand next to Don Mattrick in a lightning storm.

Ice-Cube
Ice-Cube

And we're going "down, down down, downnn"

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

Zynga was held up as a success story for the new form of gaming that was all about social interaction and F2P. Its success cause the cancer that is F2P to spread to the more traditional types of games. A dead zynga will be a great message to the industry that this type of business does not pay in the long run. Then hopefully our passtime will be able to recover back to its former glory.

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

Well that comes as a surprise to nobody. If games stagnate, they lose players. If Activision has been changing Call of Duty slowly, Zynga has not moved at all.

svaubel
svaubel

Maybe you need to expand your services to beyond  just crappy pay-to-win games.

IMAHAPYHIPPO
IMAHAPYHIPPO

It's not anybody's fault inside the company. Zynga games have always been a fad -- the community of former-Wii players -- that were going to lose interest sooner or later. Now, it's later, and nobody gives a crap. There's no saving Zynga. Zynga was dead when they launched because they formed a company that catered to a wandering audience, and now that audience has wandered, and will continue to do so. Zynga is the Tomagatchi of the modern game era. Quite literally, in fact.

warriors30
warriors30

Great photo. The white background and the totally not fake smile makes him (Mattrick) look like an angel. 

Angel of SHIT!

Pewbert
Pewbert

Don Mattrick strikes again!

rickphoenixxx
rickphoenixxx

Don's teeth are trying to escape his gums....but wow he's huge in that photo!

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Moral of the story; casual gamers will only ever be casual, and most of which won't spend a penny.

Don't expect a loyal fanbase.

hardeddie
hardeddie

Since Wherever Don goes he will always bring a streak of bad luck, I wish he would join EA / Activision. He may accidentally save this industry without even realising it.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

Don Mattrick... with his touch of death.

ECH71
ECH71

I'm glad this is happening to them because of the "bang with friends" ordeal... These companies try to trademark everything so no-one has any creative freedom anymore.

neowarrior121
neowarrior121

dont they know? its simple......... satanic ritual of dom mattrick will save any company, the devils been trying to get his souls for years 

robbiejones
robbiejones

Man screws company, man "leaves" company, Man joins company for lot's of $$$$$$, and then man fails with company...Good work Don!!

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

Dominatrix .... hahahahaha ...wherever he goes ... all the ice melted

hystavito
hystavito

@Thanatos2k   I wonder if Mattrick will bail out before everyone else, like so many ship captains have done in recent years.

hystavito
hystavito

@homey_d_clown  I agree that casual gamers are less loyal and dedicated, the mob is fickle as they say :).  I'm not sure I agree that they can find success by trying to make less casual games though.

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@gamerno66666  Wow... no kidding. I always knew something looked odd about the two of them together. Didn't realize how similar they looked until now.

VakarianGirl
VakarianGirl

@hardeddie  Doubt it - Zynga was never going to be a company with stamina, anyways.  Test - hands up here who plays casual games like Farmville?

>Tumbleweed<

>Crickets<

19James89
19James89

@EasyComeEasyGo Don Mattrick is a great innovative character and he's created a modern art master piece with the Xbox One. 


Don Mattrick is to video games industry what the Arctic Monkeys are to the British music scene.

neowarrior121
neowarrior121

@19James89  19james89 you dare to not just sullie arctic monkey but the very music industry itself, to fix your statement dom mattrick is to games industry is justin bieber to the music industry.