The company that simply wanted to turn socializing into a game now has a valuation that's higher than video game titans Electronic Arts, which is a pretty fantastic feat when you stop to think about it. Who knew that a casual game about farming (and a handful of others) would be able to interest potential investors more than the company responsible for video game hits like The Sims, Madden NFL Football and, well, a list that can go on forever.
For further comparison, the market values Facebook at $52 billion, Groupon at $15 billion and Twitter at roughly $10 billion. Let's just say that web-based social interaction of any sort is looking pretty darn sexy at this point.
Back to the Zynga and Electronic arts comparison -- it's important to point out that Zynga doesn't actually make more money than Electronic Arts at this point. VentureBeat notes that Zynga pulled in about $850 million last year, while EA brought in $3 billion in the same time frame. But, when you consider that Zynga's top game CityVille has gained 96 million users in a matter of months, while EA's top game The Sims has sold 125 million copies in 10 years and Blizzard's online game World of Warcraft hit 12 million subscribers in 6 years, it's understandable why traditional video game makers are scratching their heads, while potential investors are looking at Zynga with dollars signs in their eyes.
Of course, the big question is -- will Zynga games be able sustain their popularity like The Sims and World of Warcraft? Hard to tell at this point. FarmVille lost a huge chunk of players after its first year, but now seems to be holding steady at around 50 million monthly players. It will be very telling to see if Zynga's new game CityVille will be able to hold onto its big international fan base once it hits the one-year or two-year mark -- or if people will get bored with virtual farming/city planning and move onto the next big thing.