Social gaming startup Zynga got off to a strong start following its 2007 launch, ultimately becoming a publicly traded company in late 2011. With market analysts now starting to question the sustainability of its business model, Zynga's revitalized patent strategy seems to suggest a move into the online gambling space.
As investors awaited Facebook's initial public offering in 2012, researchers from Envision IP decided to conduct a rudimentary search of the patent holding of various social networking companies. At the time, Zynga had just one registered U.S. patent and nine pending applications. Over the last year, that patent portfolio has now expanded to 89 patent awards and 36 applications.
Approximately one-third of those holdings came by way of acquisition, but the subject matter may be more important than scope. According to Envision, 33 of those patents directly relate to casino gambling or gambling technologies.
According to All Things Digital, this moves aligns well with market perception that Zynga is moving away from monetizing social media activity and toward real-money gaming. The company already has two U.K.-based landing pages in place for what could become elaborate online gaming marketplaces, but acquiring the necessary regulatory licenses in the U.S. could significantly delay domestic progress.