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Zynga paints 2013 as its 'year of mobilization'

Company says mobile now accounts for almost one quarter of its monthly average game usage.

Quarterly earnings calls have a tendency to sprawl. But sitting down today in front the microphones to discuss Zynga's fourth-quarter earnings, the company's brass went out of their way to make sure that at least one consistent message emerged from the chatter.

"2013 will be a year of mobilization for Zynga," said Chief Operating Officer David Ko.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus Larry Busacca/Getty Images

That's not sounding like much of a stretch. Zynga said 72 million of its monthly active users now play games on mobile devices, or almost a quarter of the company's 298 million total monthly users. What's more, mobile represents 21 percent of bookings compared with 8 percent a year ago. That 72 million number -- the first time the company offered up hard stats on mobile MAUs, or monthly average users -- is also up 75 percent from the same quarter a year ago, Zynga said.

That helps explain the context when Zynga CEO Mark Pincus described 2013 as "a pivotal transition year" for Zynga, one he said would be annotated by the delivery of "a whole new class of mobile-social games that make it easier and better to play across mobile and social platforms."

In playing up the successes registered by its ongoing move into mobile, Zynga's execs echoed comments heard from other high-profile Internet companies this quarter, such as Facebook and Google testifying to the broader shift in how people access the Internet.

Pincus said Zynga won't spend much time supporting mobile games that don't show promise and will be "calling the ball" sooner with an eye toward discontinuing games that aren't panning out. "We are creating a network that will make it easier for people to play together," Pincus said. "It will offer a powerful distribution channel."

But Zynga's not anticipating a big immediate financial impact. CFO Mark Vranesh said on the call that the company doesn't expect its mobile games to "have a meaningful contribution to 2013 revenues." Though clearly that's something Zynga could use as it seeks to rebound from what, by any definition, was its very own annus horribilus.

Zynga's stock over the last year Yahoo Finance