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Star Wars coming to smartphones through Zynga-Disney deal

There is hardly any other video game that matches the Star Wars in terms of popularity and the number of versions published. That explains why almost every game maker wants to have a share of the iconic game franchise, and today we have probably as many versions of the game as the Star Wars characters.

Zynga (ZNGA), the latest to join the group, is all set to take forward the Star Wars saga, but with a difference.  Pursuant to a partnership with Walt Disney (DIS), the San Francisco-based video game maker will be developing and publishing a mobile version of Star Wars. Investor sentiment got a boost from the game-changing association and the company’s stock is gaining steadily.

“We look forward to extending the reach of the Star Wars universe and developing a new mobile game that entertains players for years to come and has the potential to be a future forever franchise for Zynga,” said CEO Frank Gibeau.

Investor sentiment got a boost from the game-changing association and the company’s stock is gaining steadily

Under the terms of the deal, Zynga will also gain the rights to operate the live service of Star Wars: Commander – a real-time strategy game developed by Disney a few years ago – besides an option to develop a second Star Wars games in future.

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It is expected that the partnership with Disney will help Zynga regain its lost foothold in the online gaming market, in the wake of the recent mass migration of users of its Facebook (FB) game Farmville to smartphone-based games.

The new Star Wars series will be developed by NaturalMotion, the gaming studio struggling to stay afloat since it was acquired by Zynga four years ago for $527 million. The latest venture assumes great significance as it allows the company to monetize NaturalMotion.

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Experts believe that the company, which is currently riding on the success of recently acquired mobile games such as ‘Merge Dragons’, is on track to achieve its turnaround target. The latest development points to margin growth in the later part of the year and beyond aided by additional revenues from the mobile segment and the live services.

Zynga’s shares were trading in the positive territory after the company announced the Disney deal Wednesday, recovering from the recent losses. The stock closed the day surging 7.75% to $4.03.

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