Big online gaming co. Zynga opening 1st East Coast office in Baltimore area
Some of you have been seeing the job ads posted locally for a couple weeks now and wondered what Zynga Inc. was doing recruiting in the Baltimore area.
I'll tell you what they're doing: they're opening their first East Coast office, here in the Baltimore/Timonium area, hiring 12-15 people, and calling it Zynga East.
One of the biggest companies in the booming field of online social gaming, Zynga has come to the East Coast -- and chosen Baltimore (er, maybe Timonium) to plant their flag. If you've ever played Mafia Wars or Texas Hold'Em or Pirates or Scramble on Facebook or MySpace, you've played a Zynga game.
To lead Zynga East, Zynga hired Brian Reynolds, an 18-year veteran of the Baltimore-area gaming scene who co-founded Firaxis Games (Hunt Valley) and Big Huge Games (Timonium), which was bought last month by Curt Schilling's (yes, the retired Major League Baseball pitcher) 38 Studios.
(That's Brian Reynolds to the left, in a pic taken Feb. 17, 1999 by a Sun photographer, when he was VP of software development at Firaxis Games, and designed the game Alpha Centauri. Sorry Brian, couldn't find a more recent pic in our archives.)
A Zynga spokeswoman told me in an email last night that Reynolds will be bringing some of his "key associates" to work with him.
Zynga East will be working on a new online game, but the company wouldn't say what it was about.
Reynolds has a deep background in building strategy games, so maybe that's what we can expect to see more of?
The Baltimore area has become a bit of a game developer's haven.
Zynga's presence here will add a new competitive dimension to the game development scene, with online gaming being white-hot right now. And Zynga itself is a buzz machine.
They've attracted something like $40 million in investment capital and they're reportedly cash flow positive, with around 250 employees. It reportedly has sales of around $100 million and is profitable, but it's privately held, so we don't know how profitable.
BusinessWeek's Valley Girl has the good lowdown on the company and how -- you ask -- it's actually supposedly making all this money. Basically, it seems people are willing to pony up a few bucks here and there to play their games. They've got 12 million daily users and 50 million monthly users, the company reports.
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