Zynga revamps hit 'Words With Friends' game

[San Francisco] Pioneering social games maker Zynga on Thursday launched a new version of "Words With Friends" as the company strives to regain its footing in the mobile device age.

The revamped application, marking the game's fifth anniversary, has several new features including solo play offline and a dictionary for learning words, Zynga said in a statement.

The game, which is akin to Scrabble, has become the top free game of all time at Apple's online App Store, Zynga said, and the title is billed as the world's most popular mobile word puzzle, with some 55 million matches happening at any time.

The "Words With Friends" upgrade comes as Zynga's new chief executive Don Mattrick tries to revive the company that leapt to stardom with games tailored for Facebook but was knocked off stride by a shift to play on mobile devices.

Zynga in August vowed to perform better, as its reported losses widened and revenues sank in the second quarter.

The loss for the quarter deepened to US$62.5 million, compared with a deficit of US$15.8 million in the same period a year ago.

Revenues dropped sharply to US$153 million in the three months ending June 30, from US$230 million a year earlier.

The San Francisco company recently announced a new line of sports games under the brand "Zynga Sports 365." Zynga said it signed a licensing deal with the National Football League and NFL Players to use real NFL teams and athletes, as well as a multi-year partnership with Tiger Woods for golf-themed games expected to debut on mobile devices in 2015.

Zynga has also announced a deal with Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment to license the Looney Tunes brand for mobile games, expected to be launched later this year.

"We are further diversifying our product portfolio in order to reach more consumers and widen our demographic across more entertainment genres," Mr Mattrick said during an earnings call.

More than 7.7 billion "Words With Friends" games have been played, with the top five scoring cities listed as Makati, Philippines; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Kingston, Jamaica; Singapore, and the Northern California coastal city of Santa Cruz.


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