Published On: Sun, Oct 27th, 2013

Mark Pincus’s Taking A Back Seat Seems To Be Working As Zynga Cuts Their Losses In The Third Quarter

After stepping down in July from the role of CEO, Pincus can only watch and wonder how his replacement appears to be leading the company into more tranquil waters.

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Pincus, still the major shareholder in the online gaming company that he founded,  must be experiencing some mixed feelings as Don Mattrick,  the CEO that came in to replace him shows some initial signs of turning the company round.

With Mattrick at the helm visiting you had a more encouraging quarter in comparison to some of the last few that Pincus managed when he was still running the company. Don Mattrick has succeeded in cutting back on losses during the third quarter, but income for the company has continued to fall while statistics show that considerably less people are playing Zynga games than they did.

The last few months of being among the most difficult for Mark Pincus in his career as an online entrepreneur, not made any easier by the fact that during that time, Candy Crush now reported to be the hottest online game of all time, is breaking records in terms of revenue, pulling in not far from one million dollars every day from its online followers in every corner of the world. Candy Crush’s developers, UK-based King in the latter stages of preparing an IPO.

However, all is not doom and gloom at Zynga, whose shares jumped by twelve percent after news of their less disappointing than expected results broke.

Shareholders obviously feel that their arrival of Don Mattrick from Microsoft which he was in charge of their Xbox division has had a calming influence on the day-to-day running of the San Francisco Company.

Another piece of significant news for Zynga is that Mattrick has done a serious piece of headhunting, pulling in a former colleague, Clive Downie to take up the role of chief operating officer at the Zynga. Downie will take up his position almost immediately, after apparently being attracted to the challenge he will obviously face at Zynga, and will be leaving his current employees, mobile game maker DeNA. Downie and Mattrick have a long-term working relationship which they formed when they worked together at Electronic Arts Inc. another video game maker

Zynga has made a major breakthrough by enticing Downie to join the company as he comes with tremendous expertise in mobile games. Zynga has suffered badly under Mark Pincus, with industry experts point to the fact that his failure to lead the company forward into a transition to mobile, which has virtually eliminated the desktop computer from the gamers’ philosophy. Zynga’s most popular video games, particularly “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars, ” were designed and produced principally to be played on desktop and laptop computers, which are slowly making their way into history especially among the under twenty-five’s.

Most industry analysts agreed that failing to recognize the strength of the switch to mobile is what cost Mark Pincus his role as CEO as well as creating some massive losses at Zynga. Losses which caused company stock to drop as much as 60 percent from the opening price of $10 on offer when the company went public almost two years ago.

During Pincus’s last few days in the post as CEO , Zynga instigated a major cost-cutting exercise, by cutting his payroll dramatically, laying off more than five hundred  employees, or 18 percent of its payroll.

Industry analysts expect that the effects of the cost-cutting should be enough to trim Zynga’s losses for the fourth quarter due to end in December. Estimates are that the losses could range between $21 million to $31 million, a major improvement on the $49 million that the Zynga lost in the same quarter in 2012.

Despite the fact that Zynga reported a loss of $68, 000 in the three quarters up to the end of September, their shares gained 44 cents to $3.98 in extended trading Thursday, making for a spectacular improvement from the losses of $52.7 million, equivalent to seven cents per share, for the corresponding period time last year.

For the period Zynga’s income dropped by 36 percent to $202.6 million, although it was around $13 million more than had been expected.  What must be waiting for Mark Pincus as well as the management team at the Zynga is that the average number of people playing Zynga’s games regularly during the third quarter was reported to be in the region of thirty million, half of what it was for the same time last year. For the same quarter, industry estimates point that around one hundred million people played the Candy crush on their Smartphones and pads.

 

Mark Pincus was born and raised in Chicago . After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Mark Pincus spent a number of years learning the ropes of the venture capital and financial services industries, working for two years as a financial analyst in New York with Lazard Freres & Co., after which he spent four years in exotic Hong Kong, filling a Vice President‘s post at Asian Capital Partners for two years.

After completing his stint in Hong Kong, Pincus decided that the time was right to gain his masters degree, which he from Harvard Business School.

After leaving Harvard Pincus was appointed manager of corporate development at Tele-Communications, Inc., which have since become part of AT&T Cable, later joining. Columbia Capital as Vice President, where he had his first encounter with the fast growing world of hi –tech as head of the department that handled investments in new media and software startups.

Mark’s time at Columbia Capital obviously gave him a taste for the opportunities available in the industry and just a year later, in 1995; he launched his first startup, a push technology service under the title of Freeloader, Inc., which he succeeded in selling after just seven months picking up a cool $38 million.

It took Pincus just a few months to establish his next hi-tech venture, Support.com, which he succeeded in building into one of the Internet’s leading software providers for the service and support industry, taking the company public in 2002.

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