Zynga was the top dog in social gaming not so long ago, dominating Facebook with FarmVille and other games. It also snagged a few music industry partnerships, while sparking a debate within music about the merits of freemium models and virtual items. With that in mind, it’s worth understanding just what’s happened to the company over the last two years, as it dropped the ball in the transition from Facebook (web) games to smartphones and tablets. Analysis of the firm’s financials by The Guardian reveals that at its peak in Q2 2012, Zynga had 306m monthly active users (MAUs), 72m daily active users (DAUs) and 4.1m monthly unique payers (MUPs – people actually spending money in its games). Over the next 18 months, the company proceeded to lose 63% of its players, ending 2013 with 112m MAUs and 27m DAUs, with only 1.3m MUPs. Under a new CEO, Zynga is trying to come back now, having paid $527m for mobile publisher NaturalMotion. But its decline may be instructive for the music industry: a company that was over-reliant on Facebook for its traffic, and which didn’t manage the transition from a web to mobile-first business.

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