Zynga's stock traded higher as CEO Mark Pincus took the stage at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech 2012 to talk about what's driving the company's growth — going beyond Facebook to mobile, and building a stand-along platform to serve other developers.
Perhaps the biggest news out of the interview was the fact that Zynga is "actively exploring real money gaming" — i.e. gambling. This could be a massive new source of revenue for Zynga, which has a hugely popular online Poker game.
It's too soon to say where legislation will come down — and Pincus said he's "not a predictor of politics," but he believes that it "could" become legal. Will he lobby in Washington for favorable legislation? Pincus left the door open, "we'd like to participate in the conversation."
Pincus also explained, defended, his acquisition of Draw Something's parent company OMGPOP for some $180 million. It's way too early to say "whether we overpaid" and that the company "only invests for the long term", he noted.
The future of the company is a lot less about a single title like Draw Something, and a lot more about being a platform for all small game developers like OMGPOP.
Pincus explained his strategy of launching a "publishing platform" for games — to be like Amazon web services but for gaming, providing software services and analytics. Pincus said it's hard to distribute across multiple platforms and he wants to make it easy.
Pincus rattled off three things to keep users engaged with Zynga: evergreen titles like Poker, innovation on gaming mechanics, and new games--the next hit.
-By CNBC's Julia Boorstin
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