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Why Mobile Is So Important to Fixing Zynga, in One Chart

Mobile gaming has far surpassed social gaming's peak.

With founder Mark Pincus recently reinstated as CEO of Zynga, the pressure is on to make mobile work, a task that challenged the interregnum-boss, Don Mattrick.

It’s still common for people to think of Zynga as a social gaming company, in reference to the days when you couldn’t do anything on Facebook without getting a game notification (often from a Zynga game), to the aggravation of some users. When Facebook changed its algorithm in 2012 to only surface games to people who wanted to see them, Zynga’s growth stumbled.

After the initial crunch, as shown in this chart based on data provided to Re/code by SuperData, social games have stagnated. Meanwhile, mobile games have kept growing and growing:

Social gaming’s all-time revenue peak, $268 million in May 2012, was eclipsed by mobile just over a year later, when sales came to $271 million in July 2013. Today, the disparity is more than 2 to 1.

And this chart only tells the United States’ side of the story. SuperData estimates that mobile gaming revenue in Asia came to about $11.3 billion in 2014, nearly three times bigger than it is here.

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