Zynga announces Adventure World
Zynga has announced Adventure World, its latest social game for Facebook, as the company returns to what it does best with its IPO plans apparently put on hold.
Little has been revealed about the game, which draws heavily on the look of the Indiana Jones films and invites players to "explore exotic lands, solve ancient puzzles, and bring your friends along for a ride."
Further details are expected later this week, but an emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving suggests that Zynga is continuing its move away from the world-building social template it helped lay down towards more traditional game mechanics, as evidenced in its recent social RTS Empires & Allies.
The news will come as a welcome distraction at Zynga, with sources telling the New York Post that adverse market conditions and an unhappy Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have led to its plans to float on the stock market being put on hold.
Zynga filed for an Initial Public Offering in June, seeking to raise up to a billion dollars in a move that meant it was valued at some $20 billion. It was one of a host of Silicon Valley tech companies to confirm plans to go public, but the decision by Standard & Poor to downgrade the USA's credit rating for the first time ever earlier this month has caused many of those firms to delay their plans.
It is now claimed Zynga will not go ahead with its IPO until November at the earliest, with Morgan Stanley, the bank handling the IPO, apparently nervous about the state of the markets.
"It wouldn't be illogical for the bank to delay a sale," one source said. "It makes sense for a bank to protect its clients from a market that could potentially be a bottomless pit."
Further complications come from the SEC's review of Zynga's filing. As the leader of an emerging market, Zynga's unusual accounts have raised eyebrows at the SEC, which queried Zynga's admission that, while it boasts more than 250 million monthly users on Facebook alone, it is solely reliant on a small percentage of those for its revenue.
When pressed, Zynga admitted that less than five per cent of its users buy virtual goods in its games. The SEC has since asked Zynga to specify how many paying customers each of its games has – information the company is apparently reluctant to provide.
Further eyebrows were raised late last week when it emerged that Zynga's stock had been restructed to give CEO Mark Pincus seven times the voting power of any existing shareholder, and seventy times as much as those who buy shares once the IPO is completed.
No release date was set for Adventure World, though the below trailer's invitation to users to "play today" is certainly wide of the mark. Further details are expected on Thursday and, given Zynga's history, it appears a safe bet that the game will launch on Facebook before the end of the week.
Source: Facebook / New York Post