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Despite wanting to be a big player in the mobile games industry, acquiring Zynga to achieve those dreams may have come too late for Take-Two.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

December 21, 2023

2 Min Read
Graphic for Take-Two's acquisition of mobile developer Zynga.
Image via Take-Two.

At a Glance

  • Nearly two years after buying Zynga, Take-Two has yet to find a place for the mobile studio in its larger company plans.

Take-Two's acquisition of mobile developer Zynga may be falling apart, largely from forces outside of its control. Bloomberg's new report details how last year's $12.7 billion acquisition has been upended due to the fluctuating state of mobile games.

Doug Creutz, analyst for Cowen Group, noted the industry changes after the acquisition. "The mobile industry spent the next 18 months correcting," he said.

The biggest change came from Apple's 2021 privacy features, which stopped app developers from user tracking. Since marketers rely so much on that method, the change made finding newer players more difficult.

Bloomberg acknowledged how Zynga changed its strategy following Apple's new policy. But analyst Eric Kress was blunt in saying the developer "wasn't ready" for it, and that "Take-Two saved them."

What's next for Zynga and Take-Two?

Pre-acquisition, Zynga was reportedly struggling, and several titles haven't found an audience. Sales from its five highest-grossing games fell by 23 percent since mid-2022 as part of a larger mobile decline.

Its next big release is Star Wars: Hunters, which has been in development since 2018. That game, meant for both mobile and Nintendo Switch, is expected to release in 2024 after three delays.

Take-Two acquired Zynga for mobile opportunities, which CEO Strauss Zelnick admitted to being too slow on. Bloomberg notes the publisher's plans to bring its franchises to mobile, but Hunters' repeated delays throw that possibility into question.

A Take-Two representative said it aims to be "the largest mobile gaming company in the world." It has phone-specific properties in development, along with a growing mobile ad business that lets it "monetize nearly all our players."

During an earnings call earlier this year, Zelnick acknowledged the mobile industry was "more challenging than anticipated." The publisher has an out in Grand Theft Auto 6, but that game can only do so much.

Bloomberg's full write-up on Take-Two and Zynga's relationship in the wake of the acquisition can be read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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