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Zynga banks fluke profit - won't happen again, says CEO

Gimme more time, says chief in Q2 woe forecast

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Top dogs at Zynga say the online gaming firm just needs a little more time to turn around its losing streak - after forecasting worse losses than expected for this year's second quarter.

The struggling FarmVille maker managed to scrape together a surprise profit for the first three months of this year after cutting costs, but it has lost nearly a third of its monthly unique paying players (MUPs) since the same period in 2012. It expects to lose between $26.5m and $36.5m in Q2 2013.

"[This year] remains a transition year and we continue to expect uneven, non-linear results," chief exec Mark Pincus admitted in a conference call with analysts (full transcription available on Seeking Alpha).

"This reflects the challenging environment on the web and our need to execute more consistently on new game development, similar to what you’ve seen us do with FarmVille 2."

Zynga came up with earnings of one cent-per-share; not very much dosh for shareholders, but better than the four cent-per-share loss that analysts were expecting. However, the company reckons it will lose between three and five cents a share this quarter.

The San Francisco-based firm, which also makes the popular Words with Friends Scrabble clone interactive board-based word game, clawed its way up to $4.1m in net income last quarter, compared to an $85.3m loss in Q1 2012, on revenues of $263.6m.

The firm's stocks have lost two-thirds of their value since spring of last year as its dependence on Facebook and lack of presence on mobile continue to look like shaky foundations for ongoing profits.

Management continues to insist that an upturn is just around the corner, however, supplied by a move onto mobile devices and into "real-money gaming" - or in plain language, gambling.

"We’re excited about the entire category of the social casino, from poker to the growth we’re seeing in other parts of free, like Slots and Bingo and integrated casinos; especially on mobile where we are seeing a very broad market for a range of products and a fairly broad audience," Pincus told analysts.

However, he admitted that that there were "regulatory obstacles that we can't predict or control". ®

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