The world´s largest play-money poker site took its first steps into the real world yesterday and got a muted response from the online poker community.
Launched exclusively in the UK, Zynga Plus Poker is effectively a skin on the Bwin.Party network which uses the same software and combines player pools from other skins on the network (Empire Poker, WPT Poker, Gamebookers Poker and DanskeSpil.dk). Launched at a time when online poker site after online poker site seems to be closing down, had any poker players in the UK registered an account with Zynga Poker in the hope they would find a player pool swimming with fish, they were to be disappointed.
A marginal increase in real money players on the Bwin.Party network has been reported during the late afternoon, but nothing that would indicate a flood of new players registering accounts with Zynga Plus Poker, and only a 150 player increase in day-on-day peak traffic. As any number of factors could have accounted for the 3 percent increase in peak traffic, it is difficult to acclaim the launch of real money cash games on Zynga Poker as an outstandang success.
Where Would the New Players Have Come From?
As PokerNewsReport forecast last year prior to the announcement of the partnership with Bwin.Party, the launch of real money cash games on Zynga Poker was unlikely to set the world on fire due to the limited number of existing Zynga Poker players over the age of eighteen in the UK who did not already have a real money poker account with another online poker provider.
Furthermore, limited marketing in the UK and a promotion schedule which was nothing out of the ordinary meant that those few people who were aware of the launch did not receive the necessary encouragement to abandon their existing online pursuits to play on Zynga Poker´s new site (It would take more than a fifteen quid instant bonus to persuade most players to play on the Bwin.Party software).
A Lesson Learned for Zynga?
The UK launch of real money poker on Zynga was only the first of a series of steps the company intends to take to get a foothold in the online poker market. Zynga Poker has already applied for an online gaming licence in Nevada and plan to roll out Facebook and mobile versions of their real money software later in the year.
Writing in his blog earlier this week, Barry Cottle – Chief Revenue Officer of Zynga Inc – said
Our long term vision is to offer our players the next generation of real money games on multiple platforms in regulated markets worldwide. This is just the beginning for us and we’re looking forward to seeing what our UK players think about ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino, and creating the most valuable casino games and social experiences for them.
Hopefully the muted response to the Zynga Poker UK launch will tell him that his company must do better next time!