Exclusive: Zynga says can double number of paid players

Thu Dec 8, 2011 5:35pm EST
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By Tim McLaughlin

BOSTON (Reuters) - Zynga Inc Chief Executive Mark Pincus said the social games company can double the number of its paying players but he and other executives sidestepped questions about player retention and churn rates, speaking at a luncheon ahead of its IPO.

Zynga executives on Thursday fielded more than a dozen questions from an audience of about 100 potential investors who ate a lunch of chicken, mashed potatoes and spinach salad.

Pincus appeared relaxed, wearing a jacket but no tie. He opened his slide-show presentation with a picture of his cartoon avatar.

The social games maker, known for Facebook games such as "FarmVille" and "Mafia Wars," is prepping potential investors for a $900 million-plus initial public offering set for next week. It would be the largest IPO from a U.S. internet company since Google Inc raised $1.7 billion in 2004.

Most of Zynga's revenue comes from more than 227 million monthly active users who buy virtual items such as houses and tractors while they play free games on the Internet. Only a small portion -- about 7.7 million for the 12 months that ended September 30 -- are considered unique paying players.

"We could see that doubling," Pincus said at the luncheon at a Boston hotel. He did not give a time frame for meeting the target.

Paying players, he said, represent less than 3 percent of Zynga's total number of players.

The company also said in the presentation that it now has 13 million daily average users on mobile. This is up from 11.1 million the company had previously given for the month of October, which it posted in a video to pitch the IPO on the Internet.   Continued...