When students get a chance to see first-hand what we’re up to here at Zynga, it’s clear from their faces that the world of games and game design can be an inspiration. For some, they are able to imagine career paths in tech for the first time.
That’s why last month Zynga.org hosted the company’s second annual Youth Tech Week. Nearly 150 students from traditionally underserved communities in San Francisco and the Bay Area got a behind-the-scences look at life at Zynga. Game designers, engineers and artists from game studios including FarmVille 2 and Zynga Poker shared their career stories and led tours and activities for the students, helping to inspire the next generation of tech leaders.
For more on Youth Tech Week, check out this video: http://vimeo.com/103188286
Today I am excited to announce that Zynga is entering the Sports category with our new multi-game brand – Zynga Sports 365.
This news builds on our content strategy and expands our creative portfolio into another beloved, evergreen consumer category. Zynga now has leading brands and capabilities in six top consumer gaming categories – Farm, Casino, Words, Racing, People and Sports.
As a first step in this franchise, we are developing mobile games for football and golf.
In terms of Football, today we are announcing two multi-year licensing partnerships – one with the National Football League and another with the NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association. These licenses will enable us to develop games that bring real NFL teams and athletes, including their names and likeness, to you our players.
Our first football game – NFL Showdown –went live this morning in geo-lock and is currently available in select markets. The game is a manager-style mobile-first simulation game that offers sports enthusiasts a unique social experience that delivers authenticity, accessibility and competition. The game puts you in the thick of the action, letting you engage with your favorite teams and players 365 days a year, taking on the roles of Coach, General Manager and Owner as you manage your team to victory.
With regards to Golf, we are incredibly excited to be partnering with golf icon Tiger Woods. Tiger is one of the most recognized and accomplished athletes in the world and has influenced the sport of golf since he joined the PGA in 1996. He is the first golfer in history to hold all four professional major championships at the same time including four Masters Tournaments.
Golf’s massive global appeal and innate social nature lends itself well to mobile games and fosters the on-the-go competition we know you want. By combining Tiger Woods’ unparalleled golf insights with Zynga’s ability to create meaningful connections between players, we can develop truly unique social golf games that bring authenticity and accessibility to sports enthusiasts. We are looking forward to making our Tiger Woods golf game available to all of our players globally this year and giving our players and Tiger’s fans a new way to interact with their favorite golfer.
Our entry into the Sports category – and the development of NFL Showdown and our Tiger Woods golf game – is being led by our Zynga Orlando Studio. The team is led by several gaming industry veterans – including Mike Taramykin, Jason Shenkman, Jeff Luhr, Ian Cummings and Michael Cayado – all of whom have a proven history of creating innovative AAA sports games that immerse passionate fans in the sports they love. From gameplay simulation to visual fidelity – the team understands the art of delivering sports fans transformative, authentic entertainment experiences that feel as real as the sport itself.
As a sports fan, I am particularly excited about our Sports expansion and being able to share this exciting news with you. I believe that by combining our expertise with the NFL, NFL Players Inc. and Tiger Woods, we can create next-generation mobile football and golf games for consumers around the world.
I look forward to sharing more details with you soon on NFL Showdown, which will be going live to players globally before the NFL season begins, as well as our Tiger Woods golf game which will be available globally in 2015. In the meantime, if you are interested in getting more information on NFL Showdown please visit: https://company.zynga.com/games/preview/nfl-showdown
See you on the field.
COO of Zynga
In celebration of My Family Farm in FarmVille 2, we asked players how they connect with each other in the game. Out of 33,000 players that responded, nearly 80% said they have connected with someone that they otherwise wouldn’t have through the game and 20% said that playing FarmVille 2 helped rekindle a romantic relationship.
Lynda Jordan is one of those lucky players that rekindled a flame from childhood. Now engaged, Lynda shared her story with us about the joy the game has brought to her life.
It’s funny how many times our paths had crossed before Dean and I finally reconnected through FarmVille 2. It had been 28 years since I last saw him but as we learn more about one another, we’ve uncovered just how close we were to seeing each other during different periods of our lives. We were extremely close childhood friends until my family and I moved away. Dean and I didn’t live too far from each other but the small bit of distance kept us from staying in touch. It turns out Dean used to buy fishing bait and go fishing in a river behind my house, not ever knowing that it was my Uncle that sold him the bait. We laugh about how many missed connections there really were.
Years later I joined Facebook in search of Dean. It turned out Dean had also been searching for me. It was Dean’s daughter that convinced him to play FarmVille 2 and on one fateful morning, I had a neighbor request from him in FarmVille 2.The rest is history. Dean and I are now engaged and getting married in October 2015.
It’s hard for me to sum up how important FarmVille 2 is to me. FarmVille 2 has become more than just a game. It is an escape that allows me to garden and play with cute animals. It has reconnected me to my fiancé and helps me also keep in touch with my mother. I believe now that things happen for a reason. FarmVille 2 has impacted me in so many ways – it sounds funny for a game to change my life but it really has. Thank you to the FarmVille 2 team!