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Zynga Rides Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells Boost to Forecast Strong Bookings

Zynga on Wednesday forecast annual net bookings above Wall Street estimates, betting on the launch of its upcoming FarmVille game and strong in-game spending in its existing titles such as Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells.

The company’s shares rose nearly 3 percent in extended trading.

Zynga said it expects full-year net bookings – an indicator of future revenue – to be $2.8 billion (roughly Rs. 20,370 crores), more than the $2.75 billion (roughly Rs. 20,000 crores) analysts were anticipating, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Its outlook includes a full-year contribution from Rollic’s titles Toon Blast and Toy Blast, initial sales of Puzzle Combat and FarmVille 3 set to launch in the first half of 2021, and the potential release of its first Star Wars game by the end of the year.

Zynga’s NaturalMotion studio is also developing four new games focused on the action-adventure category that consumers would be able to play across platforms, Chief Executive Officer Frank Gibeau told Reuters.

The games are expected to be published starting in late 2021, he added.

Zynga depends on licensing deals with franchise owners, such as the one with Warner Bros. Games for Harry Potter and Walt Disney for Star Wars, to publish themed games and has bolstered its position in the fast-growing mobile-gaming market through a slew of acquisitions.

The company said it expects international expansion of its franchises to drive growth in 2021, with Europe and Asia likely to be the primary growth markets.

Net bookings were $699 million (roughly Rs. 5,100 crores) for the fourth quarter, beating estimates of $677.2 million (roughly Rs. 4,900 crores). Zynga mainly generates revenue from the sale of virtual goods, such as currency and lives, within its free-to-play games.

The Words With Friends publisher’s average monthly active users more than doubled from a year earlier to 134 million as people spent more time online due to pandemic-induced restrictions.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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