Zynga to lean on new social casino titles in 2016 to stem audience decline

zynga-social-casinoSocial gaming operator Zynga is doubling down on its social casino franchises after leaning heavily on the titles last year.

On Wednesday, Zynga reported its Q4 and FY15 results, which showed Q4 revenue of $186m, down 3% from one year ago. Game revenue was down 4% to $129.5m while advertising revenue was down 2% to $56.3m, resulting in a net loss of $46.9m for the quarter.

Things were better on the full-year front, as overall revenue rose nearly 11% to $764.7m, with game revenue up 10% to $590.7m and advertising up 14% to $174m. The net loss for the year was $117.8m, roughly half the $226m Zynga lost in 2014.

Bookings, the in-game sales of virtual goods, were roughly flat at $182m in Q4 and $700m for the year. Zynga’s ongoing transition to a mobile-focused company was evident in mobile bookings, which rose 35% in FY15 while web bookings fell 32%. Mobile represented 73% of total bookings in Q4, up from 60% the previous year.

Zynga reported a 31% rise in Q4’s average daily bookings per daily average user, while posting a 7% improvement in conversion from players to payers. Trouble is, Zynga’s audience continues to shrink, with average daily active users down 24% in Q4 and average monthly active users down 30%. Zynga blamed the audience decline on a lack of new titles last year.

Zynga’s social casino products continue to shine, as Q4 slots bookings were up 7% sequentially and 78% year-on-year, hitting a record high quarterly total. Zynga’s overall bookings may have been flat, but the core live mobile franchises of Slots, Words With Friends and Poker were collectively up 63%.

Poker, Hit It Rich! Slots and Wizard of Oz Slots accounted for 18%, 17% and 15% of Q4’s total game revenue, respectively. Poker’s overall bookings and players were down but mobile bookings improved 15% year-on-year. Taken together, slots and poker accounted for 53% of Q4 game bookings and 50% of game revenue.

Sticking with what it knows best, social casino will account for four of the 10 titles Zynga plans to release in 2016, including Spin It Rich, Willy Wonka Slots, True Vegas and Vegas Diamond Slots. Zynga also burnished its social casino portfolio via its just announced acquisition of Zindagi Games, which is best known for its Match-3 titles.