iPhone Developer Spotlight: Steve Lurie of Zynga Mobile

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AppCraver is partnering up with AdMob to highlight some of the developers that are using the AdMob mobile advertising platform. Steven Lurie, General Manager of Zynga Mobile, comes to us courtesy of this partnership. Here are Zynga's experiences developing social gaming apps for the iPhone and iPod touch and their new app Vampires.

When did you start developing apps for the iPhone? Did you have previous experience as a developer?

Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 9.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users. Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Tagged, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist. The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.zynga.com. iPhone applications started in 2008 and is a major focus for the company.

What / how many apps have you made so far?

Zynga presently has three games on the iPhone: Mafia Wars, Live Poker and Scramble Live. A fourth is about to launch.

What type of apps/games/software inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

Social gaming is the focus for Zynga: enabling users to play with friends.

How do you settle on the price point for your apps?

Zynga offers fully-functional free games with the option for users to purchase virtual goods, such as extra poker chips. There are some paid apps on the iPhone that bundle chips or points.

What has been the best thing about designing for the iPhone?

The device is elegant and favored by a broad set of users for their mobile gaming needs. We like that you can reach 30M+ iPhone and iPod Touch users by developing for one platform.

What has been the biggest challenge about designing for the iPhone?

Currently, the v2.2 platform does not support virtual goods for free apps as well as other mechanisms for users to notify their friends. The next version of the operating system for the iPhone addresses some of these constraints on social gaming.

Is your company venture backed or privately held?

Venture backed: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.

Do you have any other apps in the works?

Yes (a Vampires game)

What apps do you have on your iPhone?

Mafia Wars, Live Poker, Scramble Live

What do you like to do when you're not coding for the iPhone?

Community service Triathlons Theater

One last thing:

Love the iPhone and looking forward to improvements...

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