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'Merge Magic!' helps Zynga top bookings estimates

The Zynga logo is pictured at the company's headquarters in San Francisco

(Reuters) - Mobile game developer Zynga Inc <ZNGA.O> topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly bookings on Wednesday, riding on the success of its new titles "Merge Magic!" and "Game of Thrones Slots Casino".

The company reported bookings of $433 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, beating average analysts' estimate of $418.8 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Bookings indicate future revenue including sales of virtual goods, such as currency and lives, within the games.

The "FarmVille"-maker has been strengthening its hold on the fast-growing mobile gaming market through a slew of acquisitions and licensing agreements with media outlets to publish themed games of popular franchises.

The company expects full year bookings to be at $1.75 billion, marginally higher than analysts' average estimate of $1.73 billion.

Zynga has also been investing heavily to promote its core franchises including "Empires & Puzzles" and "Merge Dragons!", as mobile-centric game makers face the heat from big-budget titles' mobile versions such as "Call of Duty: Mobile" and "Need for Speed: No Limits".

Quarterly sales and marketing expenses jumped 90% to $127.7 million.

Zynga's average mobile daily active users, who log-in to play games such as "Tiny Royale" and "Words with Friends 2", fell 2% in the quarter to 20 million, from a year earlier, hit by loss of users in older mobile titles including "Zynga Poker" and "Words With Friends".

Total Revenue rose 62.6% to $404.5 million, falling short of analysts' expectation of $418.56 million.

Zynga, which also makes money through advertisements on its free-to-play games, said revenue from advertising rose 11%, and accounted for 19.7% of its total quarterly revenue.

The company reported a quarterly net loss of $3.5 million, break even on per share basis, compared to a net profit of $559,000, break even on per share basis, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)