Social game maker Zynga files for $1 billion IPO

Zynga, the social gaming company behind FarmVille and CityVille, has filed a $1 billion IPO. The company now says it has 232 million monthly active users, posting 2010 revenue of $597 million.

Zynga, the company behind Facebook social gaming phenomena like FarmVille and CityVille, on Friday filed a $1 billion Initial Public Offering (IPO) with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

Some interesting notes from an initial perusal of the IPO:

Zynga says that it's now operating in 166 countries - the company counts 60 million "daily active users" and 232 million "monthly active users." That transltes into 2 billion minuts of play per ay with 38,000 virtual items created every second. Zynga also reports that its 2010 revenue was $597 million, compared to $121 million for 2009 and 19 million for 2008.

What makes Zynga's large IPO filing even more remarkable is one of the company's revenue streams: essentially, the sale of goods that only exist within the game, managed through in-game microtransactions. Players of its Facebook games, for example, use Facebook Credits (purchased with a credit card, PayPal or gift card) to purchase virtual goods that enhance their experience within the game. Zynga also derives revenue from in-game advertising.

Zynga got started in 2007 and has followed a rapid path towards success ever since. After raising venture capital and attracting millions of gamers on Facebook, the company has expanded its product portfolio to include mobile games for iOS and Android platforms, as well as other Web-based games. Zynga has also been on almost constant prowl for additional independent game studios to acquire.

Zynga's underwriters include Morgan Stanley, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and BofA Merrill Lynch, according to the SEC filing.

The move comes one day after Halo creator Bungie announced the launch of Bungie Aerospace, a new venture that will focus on fostering partnerships with independent mobile and social game developers. The first game out of the gate is Crimson from Harebrained Schemes, due out this summer for iOS and Android.