David Ko, SVP of Mobile, Zynga
Q&A with MG Siegler, Writer, TechCrunch
LIVEBLOGGED – paraphrased, there may be things missed. Video to follow
MG: you’ve been there a month now [David is new at zynga] , have announced a new deal recently, do you want to discuss?
DK: last week was big, we announced acquisition called NewToy, they have created something unique, the best social gaming experience out there. Words with Friends and Chess with friends. one of post popular on ipad/iphone etc, use it for about an hour a day, so sticky.
MG: you are turning this into Zynga with Friends?
DK: it’s part of our mobile investment – renamed it and will keep it there, keep investing it there
MG: will they focus on mobile and then move the properties into the web
DK: huge opportunity, huge userbase we want to leverage, they have a great team, great IP that you will see soon,
MG: how about some of the other platforms?
DK: if you think about the vision of Zynga, we want to connect the world through games..we extend to any device or platform, have to create the right type of experience. we focused onthe iphone to date. we are looking to expand and to move to different platforms. we will take Mafia on to the Android platform later this month
MG: Nokia, Windows, Blackberry?
DK: we need to understand the limitations of devices..many of us create mobile experiences for smartphones…but it’s expanding. we see userbase increasing with international users, we need to look at what they are using..to offer seemless experiences to them
MG: you came from Yahoo, been there for 10 years, you were one of 3 big execs that left recently
DK: had a great time…great opportunities. can’t really comment as a few months since left…I wish them the best
MG: why walk away from the stuff?
DK: I met Mark many months ago, always been impressed with Zynga…spent time with them, loved what they were doing..truely thought they could connect the world through games.
MG: but they did not have a strong mobile presence…you came in to do mobile?
DK: huge opp for Zynga in mobile…the next social frontier for gaming. Zynga has huge subscriber base across the PC – 200m playing every month. Yesterday there were 45m daily active users, huge potential to bring that to mobile
MG: another was to diversify away from FB?
DK: less about diversifying away….core thing of company is partnerships.,,think about what the compnay is, about social, social means FB. does not mean that we don’t have other users wanting to access on other platforms..so Yahoo deal, MySpace deal. Primarily FB has been a tremendous partner
MG: what about FB and mobile? Connect and other services etc? are you working on some of the things
DK: if there are things we can leverage that makes it better and easier from user, then we are working on it. we look at best customer experience…seemless etc.
MG: looking at international markets, you have launched Farmville in Japan on mobile only
DK: yes, mobile first experience. part of focusing on international
MG: so why mobile only first?
DK: you will see difference in terms of regions. In Asia, many access first on mobile then move to a PC. we have to diversify away from some of the smartphones, to give right experience. not fully there, still work to do, but great start
MG: is Farmville on smartphones only?
DK: yes, but looking to extend it over time
MG: you have launched Cityville in multiple markets
DK: it has been the fastest growing game to date – 3m daily active users yesterday. 5 languages,. Shows we are thinking more internationally, thinking about user base. Our user base, more than 2/3rds are non-native English speakers.
MG: US is still the biggest country? France is huge? Is Asia the number 1 for expansion
DK: Yes..Zynga has 13 studios…5 are outside of US, based in Japan, China, India, Germany
MG: Poker is big in Tiawan…
DK: Poker was one of the first franchises we launched as a company and seen lot of success
DK: there are diffs in how we view mobile and PC..it is all about the experience. we do monetise a few different ways on mobile..some advertising etc, the goal is not revenue, but experience and user share.
MG: Rovio were blown away by advertising on Angry Birds? how big…
DK: so Newtoy does a lot of advertising, then they have a paid app that gets rid of that. we are experimenting..we don’t want to detract from the user experience, we want to optimise that.
MG: a lot has been made about revenues., there are a lot of guesses…mobile has to be a small part now?
DK: we are just getting started..as a private company we can focus on building an internet treasure, you can’t live without..
MG: so one of the things talked about a new dog (??) activated thing
DK: I think what he means, when you see the dog (the mascot) you think about something that is fun and social…that’s at a high level what we think about when we talk about dog activated?
MG: are you talking about cross platform communication?
DK: speculation and you will have to wait and see?
MG: how about the Chrome Webstore, and Mozilla web store? are you going to explore that?
DK: it is part of being on all platforms, there are many different things coming out..we are exploring..I can’t comment on speculation as there’s nothing announced yet
MG: so, Google has invested in Zynga..what is the relationship like? is that a key partnership
DK: we haven’t announced….can’t comment on it…we are very partnership centric company…[note, it was announced by Marrissa Mayer in an earlier talk, but guess not officially[
MG: so why has there not been a focus on Android? was that about fragmentation? is it a pain? why have you waited?
DK: android…there is a lot of fragmentation in mobile, we have recognised we need to build for android…we are releasing a title this month