Zynga goes global with Draw Something while share price struggles

Social gaming company Zynga has been having a hard time of it lately with its share price tumbling amid reports of gamers deserting its offerings in their droves.

Despite its current woes, the company announced on Tuesday that it has pushed ahead with plans to go global with Draw Something, the Pictionary-like game that is, or at least was, a massive hit with Facebook users as well as mobile gamers.

Draw Something is now available in 12 languages — including Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese — with most versions offering “translated user interfaces and dictionaries to enable players to have an enhanced playing experience in their native language,” the San Francisco company said in a statement.

“Draw Something has only been available to players in English since its launch and became a cultural phenomenon across the globe,” said David Ko, Zynga’s chief mobile officer. “We are excited to be able to give back to our players around the world by offering an experience that is more locally relevant to them.”

With its share price on Tuesday dipping below $5 for the first time since going public in December last year, the move is likely an attempt to reinvigorate investor interest and show that the business is still capable of expanding.

But why the loss in value? According to recent reports, daily user numbers for its games are tumbling fast, with a 12 percent drop in April followed by a further 8.2 percent fall in May.

Zynga had until recently enjoyed great success with games such as FarmVille, CityVille and Draw Something, played largely on the Facebook site.

But in a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday, Cowen analyst Doug Creutz made clear his thoughts on Zynga’s current difficulties, saying, “We believe that consumer preferences may be switching decisively to mobile games….and interest in Facebook-based gaming may have reached a negative inflection point.”

He added, ”While Zynga is aggressively pursuing mobile game developments, its biggest advantages of scale and cross-promotion remain largely confined to the Facebook platform.”

It appears that Zynga’s fate rests on its ability to break free from its reliance on Facebook and make a success of mobile gaming, something Tuesday’s announcement indicates it is trying to do.

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