Some news has landed in the business and gaming world that at a glance, seems independent of blockchain gaming — but it isn’t. In fact, it could well be a paradigm shift for the mainstream adoption of blockchain in gaming.
Zynga: The Giant of Social Gaming
In August of last year, I started following Gala Games closely and reported the most interesting developments. The primary reason for this was Eric Schiermeyer, the founder of Gala, but also the co-founder of Zynga. Here is how I described Zynga last year:
“Zynga is a games company that has utterly dominated the social gaming space as well as — for better or worse — pioneered the explosive growth of social gambling. Zynga created fantastically addictive games, capturing an unprecedented range of ages in its playerbase. With Gala Games, the modus operandi appears to — for the most part at least — take more of a traditional approach to games for gamers and to utilize blockchain technology, while presumably holding on to the Zynga trademark addictiveness. There is undoubtedly a hunger for Play to Earn (P2E) games, and the co-founder of a company that so consistently tapped into such moreish, pick-up-and-play games does make me a touch nervous.“
Well, nerves be damned, because whatever distant worries I had over Schiermeyer’s visionary approach to addictive gaming have been dwarfed by Zynga themselves setting their eyes on blockchain technology.
What makes Zynga such a singular entity in gaming is their — as far as I can tell — unparalleled player age range. My great aunt, now 90, plays the Zynga game Words With Friends, as does my mother! Then, spanning many generations, there are the various iterations of Farmville which had a peak playerbase any game on earth would be proud of.
Then there is Zynga Poker and a smorgasbord of other games spread across Facebook, mobile platforms, and their site. They are undoubtedly one of the biggest names in gaming, even if that makes traditional gamers like myself feel a little conflicted.
So, who are Take-Two and how will this change Zynga’s trajectory? More importantly, what will this merge mean for blockchain gaming?
Take-Two and Zynga: The $12.7 Billion Acquisition
Take-Two Interactive Software is an American games company with some flagship publishers and IPs. The two most notable publishers are Rockstar Games, creator of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, and 2K, creator of NBA 2K. They also control the BioShock and Borderlands franchises. Take-Two is the third-largest publicly-traded gaming company in America and Europe, pipped only by Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts.
Despite controlling many of the world’s most popular game series, they have had a clear objective: gain a foothold in mobile gaming. They have made a number of acquisitions in that area over recent years and you could argue that Zynga is their latest.
Take-Two and Zynga’s union comes through the former acquiring the latter at a value of $9.86 per share, “implying an enterprise value of $12.7 billion.” Together, they are undeniably gargantuan and well-poised for dominance wherever they set their joint focus, likely mobile gaming.
Will Zynga’s Blockchain Plans Be Supercharged?
In December 2021, we reported the partnership of blockchain gaming powerhouse, Forte, with Zynga. This was significant insofar as one of the leaders of mobile and social games was outwardly stating their objective: incorporate blockchain.
Now we are left wondering, will Take-Two and Zynga’s merge lead to Zynga’s blockchain plans being supercharged, or pushed down the line? There is no word yet, but should Take-Two support the integration of blockchain into their mobile games and Zynga’s — perhaps even make them Play to Earn (P2E) — we are looking at the biggest catalyst for mainstream adoption to date.