Special report: Zyngaâ??s fearsome expansion

Special report: Zyngaâ??s fearsome expansion

By Rob Crossley

February 18th 2010 at 1:41PM

Third expansion in February as Zynga deploys satellite studio in the lucrative Indian market

One of the fastest-growing game studios in the world has decided to aggressively accelerate its reach and capacity by opening a new studio in India.

Zynga’s new Bangalore studio – the firm’s fourth since formation in 2007 – offers a phenomenally lucrative Indian market.

India boasts a frighteningly fast-growing middle-class market, keen to adapt to the western consumer conscience. Industry estmiates suggest that the nation has over 81 million internet users.

And netbooks are widely seen as the device that can flourish in the nation – to the point where Indian mobile operator Reliance Communications recently offered free netbooks in a bid to sell phone contracts.

India’s surge in netbook, laptop and desktop usage provide an ideal backdrop for Zynga to sell its free-to-play games, which are based on Flash and demand little CPU power. It’s a conscious move that could see company’s fortunes erupt.

The announcement of Zynga’s new Indian studio follows the firm’s other two big moves to expand the company – both of which were announced this month.

Early in February the group said it is set to open a new development studio in Los Angeles, providing Zynga with local access to Silicon Valley’s breeding ground of talented developers.

Days later, it was revealed that Zynga acquired fellow Facebook studio Serious Business, which will see the latter company’s staff (or a number of them) join Zynga's headquarters in San Francisco.

The social game market continues to boom, with numerous companies staking huge sums of money on the sector’s long-term health.

EA recently spent at least $300 million on buying Playfish, and Microsoft was recently linked to a possible $200 million buyout California-based developer CrowdStar.

Despite its sometimes controversial monetisation practices, Zynga is proving itself to be a social gaming market leader.

If the social bubble ever does burst, and today that's seen as a big if, Zynga has surely positioned itself as the first to fall on its sword.