‘FarmVille’ developer Zynga’s quarterly bookings beat estimates

“FarmVille” game maker Zynga Inc reported higher-than-expected bookings in the first quarter, helped by its slot machine-based games and “Words With Friends”.

Shares of the company rose 11.7 percent to $2.57 in after-market trading on Wednesday.

Bookings were $182 million in the quarter ended March 31. Analysts on average had expected $161.8 million, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

Bookings, an important metric indicating future revenue, include the sales of virtual goods such as currency and lives.

In the first quarter, the company launched games such as “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Slots”, “Crazy Cake Swap” and “Vegas Diamond Slots”.

The company’s net loss narrowed to $26.6 million from $46.5 million, helped primarily by a tight leash on costs and expenses.

Zynga, whose “FarmVille” once dominated games played on Facebook, named Electronic Arts Inc veteran Frank Gibeau as chief executive in March to spearhead its transition to a mobile-focused games maker.

Gibeau – who replaced founder Mark Pincus – has a track record of managing EA’s mobile franchises such as “Plants vs. Zombies” and getting games shipped on time.

Zynga also said it expected to release its long-delayed action-strategy games “CSR2” and “Dawn of Titans” in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

The games were orginally scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“I think we’re still chasing things in a way that aren’t going to lead to big results and we’re spreading our talent a little too thin,” Gibeau said in an interview.

However, Zynga forecast bookings below analysts’ estimates for the current quarter.

“The Q2 releases are at the end of the quarter, so the new ones aren’t going to add that much to the quarter,” Gibeau said.

The company forecast bookings in the range of $160 million to $170 million for the second quarter ending June, below the average analyst estimate of $174.6 million, according to FactSet StreetAccount.

The company, which released its “Spin It Rich!” slot game this week, expects to launch three more games — “True Vegas Slots”, “Ice Age: Arctic Blast” and “Wizard of Oz: Magic Match” in the current quarter.

Source: Reuters