It has been little over a year since social gaming company Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) completed its IPO. Investors' interest in social media and Internet IPOs was at its peak when Zynga listed its shares on the public market. However, it has been downhill ever since for ZNGA and other social media stocks.
Since the IPO, Zynga shares have fallen more than 72%. The stock has tumbled amid concerns over the company's growth. Zynga has also been affected by a mass exodus of senior management.
Many reasons have been cited for Zynga's problems, including the company's "freemium model". While Zynga has a very large user base, the company has struggled to monetize this asset. Perhaps the biggest problem for Zynga has been the shift to mobile.
However, the social gaming company has been making efforts to revive growth. Back in October 2012, the company had announced a cost reduction plan. The company also plans to focus on mobile. However, the thing that has excited investors the most is Zynga's plan to enter real money gaming.
In October, Zynga announced an exclusive partnership to offer real money online Poker and Casino games in the U.K. market. Last month, the company said that it filed a preliminary application to run real-money gambling games in the state of Nevada.
Zynga is pinning hopes on real money gaming to revive growth. And the company is putting a concerted effort as it looks to branch out into real money gaming.
According to a report by Envision IP, which is an intellectual property research firm, Zynga has acquired a number of new patents over the past year, with emphasis on gambling. In just a year, Zynga's patent portfolio has expanded from 1 patent and 9 pending to 89 patents and 36 pending. Maulin Shah, Managing Director of Envision, told All Things Digital that Zynga acquired around 38 or so patents from Walker Digital, and of these 38 patents, 33 are related to casino gaming and gambling technologies.
The casino gaming and gambling patents relate to technology that enables users to place wagers, team play with a casino slot club, and making payouts based on predefined rules among others. Shah further said that Zynga probably found it prudent to get some patents before they entered the online gambling space.
This is not all. According to a report from All Things Digital last month, Zynga launched two landing pages in the U.K., which are likely to become home to 180 casino games.
The acquisition of patents from Walker Digital suggests that Zynga is going all-out as it looks to launch real money gaming. This is not surprising considering that the company's future relies heavily on the success of real money gaming operations.
Disclosure: I am long ZNGA.