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Farmville Creator Zynga Sets Up Centre In Bangalore

The rush of Indians playing FarmVille has made a deep impression on Zynga, the makers of social games such as FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Vampires, Cafe World and FishVille which are, according to AppData, played by 60 million users across the world every day. And this is just on Facebook: Zynga’s games are also on MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Tagged, My Yahoo! and Hi5, as well as on the iPhone too.

Zynga has 3 game studios, all based in the USA, at San Francisco, Los Angeles and Baltimore. The company has decided to set up its first international gaming studio in Bangalore, to tap local game developers and widen its userbase. Will Travian follow?

[ED: Funny thing is, when we’d asked Travian once about how many Indians play the game, we got the following (hopefully tongue in cheek) response: Actually we aim for Political correctness, We don’t know how many native Americans enjoy playing travian.us, For us all humans are Equal.]

Game Development, Scaling Up

The focus of Zynga India will be on game development and building up infrastructure to support Zynga’s games. There are openings for software engineers to support its server, those who know Flash as well as for architects, product managers and web developers in Bangalore. It is headed by Shan Kadavil, who founded SupportSoft Inc and is on the board of software company Dbaux.

Just a week ago, Zynga acquired a maker of social networking games in USA Serious Business. Earlier, it partnered with MSN Games to launch FarmVille on the site through Facebook Connect.

The popularity of Zynga’s games can not be disputed, and you can get a sense of their scale from these facts we collated:

  • FarmVille itself is played by 75 million people (standalone and Facebook app included) and already the popular Facebook app is being cloned – look at Lil FarmLife, Barn Buddy or Farm Town.
  • On Facebook alone, as of October 2009, Mafia Wars has more than 25.9 million monthly active accounts.
  • According to Zynga, Fishville had 875,000 users within two days of launch.
  • There are apparently 235 million monthly active users playing these games, Economic Times reports.

Will It Spur Growth?

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Zynga is into mobile games too – it launched games for the iPhone, which were immediately copied again ( iFarm , Farm Live, mMafia, Vampire 3 and iMafia). Zynga can target India’s massive and growing telecom userbase by making the games available on lower end handsets and partnering with operators here. And this is where it will start competing with UTV’s Indiagames which is believed to be the largest player in India when it comes to mobile games.

Zynga’s entry is just be what the Indian gaming community has been waiting for – and it can be seen as a serious investment. Gaming firm in India include Dhruva Interactive, which has a casual gaming division called GameTantra; Reliance ADAG firm Zapak which powers the gaming section for NDTV, social networking site DesiMartini, Glamsham and Cricbuzz; UTV’s Indiagames; Kreeda Games and Gamekhel (ex Indiatimes Gaming). Despite all of Zapak’s spends, gaming isn’t yet mainstream in India.


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