Zynga SVP of Mobile David Ko just took the stage at Le Web 10, where he was interviewed by our very own MG Siegler. Here are our notes (paraphrased and cut short):
You’ve been with Zynga for a month now, and you’ve already got to announce an acquisition. Feel free to disclose the details right now.
Last week was a big week for Zynga. We just acquired Newtoy, who have created one of the best mobile games experiences today in our opinion.
Will it be a separate studio?
Yes. We want to leverage their knowhow, so we renamed it, but we will keep the team intact. They’ll continue to develop their own products.
Mobile is a huge opportunity for us. We have a huge user base to leverage, and they have some really exciting IP. Stay tuned.
Let’s talk about the Android platform – what are your thoughts on that?
We want to connect the world through games, so we want to be on any device on any platform, but to also get the experience right. We’ve been focused on the iPhone and iPad primarily so far.
We want to move to other platforms – you’ll see Mafia Wars for Android later this month for example.
What about Nokia, Windows Phone, Blackberry …?
Our goal is to understand the limitations of devices and go from there. We basically want to offer seamless experiences everywhere on the planet.
You were at Yahoo for 10 years. Do you want to talk about the situation there right now, and your recent decision to leave?
I was at Yahoo for a little over 10 years, it was a great experience. I wish them all the best.
But you had a lot of responsibilities there … why leave all that to do only mobile at Zynga?
I’ve met Mark Pincus a couple of months ago, and I was always impressed with Zynga as a company. The more time I spent with Mark and the management team, the more I became impressed.
They don’t really have a strong mobile presence, though.
Yes, there are lots of opportunities for growth right now. Remember that Zynga today has a huge subscriber base: 45 million daily active users yesterday for example.
There’s the huge Facebook association. As you move more into mobile and other sites … how important is that for Zynga?
We stand for being social, and the reality is Facebook equals social. But there are other users looking to access our service through other sites. So we take that into account, and we look for more partnerships in that regard.
What about Facebook and its own mobile strategy with Connect etcetera? Are you guys working with them?
There are things they’re doing we can leverage, so we want to look at how we can do that under the current partnership in place with Facebook.
Moving on to international markets. What’s the status on Zynga’s expansion outside the United States?
We just launched Farmville in Japan through one of our partners, Softbank, mobile-only to start with. We’re very excited to see how that goes. In Asia today, many folks will access the Web through mobile first, so that means we have to diversify away from the high-end smartphones, so we have a lot of work to do in that regard.
We just launched CityVille last week, and it’s been the fastest-growing game for us to date. We saw 3 million daily active users yesterday, and that’s across 5 different languages.
Zynga’s revenue numbers are growing fast, but mobile is a minuscule part of that, right?
We’re definitely just getting started on that level.
Google has invested in Zynga. What’s the relationship with them like?
We haven’t announced anything publicly, so I’m not going to comment on that.
Why the lack of focus on Android so far though? You have a couple of thousands of people working there, right?
Well, there is a lot of fragmentation in mobile today. But we’re working on it, so stay tuned for more announcements soon.