Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA) Users Decline as More Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) Usage Goes Mobile

Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA) Users Decline as More Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) Usage Goes MobileOrlando, FL 6/12/12 (StreetBeat) -- Shares of online games provider Zynga (Nasdaq:ZNGA) are down 55 cents, almost 10%, at $5 after Cowen & Co.’s Doug Creutz this morning reiterated a Neutral rating on the shares, writing that daily average unique users for its games, such as “Words with Friends,” declined by 4.8 million to 54.2 million between May 1st and June 8th, a sign, he thinks, that usage is declining for social games “across the board” as mobile gaming continues to rise.

Creutz lays out the relevant stats for Zynga:

Zynga saw significant declines in May from nearly all of its existing major games: Words With Friends had its third consecutive down month, losing 600K DAUs to 6.4MM (-8.6% m/m); CityVille lost 1.7MM DAUs to 4.5MM (-27.4% m/m); CastleVille lost 1.0MM DAUs to 4.4MM (-18.5% m/m); Hidden Chronicles dropped 1.8MM DAUs to 3.3MM (-35.3% m/m); FarmVille lost 600K DAUs to 4.0MM (-13.0% m/m); Zynga Slingo lost 600K DAUs to 3.1MM (-16.2% m/m); and Empires & Allies lost 400K DAUs to 1.3MM (-23.5% m/m), falling out of the top 20. Texas Holdem Poker only lost 100K DAUs to 6.8MM (-1.4% m/m). The lone bright spot for Zynga was the launch of Bubble Safari, which rocketed to the #3 slot by adding 5.7MM DAUs in four weeks. However, given the inverse-V trajectories of other recent Zynga launches, we are only moderately impressed by the early performance of the title.

Creutz suggests Zynga is being hit by the shift in Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) usage from the desktop to mobile phones:

We believe that mobile devices may be siphoning off an accelerating number of gamers from Facebook. Facebook itself is increasingly being accessed by mobile devices, however it is not possible to play Facebook-native apps through Facebook on a smartphone. We believe that over the last two months, trends in the casual digital gaming space have swung decisively towards mobile and away from social, at least in Western markets.

Facebook shares today are up 39 cents, or 1.4%, at $27.40.

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