Mobile game

(Interview Yonhap) Mobile gaming giant Zynga plans global expansion in South Korea


SEOUL, 09 July (Yonhap) – Zynga Inc., an American mobile gaming giant behind the hit title “FarmVille”, sees room for growth in South Korea and the wider Asian market in its drive to expand global.

Bernard Kim, president of Zynga Publishing, said the mobile game developer is monitoring Asian markets with its large portfolio of casual and free mobile games.

Zynga, known for games like “Toon Blast” puzzle-solving, launched “Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells” earlier this year in South Korea.

“We see a great opportunity, not only with Harry Potter, which has had great traction in Korea, but also with other games,” Kim said Thursday in a Zoom interview with the Yonhap News Agency. “We have Toon Blast, which is working quite well in Japan.”

Kim sees the global gaming market converging, noting the efforts of South Korean gaming companies, including NCSOFT Corp., to break into Western markets.

“I think the nature of the game continues to globalize,” he said.

As part of Zynga’s global push, the company has experienced robust growth over the past year, recording its highest quarterly revenue on record of US $ 680 million during the period January- March this year, up 68% year-over-year. The company, which has operations in more than 150 countries, said its revenue in markets outside the United States reached $ 268 million, up 67%.

Its growth has been fueled by a recent buying spree.

Zynga acquired San Francisco-based Echtra Games in March this year, as well as Peak, the Turkish developer of “Toon Blast”, for $ 2.1 billion in July of last year. Kim, who previously worked for global gaming giant Electronic Arts Inc., says the acquisitions have further bolstered its video game portfolio.

“When we bought Toon Blast as part of the Peak Games portfolio, we knew it was working fairly well in Asian markets,” the industry veteran said, hinting at other acquisitions to strengthen his presence in the region.

“We have a keen interest in Asia. We know that organic growth is a challenge in the market,” he said, citing his strong competition. “We are always curious about companies all over Asia.”

“We are not slowing down our inquisitive and aggressive nature when it comes to buying companies.”

Zynga’s appetite for acquisitions comes as the global mobile games market is expected to grow 4.4 percent year-on-year in 2021 to $ 90.7 billion, according to analytics firm Newzoo.

On the strength of its acquisitions, the mobile first company is also seeking to venture onto other platforms.

“We want to make cross-platform games, experiences that you can have on PC, consoles and mobile,” Kim said, citing Echtra’s expertise in cross-platform games.

Zynga has partnered with Lucasfilm Games to release “Star Wars: Hunters” for the Nintendo Switch console and mobile devices later this year.

“We just want to be where the biggest addressable market is,” Kim said. “Mobile is our main platform. But if gamers want a different kind of experience… we want to meet those needs.”

As for the South Korean market dominated by hardcore gaming, Kim recognizes its obstacles.

“The (Korean) market is very competitive. They browse content very quickly. They can spend maybe more hours or throwaway dollars to earn,” the industry expert said, recalling his experience with the local market. when he was leading EA’s partnership with South Korea. video game companies Nexon and Neowiz to launch the FIFA football franchise here.

But the competition is all too familiar for Kim who grew up in a Korean household in the United States.

“I think it’s part of our DNA to be so competitive.”

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