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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 30, 2012 at 9:22 AM

D10: Zynga boss on Facebook, taking on Xbox Live

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — Zynga Chief Executive Mark Pincus said things haven’t changed too much for his social-gaming company since it went public in December.

Zynga and its close partner Facebook underwhelmed investors, but Pincus said the newly public Internet companies are strong regardless of their stock price. He’s being interviewed by Kara Swisher, co-host of the All Things D conference.

“The crop of companies that have recently gone public are awesome businesses that have real revenues and profits and real products and services that fit in our lives,” he said. “So I’m optimistic about those companies and not really trying to figure out whether the market’s valuing them right.”

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Asked about the relationship with Facebook, Pincus said Zynga grew the fastest on Facebook’s platform so “we kept doubling down on Facebook,” which led to its business being “concentrated” on the social network.

“I think they’re really important, not just to us,” he said. “I think Facebook is providing a key part of this new stack. There’s an app stack and a social stack and they happen to be key in both.”

The social stack enables game companies to build titles that players can easily connect and play with friends, for instance.

Pincus suggested Facebook isn’t as important as the general Web for distribution and it hasn’t yet provided the same sort of platform on mobile devices.

“Right now I’d say we all have a need for a Facebook on mobile in the sense that mobile is this great explosive opportunity but it’s still really fragmented,” he said.

Asked by Swisher about the Facebook relationship three or four years ahead, Pincus said: “Faceobok will continue to be very important on the Web and PC. Facebook has the potential to be very important to all of us on mobile.”

In the meantime, Zynga wants to do more than develop games and produce “the most powerful and capable” platform for networked games and apps.

“We need more aggregated channels, we need more ways for people to find, discover new apps and even more importantly find their way back to apps they have been engged in. We think we can help with that,” he said.

“We want to be a gaming network a lot like Xbox Live.”

No wonder he’s been hiring former Microsoft engineers for Zynga’s satellite office in Seattle.

Comments | More in | Topics: all things d, Billionaire techies, D conference

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