Zynga has confirmed the appointment of a former online gambling executive as chief operating officer in preparation for real money gambling next year. The firm appointed former 888 Holdings senior vice president Maytal Ginzburg Olsha to oversee gambling strategy and development. Executive VP Barry Cottle, who Olsha will report to, said that Olsha “joins our team with a deep understanding and direct experience in getting online gaming product offerings off the ground and directly into the hands of players”. The news follows an exodus of around eight senior managers in the last month or so and obviously this did nothing for the share price that has continued to drop like a stone – except for a brief spike thanks to comments from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Analysts are reporting that more and more users are choosing to play social games on their mobile devices over traditional methods. Gamasutra quotes Cowen and Company analyst Doug Cruetz as stating that a number of major publishers, including Zynga, EA and Disney/Playdom, suffered “double-digit declines month-to-month” in users during August. It goes on to say this is a result of free-to-play titles on smartphones becoming more popular and Cruetz added: “We believe that over the last several months, trends in the casual digital gaming space have swung decisively towards mobile and away from PC-based social gaming, at least in Western markets”.
Back to Zynga, and the company is looking to gaming geeks in order to boost those very same declining user numbers. Scott Koenigsberg, general manager of games at Zynga, told The Daily Telegraph that “old school gamers” who are a “much more engaged” type of player and of the Japanese developed Montopia and Ayakashi games, he said: “Many of our games appeal to a very broad swathe of players but these games are for a much more male audience who are much more engaged.”