Caleb Garling, in an illustrative post on San Francisco Chronicle’s site, explains why Zynga is failing (and perhaps is destined to fail):
One, since its inception, most of Zynga’s revenue was from users on Facebook. If you are a business, and you have tied your success to another business — especially one with aspirations of world domination — you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak. Zynga tried to get people to go to Zynga.com to play — and avoid Facebook taking about a third of every dollar it made — but never really pulled it off. (And frankly, any app developers with big aspirations should take a lesson.)
Two, your attention span. Most casual gamers don’t want to wait to get to their computers to play. In fact, the best time to play games for many people — those with jobs — is between computer time, commuting or waiting for the dentist.
Three, building games for many different platforms is just hard! You have to deal with different screen sizes and technical requirements, not to mention deciding whether certain devices have a demographic that will create a positive return on investment for that particular game on that particular platform. And all the while, individual developers, that can be a little more nimble, eat away at market share for games on each one.
As for me? I am wary of games (and most apps, really) that are free but target you with in-app purchases. For instance, Real Racing was a great game for iOS, until they decided to ratchet it with in-app purchases.
I only play two of Zynga’s games: Words with Friends and Scramble with Friends.