Words With Friends Creator Zynga to Launch NFT-based Games

The blockchain-based games will target existing play-to-earn participants, a company exec said

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key takeaways

  • Zynga aims to expand its blockchain team from 15 employees to more than 70 by year-end
  • The blockchain gaming industry generated more than $4 billion in 2021, according to DappRadar

Zynga, the gaming giant behind Words with Friends and Farmville, is breaking into blockchain-based gaming.

Matt Wolf, Zynga’s vice president of blockchain, told Axios that in the next year, the company plans to launch NFT (non-fungible token)-based games, make related acquisitions and beef up its staff.

There’s no official launch date behind what Wolf called a “ground-up, dedicated product.”

“Things are really frothy right now,” Wolf said. “So we’re looking at the cycle and we’re figuring out where we want to jump in, but we definitely have feelers out.”

Zynga aims to expand its blockchain team from its current 15 to at least 70 employees by the end of the year — including senior positions such as a creative director and a “tokenomics designer.”

The games, Wolf said, would target players already familiar with the play-to-earn gaming sector.

“When they enter into one of these products, they come at it from an investor or a whale point of view and are interested in specific elements, including yield,” Wolf said. “We don’t want to bring them something that they didn’t ask for.”

The blockchain gaming industry generated more than $4 billion in 2021, according to data provider DappRadar.

Justin Kan, co-founder of streaming platform Twitch and gaming NFT marketplace Fractal, told Blockworks that digital collectables are the future of gaming.

“It’s very obvious now that there’ll be this wave led by gaming and utility NFTs,” Kan said. “There’s already a multi-decade precedent for digital assets that have some sort of utility, and those are things that you have in [gaming.]”

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