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CEO: Zynga’s new game will appeal to women, casual gamers

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Zynga's newest game is Hidden Chronicles.

Updated: February 7, 2012 8:22AM



In his first interview since the IPO, Zynga CEO and Chicago native Mark Pincus talked about the development of the game and how it could expand the company’s reach, which already includes more than 220 million monthly users, according to AppData.com. (Zynga shares closed at $8.91 a share Thursday, below the initial $10 IPO price.)

Q: How do you bring social elements into a game genre that historically has been a solo experience?

A: We have some social twists that let you interact with your friends’ game boards, so you can hide objects or gifts for your friends. (We added) light competition, leaderboards, time-based play and ways to work with your friends to get through the puzzles.

Q: Was there any strategy in making this the first new game to come out after the IPO?

A: Not really. We wanted to do (the IPO) at the time that was right in the company life cycle. We spent the last two years investing in studios and core technologies and processes to be able to have a more consistent cadence of new game launches. What you are seeing starting in the fourth quarter is the beginnings of that.

Q: How else does this game enhance the Zynga portfolio?

A: We think that this game appeals to a more casual audience and a more female audience. We are at the beginning of this massive shift to free gaming. And we think that free gaming can be a new medium on the level of TV. So we are interested in taking all of the major categories that people have loved for years on PC and console and making those games available in a way that is free, accessible and social.

Q: Any other developments we can expect in the coming weeks?

A: We are in the biggest new-game-launch cycle in the history of our company. These are the culminations of investments we have been making the last two years. I can’t comment on specific launches, but I think you should expect to be hearing from us soon and often.

Q: That could be a signal to those who think the IPO didn’t go as well as some would have wanted.

A: We are measuring our progress in years, not days. We want to see play become a really mainstream activity, and we think it is on its way. We feel confident that business story will unfold, and people will understand the story of virtual goods and social gaming a lot better in the coming years.

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