Zynga launches mobile role-playing games as executive losses mount


Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is expanding its first-ever mobile role-playing games Montopia and Ayakashi: Ghost Guild to the Western market. The two free-to-play titles were initially introduced exclusively to Japanese consumers in early 2012.

Montopia, available for download now from Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play, challenges gamers to collect fire, wood and water monsters as they journey across a kingdom in ruins. Players must collect all the monsters in order to complete their Monstapedia, fusing monsters together to win battles against other players.

Montopia is available for download now from Apple's App Store and Google Play.

Ayakashi: Ghost Guild, coming to iOS and Android in the coming weeks, casts gamers as 'exorcists' tasked with battling ghosts and transforming them into demons. Players fight rival exorcists by entering battle with their legion of demon warriors.

In related news, Zynga has suffered yet another executive defection: Jeff Karp has resigned as chief marketing and revenue officer, Bloomberg reports. Karp's exit was confirmed in a regulatory filing earlier this week. "Jeff Karp is leaving Zynga, and the groups in his organization have been realigned under appropriate existing divisions," a Zynga spokesperson confirmed.

Karp is just the latest in a series of high-profile executives to leave Zynga in recent weeks. Chief Operating Officer John Schappert exited in August, just days after he was stripped of his responsibilities as head of social gaming development, and Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu soon followed to launch his own startup. Bill Leinwand, the CTO of infrastructure cited as a catalyst behind Zynga's shift away from Amazon's cloud services to its internal Z Cloud platform, has taken a similar role at enterprise IT firm ServiceNow. MarketWatch reports that Vice President of Studios Bill Mooney, who spearheaded the FarmVille franchise, and Vice President of Marketing Brian Birtwistle have also left the company, although Zynga has not confirmed their departures.

Zynga stock has declined 72 percent since the company went public in late 2011. The social gaming firm reported second quarter 2012 losses of $22.8 million, which executives blamed on recent algorithmic changes made by social network Facebook, as well as diminishing mobile traffic for high-profile acquisition Draw Something. Despite its troubles, Zynga's second quarter revenues reached $332.5 million, up 4 percent over the first quarter of 2012. Zynga now boasts more than 300 million monthly active users, including 33 million daily active users on mobile.

For more:
- read this release
- read this Bloomberg article

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