Zynga beats Q1 expectations with $168 million in revenue, driven by mobile improvements

294531For the first time, Zynga said more people are playing its games on phones than they are computers, indicating that the social-gaming leader has started to make progress on becoming a mobile-first company.

In the first quarter, the San Francisco company lost $61.2 million, or 7 cents a share, on revenues of $168 million to beat analyst expectations of $148 million.

Zynga’s loss, which was driven by restructuring charges of $30 million –  related to the closure of data center facilities — was also in-line with what analysts were expecting.

The company’s financial performance, however, was largely overshadowed by announcing an executive-level shake-up. As I reported separately, Zynga’s Founder Mark Pincus will no longer serve in an operational role, and is stepping down as chief product officer. He will continue as chairman of the board. They also hired a new President of Studios Alex Garden, formerly of Xbox.

Zynga’s mobile highlights in Q1 include:

  • Delivering double-digit mobile audience growth at 11 percent quarter over quarter across monthly active users and 10 percent across daily active users.
  • Daily active users from the Web totaled 12 million vs. 16 million from mobile DAUs, the first time mobile users outnumbered the Web.
  • Monthly active users totaled 62 million, outnumbering 61 million monthly active users on the Web, also a first.
  • Zynga Poker achieved sequential quarterly growth in bookings for the first time in 7 quarters, growing its mobile audience by 19 percent and posting its strongest mobile audience growth in the last 2 years.

Despite these improvements, it’s hard not to point out how far the social-gaming leader has fallen. Daily active users have plummeted to 28 million in the first quarter, compared to 52 million in the same period a year earlier. Monthly users have taken a similar dive, dropping to 123 million, compared to 253 million in the first quarter 2013.