Gaming company Zynga sets up India development center

Gaming company Zynga -- behind the popular Facebook app FarmVille -- has set up a new development center in Bangalore that will focus on developing the infrastructure required to support its growing number of users.

The new center will hire about 100 computer engineers and scientists in the first year, who will also be working on developing games, said Shan Kadavil, the company's country manager for India, on Wednesday. In the U.S., Zynga has facilities in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Baltimore.

Zynga has over 235 million monthly active users playing its games on social networks such as Facebook, said Colleen McCreary, a Zynga vice president. FarmVille, for example, has more than 75 million monthly active users.

Monthly active users are the number of unique users that play a game once or more in a month, Kadavil said.

As the number of users has increased, Zynga transfers 2 petabytes of data daily across its various games, said Cadir Lee, the company's CTO. Zynga, which uses cloud computing extensively, needs to develop the infrastructure required to support the new users, he added. The Bangalore center will also develop and localize games for different languages.

Zynga will not develop games targeted only at a specific country but instead ones that have broad worldwide appeal, Lee said.

By setting up an operation in India, Zynga also plans to target Indian users, Kadavil said. The company does not disclose the number of users it has in each country.

Zynga's revenue comes from the 3 to 5 percent of its active users who purchase "virtual goods" while playing the games, Lee said. The company has explored using advertising as a revenue stream, but finds virtual goods more profitable, he said.

"We believe that virtual goods will drive Web 3.0 revenue, just as advertising did for Web 2.0," Lee said.

Zynga is already profitable, Lee said.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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