It’s no secret that Zynga has actively targeted the Asian gaming market in its international expansion strategy. The gaming giant recently bought Japanese gaming startup Unoh, took a $150 million investment from Japan’s SoftBank Capital, acquired Chinese game developer XPD Media and set up a Beijing office. Today, this expansion is culminating in the beta launch of Zynga’s first internationally localized game, Zynga Texas Poker, in traditional Chinese.
Zynga Poker, the company’s first ever social game, launched in July 2007 and is currently the third most popular game on Facebook globally with more than 28 million people playing monthly. Now, the game is available in China as well as on Facebook in Hong Kong and Taiwan as Zynga Texas Poker and can be played in traditional Chinese or English. Of course, Zynga’s game is only available on Facebook in Hong Kong and Taiwan as Facebook is largely blocked in mainland China.
The game itself simulates playing poker, except in a social gaming environment. Users enter a casino lobby and can play at any table or join friends for a game. Players choose from casual Hold ‘Em tables, tournament play or VIP tables. A leader board shows players how they compare in chip ranking to other players and allows players to send or receive gifts.
As an incentive for users in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Zynga Texas Poker players will automatically receive a complimentary stack of 8,888 Vegas-style Poker chips to play games with. Additionally, this month, Zynga is offering a grand prize for the “ShootOut” tournament that allows local players to compete for a prize of $880,000 Taiwanese dollars. Zynga is also giving away a trip to Las Vegas to a lucky user.
Zynga’s choice of Poker as its first game seems to be based on the high engagement numbers that the game has seen since 2007. Currently, the english-version of the Zynga Poker game on Facebook has attracted players from more that 100 countries. Every day, Zynga Poker players spen 360 million minutes of play time daily, and 28 million people globally play Zynga Poker monthly with the game seeing 5.6 million daily users. On an average day 375,000 Zynga Poker players are simultaneously playing together live.
Considering Zynga’s massive investment in the Asian market, I’d expect Texas Poker to be the first of many localized games in the area. It would make sense for the company to launch a Japanese version of a game as well.