February 5, 2020 / 9:17 PM / 16 days ago

'Merge Magic!' helps Zynga top bookings estimates

(Reuters) - Mobile game developer Zynga Inc topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly bookings on Wednesday, riding on the success of its new titles “Merge Magic!” and “Game of Thrones Slots Casino”.

The company reported bookings of $433 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, beating average analysts’ estimate of $418.8 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Bookings indicate future revenue including sales of virtual goods, such as currency and lives, within the games.

The “FarmVille”-maker has been strengthening its hold on the fast-growing mobile gaming market through a slew of acquisitions and licensing agreements with media outlets to publish themed games of popular franchises.

The company expects full year bookings to be at $1.75 billion, marginally higher than analysts’ average estimate of $1.73 billion.

Zynga has also been investing heavily to promote its core franchises including “Empires & Puzzles” and “Merge Dragons!”, as mobile-centric game makers face the heat from big-budget titles’ mobile versions such as “Call of Duty: Mobile” and “Need for Speed: No Limits”.

Quarterly sales and marketing expenses jumped 90% to $127.7 million.

Zynga’s average mobile daily active users, who log-in to play games such as “Tiny Royale” and “Words with Friends 2”, fell 2% in the quarter to 20 million, from a year earlier, hit by loss of users in older mobile titles including “Zynga Poker” and “Words With Friends”.

Total Revenue rose 62.6% to $404.5 million, falling short of analysts’ expectation of $418.56 million.

Zynga, which also makes money through advertisements on its free-to-play games, said revenue from advertising rose 11%, and accounted for 19.7% of its total quarterly revenue.

The company reported a quarterly net loss of $3.5 million, break even on per share basis, compared to a net profit of $559,000, break even on per share basis, a year earlier.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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