‘Facebook effect’ and IDA ingenuity inspired Zynga expansion in Dublin

10 Jun 2011

Zynga’s COO of games studio operations Marcus Segal said the company plans to continue to expand in Dublin and refused to cap a number on growth. The company employs 55 people and could grow to beyond 100 in the coming months.

The company, which is behind such popular games as CityVille, Café World and FarmVille, had already established its Dublin office in 2010.

The company, which was set up in 2007, employs more than 2,000 people worldwide and is understood to be valued at US$10bn.

Segal will be the keynote speaker at the Dublin Web Summit this afternoon.

During this morning’s press conference to mark the opening of Zynga’s new offices at the Oval in Dublin 4, Segal said the IDA’s strategy of getting involved with young Silicon Valley companies early in their development was fundamental in its decision to come to Dublin.

“The IDA proved invaluable in our efforts. They came to us early and often. They had already reached out to us which was impressive, they were there from the very beginning and despite others’ knocking on our door we hadn’t forgotten they had been there from the beginning and have been incredible partners.”

On the question of how many additional jobs the company intended to create here, Segal said: “There will be additional jobs but I don’t want to cap it.

“Last week, we launched a new game, Empires & Allies, and the purpose of the Dublin operation is to cater for our international user base.”

On the kind of jobs being created Segal said a combination of customer care and business operations roles are top of the list. “As the company continues to scale up we’re open to ideas. All available positions are listed on our website.

“People with multiple languages are key, along with openings in IT, HR and business operations. What we’re really interested in is passionate and creative professionals,” Segal said.

“Zynga has been a hyper-growth company and we’re just getting our feet wet in terms of the international market.”

The Facebook effect

Asked what platforms Zynga is likely to evolve to beyond mobile and PC games, Segal said: “Our mission is to connect the world through games and we’ll go where the players go. Mobile is big and Facebook is big.

“We see ourselves adding more engagement in games which will lead to more meaningful, vibrant games and we’re continuing to prove them and Dublin will play no small part in that.”

I asked Segal what attracted Zynga to Dublin. “There’s a lot of amazing companies in Dublin. If it’s good enough for Facebook it’s good enough for us, too. We’d be crazy not to consider Dublin, it’s a fantastic city.

“The Dublin market for talent has been robust and the talent fantastic,” Segal said.

Officially opening Zynga’s office, the Minister for Enterprise and Jobs Richard Bruton, TD, said: “If we are to achieve growth in the economy and get people back to work, it is crucial that we aggressively target expansion in innovation and the high-tech sectors of the economy. Digital gaming, in particular, is a rapidly growing sector, and with the right policies Ireland is well-positioned to become a world leader in this area.

“Today’s official opening of a facility in Dublin by Zynga is great news and makes our task a little easier; I am determined to build on this announcement to ensure that more multinational and start-up gaming companies can thrive and expand in Ireland.”

IDA Ireland CEO Barry O’Leary added: “Zynga is a very welcome addition to the digital media industry cluster in Ireland with many of the world’s leading ‘born on the internet’ companies having established significant operations here.

“With an ever-increasing number of such companies locating in Ireland, we are well established as the internet capital of Europe,” O’Leary said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years