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Zynga's founder Mark Pincus steps down as products chief; Q1 revenue down over 30%

Mark Pincus, founder of social gaming company Zynga Inc, has stepped down as its chief product officer, as the company reported an over 30 per cent decline in revenues for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. Pincus, however, will remain chairman of the board.

In a note sent to Zynga employees, Pincus said, "I have decided to change my role to non-executive chairman. This means that, while I'll still keep an office at Zynga, and be active in supporting the company, I will not have an operating role. Most importantly, I remain Zynga's largest shareholder and biggest believer."

Q1 revenues down

Zynga said that revenues for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, declined to $168 million from $263 million a year ago, as the online games sales dropped to $132 million from $230 million. The firm also reported a net loss of $61 million for the quarter compared with a net income of $4 million last year.

The firm, however, delivered double-digit mobile audience growth at 11 per cent quarter-over- quarter across monthly active users (MAUs) and 10 per cent across daily active users (DAUs). This excludes the acquisition of mobile game and technology developer NaturalMotion in Q1.

Key growth areas

*Zynga Poker achieved sequential quarterly growth in bookings for the first time in seven quarters, growing its mobile audience by 19 per cent and posting its strongest mobile audience growth in the last two years.

*Zynga's Words With Friends franchise grew monthly audience by 8 per cent and DAUs by 9 per cent quarter over quarter, and grew bookings 43 per cent year over year.

"For the first time in two years, our teams delivered sequential growth across our key performance metrics including bookings, adjusted EBITDA, mobile bookings mix and audience. We believe these indicators demonstrate our strategy is working and the focus, rigor and discipline of our teams is showing up in our results. I am particularly proud of the FarmVille team's commitment to franchise growth, especially as it relates to last week's worldwide launch of FarmVille 2: Country Escape. Since the launch, we have seen more than 4 million installs of the game and received great feedback from our players," said Don Mattrick, CEO of Zynga.

California-headquartered Zynga is a developer of the popular social games that are played by more than 100 million monthly consumers. The company has created brands such as FarmVille, Zynga Casino and Words With Friends.

Zynga's NaturalMotion is the creator of hit mobile games in popular entertainment categories, including CSR Racing, CSR Classics and Clumsy Ninja. Zynga claims its games have been played by more than one billion people around the world and are available on a number of global platforms, including Apple iOS, Google Android, Facebook and Zynga.com.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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