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Should Zynga Buy Angry Birds Maker Rovio?

I’m sure you’re familiar with Zynga thanks to its plethora of popular Facebook games — that seem to spam my news feed on a regular basis, requesting my help in Mafia Wars or FarmVillewhich have also made their way to the Android and iOS platforms. The company recently made a bid for PopCap, the developers behind games like Bejeweled and Chuzzle, but lost out to the might of Electonic Arts. So what else should Zynga spend its money on?

According to a report from AllThingsD, Rovio, the Finnish developer of the hugely successful Angry Birds franchise, could be an “even tastier target.” As the report notes, rumors have already suggested the two companies are “in talks,” and an acquisition makes a whole lot of sense.

Zynga already boasts an impressive 148 million unique visitors on Facebook every month, while the immense success of Angry Birds has attracted over 250 million downloads from the mobile market. Combined, the two companies could form a “global powerhouse that would have a huge and active audience of players on both mobile and social platforms.”

The Wall Street Journal also ran a piece that compares Angry Birds to one of the most successful first-person shooters of all time to give you some perspective on just how popular the game has become:

“There are now 120 million active monthly ‘Angry Birds’ game players, the company says. To compare this to another media property, there have been more than 25 million copies sold of the best-selling console game of the past year, ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops.’”

AllThingsD has compiled a list of five reasons why Zynga and Rovio are a good match:

  1. “Adorable stuffed animals.” For Rovio, it isn’t just about the games: the company is also good at building a brand and turning its popular characters into books, cuddly toys, and even movies. Zynga, on the other hand, hasn’t been so successful at turning its hand to other money making opportunities.
  2. “Plenty of cash.” Zynga’s abundance of cash is burning a hole in its deep pockets, and its recent bid on PopCap make its intentions to spend quite clear.
  3. “Free-to-play.” Both companies are clearly willing to employ the free-to-play, or “freemium,” business model which means they offer their releases as a free download and then make a killing through in-app purchases, such as in-game currency, upgrades, and additional content.
  4. “Zynga’s risk factors.” AllThingsD notes that Zynga is dependent upon Facebook, and while that’s great while the network is flying high, we’ve all seen how social social networks can hit quickly the ground. Remember that other website? Myspace, or something? Acquiring Rovio would mean Zynga has a bigger presence in the mobile market, and therefore more diversity.
  5. “One-hit wonder.” While Zynga continues to churn out smash hit games that attract millions of visitors every month, Rovio’s only real success has been with Angry Birds. Okay, it’s a pretty big success, sure, but there’s no guarantee it can pull off the same success with something completely different. After all, Rovio released a number of games before Angry Birds became a huge success — do you know what they were? With Zynga on-board, however, Rovio has some “wiggle room to continue experimenting.”

AllThingsD’s report is pretty convincing and I can certainly understand how this would be a huge benefit for both companies, but do you think Rovio will want Zynga on board, or does it really want to go it alone?

[via AllThingsD]


Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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