Today game purveyor Zynga reported its fourth quarter financial performance, including revenue of $311.2 million, and adjusted earnings per share of $0.01. Analysts had expected revenues of $212 million, and earnings per share of -$0.03.

For comparison, in its most recent sequential quarter, Zynga had revenues $317 million, and flat earnings per share of $0.00. In the quarter, the company recorded a GAAP net loss of $48.6 million, or $0.06 cents per share. The horizon is not clear for the firm, however, as the company’s bookings were $261 million in the quarter, down 15% year-over-year basis.

Zynga directly credited the release of FarmVille 2 with the success of the period, calling it “biggest highlight of the quarter.”

Facebook’s new Graph Search feature is widely expected to limit the exposure of certain applications and games. This could materially harm the company.

Here are the key metrics for Zynga’s fourth quarter:

  • Its Daily Active Users were up 3% on a year-over-year basis, to 56 million.
  • Its Monthly Active users increased to 298 million in the fourth quarter, up from 240 million in its year-ago period.
  • However, on a consecutive quarter basis, the company’s monthly active users were down 4% from 311 million in Q3.
  • Average Daily Bookings decreased from $0.061 in Q4 2011, to $0.051 for the most recent quarter, a 17% decline.

For the full 2012 calendar year, Zynga had revenue of $1.28 billion, up 12% compared to 2011’s tally. Bookings declined 1% for the year. On a GAAP basis, the company lost $209.4 million in 2012.

In normal trading Zynga was sharply up, posting a more than 7% gain. Following the announcement of its earnings, Zynga has risen in after hours trading. Zynga, once trading as high as in the mid teens, is struggling to hit the $3 per share mark, but may crack that barrier if trading continues as it is at the moment.

Taking the quarter into context, Zynga has broadly beaten expectations. The company is hardly out of the woods, but its fundamentals appear to be stabilizing enough for the firm to shake off the narrative of its imminent demise. Zynga was worth just over $2.1 billion before its after-hours spike.

Highlighting how much work remains ahead for the firm, Zynga anticipates sharply lower revenue in its first quarter, landing in the range of $255 million to $265 million. The company expects to lose between $12 and $32 million in the period.

That said, Zynga managed to post figures today that should hearten its long-suffering investors that not all is lost. It won’t hurt employee morale, either.

Top Image Credit: Emmanuel Huybrechts