Zynga Hopes to Ward Off Rivals With Games Barrage

Social games company Zynga is betting an entirely new slate of games based on bingo, casinos and hidden objects will draw in fresh players as rivals circle its dominant position in games on Facebook.

Its biggest-ever expansion to its games lineup was revealed just a few weeks after the company showed a steep drop in quarterly profit. Zynga filed for an initial public offering of up to $1 billion in July, but rough market conditions spurred by the weak economy have forced it to delay its debut, according to media reports.

Chief Executive Mark Pincus unveiled several new games Tuesday at its San Francisco headquarters, including mobile game ``DreamZoo'' where players collect animals, a medieval-themed Facebook game called ``CastleVille'' and a bingo game set in Las Vegas. ``Hidden Chronicles'' allows players to search for concealed objects.

``We challenge ourselves every day to really answer the question, 'how can we get you guys to play?''' Pincus said.

Zynga also unveiled games for Facebook's new official app for Apple's iPad, which can play browser-games that run on HTML5 technology.

Zynga, with 262 million monthly active users on Facebook, has been adept at herding its current players to new games but some analysts question how it can keep adding users on Facebook, where Electronic Arts and other rivals are coming out with successful games. EA's ``The Sims Social'' Facebook game now has more players than FarmVille, according to Appdata.

To wean itself off a heavy reliance on Facebook -- which takes a 30 percent cut of any revenue earned -- the company unveiled Zynga Direct, an online platform for players to find games directly from Zynga. Pincus said it took two years to develop.

While Zynga did not release many details on Zynga Direct, it showed glimpses, code-named ``Project Z.'' The new service will connect to Facebook, but will also feature game play outside of the social network.

For the first time, players can sign up for zTags, or gamer tags that keep track of their playing through Zynga's website and not on Facebook.

Zynga is already trying to publish games for other platforms. Mafia Wars 2 -- the sequel to its popular Facebook game --debuted this week on Google Inc's Google+ in addition to the world's largest social network.

Like Hollywood studios, Zynga also needs to keep releasing new hits to sustain its growth.

After a months-long dry spell for new games, Zynga said in September that profit dived to $1.4 million from $14 million a year earlier. Its sequential quarterly profit also fell more than 90 percent, from $16.8 million in the three months ended March.