tiger woods, zynga background

Tiger Woods just inked a video game deal with Zynga

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Tiger Woods’ real-life golf game may be suffering, but social game developer Zynga still has confidence in his virtual presence in the video game world.

On Thursday, Zynga announced that it’s partnering with Tiger Woods as well as the National Football League to develop sports-themed games on mobile platforms. The Tiger Woods golf game is being created in part by game developers who previously worked on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise of sports games published by Electronic Arts.

Zynga is also working on NFL Showdown, which sounds like a treat for fantasy football fans. Players will build their own NFL teams using real players from the league. 

Zynga is best known to the general public for the Facebook game Farmville. It’s known in industry, however, for bringing to the forefront the debate about the general quality of social games, and for its dependence on finding big spenders to generate profits, as demonstrated through the success of Farmville.

Zynga’s financial health began to decline in early 2012, with significant drops in their user base in 2013. Zynga’s CEO, Don Mattrick took the helm of the company in July 2013 amid investors’ fears about the future of the company and news that Zynga would no longer be pursuing real-money games in the United States. 

“We need to get back to basics and take a longer term view on our products and business,” said Mattrick in a statement shortly after taking over leadership of the company.

Mattrick previously served as the president of worldwide studios for video game mega-publisher Electronic Arts. Sports franchises like MaddenFIFANHL, and PGA Tour represent a sizeable chunk of EA’s portfolio. 

Mattrick was also the president of the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft, and oversaw the company’s gaming efforts on PC and the Xbox 360. Mattrick introduced the Xbox One console in May 2013, an exclusive partnership with the NFL to provide an enhanced sports viewing experience on the console was large part of the sales pitch.

H/T USA Today | Photo via Keith Allison/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed