Zynga announced this morning FarmVille 2: Country Escape, a new mobile game that will allow players to connect both on and off line to play the new game, any way they want, anytime they want.
"FarmVille pioneered social gaming on the web, and with FarmVille 2: Country Escape we've reimagined the franchise as a mobile experience to match how players want to connect with their farm and with their friends," said Jonathan Knight, vice president of games, at Zynga in the press release. "The foundation of the mobile game was built on listening to player feedback, so we've added features such as giving players the choice to play with friends or on their own, connectivity between the mobile game and FarmVille 2 on Facebook and the ability to play offline. We've created an experience where all FarmVille fans will feel right at home. As we focus on growing and sustaining this beloved franchise, we're proud for FarmVille 2: Country Escape to usher in a new chapter of FarmVille on the go."
Available today for free, FarmVille 2: Country Escape is available on Apple's (AAPL) App Store for iPhone and iPad and on Google (GOOG) Play. Zynga also noted that Farmville 2 would be coming soon to Kindle tablets, but did not give a specific timeframe.
Included in the new mobile game are the same features FarmVille players were accustomed to, including growing crops, nurturing animals, collecting rare treasures, crafting goods to sell to local merchants and trading with friends. The new game now allows players to play a single player experience in Anonymous Mode, "completing quests, selling goods and expanding their farms at their own pace."
For those who wish to play with others, players can connect directly from the GameCenter on iOS or Google Play Games Services and collaborate with other players. There's also the option to connect to Facebook (FB) "to access all social features, visit their Facebook friends' farms and share special "Speed Seed" with friends to accelerate progress."
Gamers also have the option to play the game without an Internet connection, playing the game, then connecting to the Internet later to save the progress. Farmville 2, which was previously released on the web, will continuously be updated by San Francisco-based Zynga, as the company rolls out new features.
Zynga has had problems staying relevant as the company loses talent, having to replace its former CEO and co-founder Marc Pincus with Microsoft (MSFT) veteran Don Mattrick, and amid concerns that the mobile gaming industry isn't as large or as profitable as initially thought.
Though Zynga released fourth-quarter results in January that topped Wall Street estimates, the company is still not profitable. For the fourth-quarter, Zynga reported a net loss of $25 million, as daily active users (DAUs) fell to 27 million. That was down from the loss of $49 million in the year-ago period, when the company had 56 million DAUs, but up from the third-quarter net loss of $68,000. The company lost 3 cents on a per share basis, topping estimates by a penny.
The San Francisco-based firm also announced it would be cutting 15% of its workforce, and lowering its spending on datacenter infrastructure. Zynga estimated the cost reduction strategy will lead to pre-tax savings of $33 million to $35 million in 2014.
For 2014, Zynga said it expects between $760 million and $810 million in bookings, vs. Wall Street estimates of $629 million. Zynga also announced it would spend $527 million in cash and equity to buy privately held, UK-based mobile game developer NaturalMotion, in an effort to accelerate the company's mobile growth.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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