zynga

Zynga

Gaming


Surprise!

Zynga decided to post its quarterly earnings a week early, and for once, the ailing game maker is faring better than Wall Street thought.

The company posted a loss of three cents per share on adjusted revenue — or bookings, as Zynga calls it — of $147 million. That’s up against analysts’ estimates of a loss of four cents per share, with bookings of $141.07 million. Huzzah for a slim beat! After-hours trading in Zynga shares was halted on release of the financials.

The bad news: The company is still bleeding monthly active users, down to 112 million MAUs — a 16 percent drop from the previous consecutive quarter. The optimistic ray of light in that number: 38.4 percent of those monthly users are coming from mobile devices, a key demographic for the gaming company in the future.

That’s especially important considering Zynga also just spent half a billion dollars snapping up NaturalMotion, the Oxford, England-based gaming startup responsible for such titles as Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing.

Zynga has high hopes for its future, too. The company has set its outlook for the full coming year at a total bookings range of $690 million to $730 million, surpassing analyst estimates that average about $630 million in bookings.

So why such a positive outlook? Aside from perhaps having rose-colored glasses, the company expects to port its flagship title, Farmville, to mobile devices in the second quarter of 2014, and Zynga expects it to do quite well. Also, Zynga’s Casino and Poker titles saw sequential growth for the first time in 18 months, precipitated by the reassignment of former chief revenue officer Barry Cottle to oversee the gaming division.

And that outlook is before you factor in NaturalMotion’s financial estimates. CEO Don Mattrick ranged the revenue of NaturalMotion’s 2014 business at $70 million to $80 million. (Zynga doesn’t plan to break out NaturalMotion separately in the future, but thought it’d be pertinent to do so this one time directly after the acquisition.) Add that on top of Zynga’s core full-year revenue, and that’s a guidance of $760 million to $810 million.

Not bad, though 2014 is time for the company to deliver on those promises of shifting to mobile and delivering a more diverse set of games.

Shares of Zynga popped in after-hours trading, up around 20 percent at $4.20.

We’ll be listening to the earnings call, which starts at 3 pm PT.




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