Mobile Mavens

Mobile Mavens: Reactions to Take-Two's acquisition of Zynga

Industry responds to $12.7 billion acquisition

Mobile Mavens: Reactions to Take-Two's acquisition of Zynga

Take-Two's acquisition of Zynga has an inescapable gravity. Not only the highest acquisition in the games industry to date, eclipsing Tencent's 81.4 per cent acquisition of Supercell, but one that immediately establishes Take-Two as one of the most preeminent global mobile players. That gravity has rippled across the mobile games industry, and reaction, speculation, and analysis is rife.

PocketGamer.biz asked leading industry voices in the mobile games market for their views on the Zynga acquisition, and what will follow.

David Yin CEO Storms

David is currently the CEO of Storms, a gaming startup invested in by Singtel, AIS & SKT, with a focus on game publishing and an instant gaming platform.

David was recently Head of Business Development - Google Play Apps and Games and was responsible for acquiring, driving and building a pipeline of Android apps and games in SEA & Australia. Additionally, David led the Google Play Start-Up program in SEA & ANZ working closely with High Potential Startups and VCs in the region.

David currently advises & mentors Startups in the region through various programs including 500 Startups, Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singapore Management University, Unilever Foundry SEAA, Antler, Found 8, Landing Pad, Skala & Fishburners Australia. David is also an experienced Angel Investor.

Prior to Google, David was GM of Global Developer Alliances with Vserv and headed developer & publisher partnerships globally, engaging with mobile app developers/publishers and spearheading multiple developer/publisher initiatives. He was part of the Global Senior Leadership Team and reported to the CEO/Co-Founder.

David has spent over 6 years at Nokia, with the last role being that of Head of Ecosystem & Developer Experience (EDX) - Mobile Apps Monetisation. Additionally, David has over 10 years of global and Southeast Asian experience in the telecommunications industry, ranging from strategic to commercial roles at Vodafone, Orange, Sing-Tel Optus and Capgemini.

He is a Australian Chartered Accountant and holds an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW)

Skills/Experience

  • Business Development - Mobile Apps & Games
  • Entrepreneurship/Start Ups
  • Mobile Advertising
  • Go-To-Market/Launch of Internet Services
  • Sales & Strategy
  • Mobile Services / Ecosystems expertise
  • Team management

Take-Two Interactive’s acquisition of Zynga is an interesting announcement to start this year with. Beyond highlighting how the potential growth opportunities that free-to-play mobile games offer is increasingly being recognised by established game publishers, this acquisition indicates how M&A is viewed by publishers as a means to accelerate their expansion into other platforms.

Diversified audiences, bright talents, and meaningful intellectual properties are the keywords here – these factors make the investment opportunity worth taking up.

I am excited to see how this announcement will further enable cross-play games, with more PC and console titles being able to be played on the go, following the likes of Battlefield and Valorant that are expected to be coming to mobile this year, and vice versa.

Roman Garbar Marketing Director Tenjin

I remember roughly one-and-a-half years ago when Zynga acquired hypercasual developers Rollic for more than $168 million. That seemed huge at the time. And now it’s Zynga’s turn to be acquired for a mind-boggling sum.

It’s fantastic news for the entire mobile industry. You can’t ask for a better start if you’re a mobile studio founder. I’m not sure if anyone saw this coming though. This news sets a loud example for PC- and console-focused companies that want to find a way to get into mobile (and most of them already want that). It’s hard to find a bigger brand in video games than Take-Two Interactive, so I won’t be surprised if they will try to replicate what they have done, but with companies smaller than Zynga.

Putting this all into context with other industries, Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion. Unequivocally, the mobile gaming industry has stamped its dominance as the biggest global entertainment industry to date.

Oscar Clark Chief Strategy Officer Fundamentally Games

Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.

We have become used to Zynga buying up other mobile teams for fairly stunning valuations for some time; but to see them being acquired by Take-Two for what seems to be the largest acquisition in our industry to date is mind-blowing.

However, looking under the bonnet. Zynga have a great understanding of freemium titles of scale and, importantly, running long surviving live service experiences. They also understand data.

Now we have reached the point where the industry is worth $175 billion and Mobile is $90.7 billion (from reporting from Newzoo) and, according to GameDiscover, only 22 of the top Steam Games are premium and standalone. It seems to me that Take-Two needed those skills, but more than that I feel that this acquisition positions the group to play a dominant role in the wider industry. A lot can go wrong, but will be interesting to see what happens.

Dmitri Lipnitsky CEO and Co-founder Gismart

It's obviously one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of gaming. Zynga has shown consistent year-on-year growth making smart acquisitions, and it is proving to be one of the leading mobile gaming companies. This deal highlights the eagerness for established video gaming giants to enter, or expand their presence in, the fast-growing high-potential mobile space.

Michael Hudson CEO GameBake

This is an amazing buy for Take-Two and a great sale for Zynga, as both offer exactly what the other needs to continue scaling in its respective area.

Take-Two brings amazing IP to the table which, with Zynga's expertise and dominant role in the mobile market, will undoubtedly lead to some amazing new games across a variety of platforms globally. I mention a variety of platforms; Zynga has pushed hard and enjoyed huge success on platforms such as Snap's Instant Gaming platform.

Among the many amazing things this new partnership brings, I think the ability to focus on bringing some of the world's biggest IP to millions more players via the platforms they are already using – with real cross-play features – is an exciting proposition for the industry as a whole.

Gökçe Nur Oğuz CEO and co-founder Playable Factory

Playable Factory has been building Zynga playable ads for hit games like Words With Friends and FarmVille for a few years. I believe Zynga is the missing piece in Take-Two's offering. The acquisition of Zynga means it now has access to Zynga's immense free-to-play market experience. The tectonic plates in gaming monetisation for PC and console may indeed see some seismic shifting because of this deal

The go-to-market success strategies behind hit games on mobile massively vary compared to those on PC and console; but what both Zynga and Take-Two have are millions of global consumers with much loved IPsand characters, which I'm sure will be translated across different platforms. Perhaps we'll see a Bioshock/Toon Blast mash up ;). Only time will tell!


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