It is an oldie but goodie. We're talking about Bingo. While some social games require learning the rules and developing strategy, Zynga hopes Bingo can draw in a big audience.
You might call Zynga's office a game factory, but Zynga calls it a studio, a place where dozens of people develop, design, produce, and test social games. On Friday, one of their teams launched Zynga's newest game, BINGO, to its 250,000 monthly users. Zynga will not say how many team members worked on it, but it has access to 2,000 San Francisco-based employees plus 800 more in New York and Austin, Texas. And, they worked collaboratively from all three cities.
"Yes, it's a challenge to work with different locations, but everyone was so committed to the mission that we all really got on the same page, and we used great communications tools to keep our development on track," said executive producer Nicole Opas.
Social games like Bingo let total strangers or online friends compete just as they would in a casino. While Farmville may be the company's best known game, having a familiar game like Bingo is designed to attract even more players to social gaming. While 1 in 5 Americans over age six has played a game online, 35 percent are new to this kind of play. The growth potential could turn mobile gaming into a $54 billion industry in the next three years.
Zynga is tight-lipped about its future plans, but it provides a clue with the creation of the Zynga Casino. The casino offers Bingo and poker for now. Poker is also a familiar game, but it is spawning new ways to get players to come together. "We have a lot of people that are doing a guys' night in, or a girls' night in, where they all actually get online at the same time and play Zynga Poker together and it doesn't matter what's your level of experience," says Zynga Poker General Manager Lo Toney.
What's the secret to innovation? Why do people like to play games against strangers online? Well, Zynga discovered that 44 percent of the players it surveyed flirt with their opponents. A few have dated and even gotten married.