Zynga CEO Says Social Gaming Helps Make the Daily Grind More Meaningful

Speaking on a panel yesterday at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference today, Mark Pincus, the CEO and founder of the social gaming giant Zynga shared some interesting statistics and insights on not just the number of players, but on the company's philosophy about gaming. Zynga is the maker of games like Farmville, Frontierville and Mafia Wars, which have become synonymous in many ways with the ways in which people spend their time engaging with each other via Facebook.

Pincus says that Zynga has 215 million active monthly users on Facebook. And according to Pincus, 33 million people played Zynga games -- yesterday. In order to cope with the popularity of its games, Zynga is forced to add up to a thousand new servers on a weekly basis.

The number of Zynga players is astounding, and people spend a considerable amount of their online time, not just on Facebook, but specifically playing social games.

In the words of Pincus today, “We’re on a mission, we want to bring social gaming to the world. We want to connect the world through social games. Anywhere that could be social, we would put our games there."

Gaming -- not just social gaming, but competitive mechanics like points, badges, and titles used by Foursquare among others -- is becoming a more and more important way of engaging users in social media. And undeniably Zynga leads the pack. The privately-held company is estimated to be worth about $5 billion.

Pincus noted today that Zynga runs virtually no display ads. Instead users pay virtual currency for in-game items. The company has been criticized for this sort of "cultivated play," something that is less about gaming or even social connections and more about the social obligations that compel people to spend money within the Zynga economy. But with 33 million people logging in on a daily basis to play Zynga games, it's hard to deny that plenty of people find it fun.

But Zynga insisted today that the company wants “to make the daily grind to have more meaning, in whatever way we can.”

Do you play social games? What do you think about Pincus's ideas about games like Farmville helping to give meaning to the daily grind?

Photp Credit: ronnie05.wordpress.com