MediaFile

Zynga’s Pincus fights back against copycat accusations

Mark Pincus, the CEO of Zynga, isn’t pleased with reports that Zynga is ripping off games from small developers so he is doing something about it–wielding his pen to write passionate manifestos to employees invoking Silicon Valley greats like Apple.

After a game developer accused Zynga of copying a game called “Tiny Tower”,  Pincus sent a 60-line memo to employees to make sure his flock knows Zynga has done nothing wrong, (the memo was leaked to the blog VentureBeat and later obtained by Reuters).

“Google didn’t create the first search engine. Apple didn’t create the first mp3 player or tablet. And, Facebook didn’t create the first social network. But these companies have evolved products and categories in revolutionary ways.”

And just like tech heavyweights did not reinvent the wheel, neither does Zynga need to with its simple but addicting games. 

“We don’t need to be first to market. We need to be the best in market … Zynga Poker, FarmVille, CityVille and Words with Friends, none of these games were the first to market in their category but we made them the most fun and social,” he said.

Could Zynga gamble with friends?

Investors were salivating on Friday at the prospect of Zynga breaking into online gambling. The company said it is in “active conversations with potential partners” to try and figure out the market, which sent its shares up 7 percent.

Last month, the U.S. Justice Department declared that only online betting on sports is unlawful, setting the stage for some U.S. states to legalize online gambling.

Melissa Riahei, general counsel at the online gaming company, U.S. Digital gaming, said Zynga would not be able to enter the $35 billion online casino market on its own. If Internet gaming is legalized, Zynga would have to partner with an operator that could get a license for Internet gambling, like a casino, and have to figure out which states it can work in.

In a twist, Zynga brings mobile game to Facebook

On Monday, Zynga said it would be bringing its most popular mobile game, “Words with Friends,” to Facebook. The social games maker said the game would be coming soon.

Players on Apple- or Android-powered devices will be able to carry over games from their phones or tablets onto Facebook. Zynga, in an attempt at bathroom humor, said this would allow “a seamless transition from your work computer to the bathroom… don’t lie, you know you do it.”

While it’s no surprise that Zynga would want to tap Facebook to attract more users to “Words with Friends” — a game you have to play with at least one other person — it’s a curious move for a company whose biggest IPO risk is its dependence on Facebook. Future investors are more likely to welcome an announcement in which Zynga distances itself from Facebook, like the recent one about Zynga entering mainland China through its partner Tencent.

Zynga plots its mobile stategy

Zynga wants to get into your pocket. As the  publisher of games like, “Word with Friends,” a Scrabble-clone popular on Apple devices and since February, on Android platforms, Zynga, known as the top games publisher on Facebook, is likely trying to reduce its reliance of Mark Zuckerberg and co’s platform.

“You should play and you should pay,” says David Ko, the former Yahoo executive who moved to Zynga in November to spearhead its mobile push.

 In a recent interview, Ko told Reuters that Zynga’s mobile strategy has two parts: Creating mobile versions of existing Web titles like ”FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars” and, having users play games on their mobile devices before anywhere else, like on “Words with Friends.”