Tonight at the PandoMonthly event with Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, Sarah Lacy brought up the fact that many investors and pundits see Zynga as a structurally weak company. Lacy brought up the theories that Zynga is a hits-driven business, that it doesn’t understand mobile, and that it is too dependent on Facebook.
Unusually for the CEO of a publicly traded company, Pincus responded very directly to the criticisms brought up.
Addressing the mobile disadvantage that Zynga appears to have, Pincus stated that “people are on their Android phones and their iPhones and they want to know what else they can do,” opening up the door for casual games like Zynga. So far, the company has taken advantage of this, with 22 million daily active users on the company’s platform.
On the topic of being a hits-driven business, Pincus stated that “our network grows with big hits.” Which “could be a negative or a positive.” But where Zynga wants to move for the future, and what will help it avoid being solely hits-driven, the company wants to open up the network for other developers for the future. According to Pincus, “we can get further together than apart.”
Of course, these issues are small peas compared to the criticism that Zynga is entirely dependent on Facebook’s Platform (and vice-versa). Pincus has responded to this in the past, but this time he was very clear, stating that, “We’re too big; we can’t grow our market by attaching to someone else. We need to get to you.” Essentially, Zynga is working to grow beyond Facebook and Facebook, “has been great about that,” according to Pincus.
To summarize, Pincus wrapped it up by saying, “I think that we have proven that we can repeatedly bring the best social games to market and generate markets around these games.”
For the clip of Pincus elaborating on this, here’s the video from the event: