Gaming company Zynga buys NaturalMotion for US$527m

31 Jan 2014

The company behind the massively popular FarmVille game has acquired the growing UK gaming company NaturalMotion for US$527m despite posting losses last year.

Zynga made the announcement in its posting of financial results for 2013 and hopes to re-invigorate its flagging sales with some of NaturalMotion’s titles like CSR Racing and Clumsy Ninja.

The statement went on to praise its new acquisition by saying: “NaturalMotion possesses industry-leading technology and tools and its proven simulation technologies have powered some of the biggest console games and blockbuster movies.”

Despite Zynga’s success with the Facebook game FarmVille, which was released in 2009, its popularity has waned with newer games like Candy Crush dominating the download charts.

A necessary step

The company also announced its cost-reduction plan expected to generate savings in the range of US$33m to US$35m this year. Part of this cost reduction plan will be the laying off of 15pc of its staff which equates to 314 jobs in the company.

Last year saw the company lose more than US$4m dollars from its 2012 results.

Despite the losses the company has made, Zynga was adamant for the purchase to go through.

Zynga’s CEO Don Mattrick pushed through the acquisition to widen the company’s scope of games and game developers. “Our acquisition of NaturalMotion will allow us to significantly expand our creative pipeline, accelerate our mobile growth and bring next-generation technology and tools to Zynga that we believe will fast track our ability to deliver more hit games. Their creative portfolio aligns perfectly with our content strategy as Zynga will now have five top brands and capabilities in the Farm, Casino, Words, Racing and People categories.”

The company still sees a market in the app download charts and its most recent games including FarmVille 2 and Words With Friends had about 112m monthly active users playing its games during the quarter ended 31 December last year.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic