Analysts to Zynga: It’s Time to Move the Farm
Investors aren’t playing when it comes to social game maker Zynga.
The company’s stock price , hovering around $6 on Tuesday, is well below the $10 at its high-profile initial public offering in December.
For the stock to turnaround, analysts say Zynga needs to show it can reduce its reliance on Facebook, by luring more users over to mobile apps.
“We’re seeing a push toward mobile. If Zynga can move away from social and more into making mobile games, we think that will definitely drive engagement with its player base,” Neil Doshi, Citi’s interactive entertainment analyst told CNBC’s“Squawk on the Street.”
News of new mobile games is exactly what Doshi said investors were listening for at Zynga’s “unleashed”presentation Tuesday at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.
New, fun mobile games still don’t answer the question of how Zynga will monetize them, however. So far, only around 2 percent of Zynga players actually pay to play, notes Doshi.
“There’s a lot of interest in monetizing games in different ways. It tends to cause a near-term slowdown for companies that do it, but as more and more users access mobile, the overall pie should grow overtime,” added Doshi.
With a bullish, $12 price target on Zynga, Doshi is betting that gamers will increasingly choose mobile devices over other platforms — a trend which has already begun.
Meanwhile, the maker of the now-famous “Farmville” game is struggling with “relatively flat” user growth over the past year, adds Doshi.
As other analysts laud the merits of mobile — maybe its time for Zynga to move the farm.
—By CNBC’s Jennifer Leigh Parker
Additional Views: Facebook to Blame for Zynga’s Pain?
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Neil Doshi does not personally own Zynga shares, but Citi is a market maker (matches buyers and sellers) in the publicly traded securities of Zynga.
Follow Jennifer Leigh Parker on Twitter @jparker741.