Today Zynga co-founder and CEO Mark Pincus appeared on “CBS This Morning” to reassure co-hosts Charlie Rose and Gayle King that after its struggles with disappointing earnings and an overall shift from desktop to mobile, the gaming company and Facebook are “still BFFs,” restoring friendship to Social Media Land and goodwill to investors who were wondering what it all means for them.
We know you were losing sleep over this one, so here are the highlights:
ROSE: So let’s just start with the obvious; what’s happened to the stock price?
PINCUS: Okay, beyond the obvious, what’s happened is you have to step back and realize that social gaming as an industry and even the Internet is going through a tectonic shift to mobile. So the bigger story of 2012 is that we’re seeing consumers change their habits towards a mobile lifestyle at an unbelievable rate, and we as an industry are moving quickly to get ahead of that and with some of our games like “Words With Friends” and “Draw Something.” Gayle knows those games are already very popular on mobile but the rest of our portfolio games are not yet on mobile, and we as a company are moving quickly to serve that audience.
ROSE: And how will you define the ongoing relationship with Facebook?
PINCUS: I heard you say are we still BFFs? We are still BFFs.
KING: I was wondering, Mark, if it’s a situation of yes, we were dating and we were getting along very well but now I need to separate, I need some space, because it’s been reported that you are pulling away from Facebook. True or not so true?
PINCUS: It’s not true. What’s really going on—Facebook has been an amazing accelerator of growth for social gaming and for our company and really bringing gaming to a huge mass market on the web. But as I said, the future is really on mobile, phones and tablets. For us, this is really about making the social available, the social opportunities for our players—anything they want, and Facebook is the #1 way that our players are social and connect on mobile. But there’s a lot of other ways that they want to be social, and we just wanted to give our players every possible way to connect with each other.
Facebook recently amended its agreement with Zynga to remove the social gaming site’s preferred partner status, leaving open the possibility for Facebook to develop its own games, while Zynga would be free to use other payments systems and social platforms and would not have to display Facebook ads on its website. In short, the companies have agreed to see other people.