Zynga today announced the Zynga Platform, a move that may signal the social game giant’s migration away from its dependence on Facebook, where it makes 93 percent of its revenue. The initiative’s most obvious manifestation will be Zynga.com, a destination for both first and third party games that incorporates social interaction into a fuller user experience that is set to launch in March.
Besides giving Zynga more control over its own revenues and business strategies, the new service enables people to play against other gamers who are not friends on Facebook. Even so, at least initially, players must log on using their Facebook ID and all virtual goods transactions will use Facebook Credits.
At launch, Zynga.com will include five of the company’s most popular titles: CastleVille, Words with Friends, CityVille, Hidden Chronicles and Zynga Poker. Members will have their own networks of zFriends, people with whom to connect and play that are unrelated to a member’s Facebook friends, and the interface features a dedicated social stream, player profiles and live chat.
“These developers will be able to leverage our zCloud infrastructure for scalability and availability and our analytics to measure and drive their social engagement with metrics such as ASN (Active Social Network) which measures how many friends our players interact with,” according to Zynga founder and CEO said Mark Pincus, writing in a blog post. “It’s our hope that our Platform partners, and eventually anyone in the industry, can extend the reach of their games and connect to even more players on Zynga.com. Later this year we’ll make our platform available for all social game developers through a Zynga API.”
The Zynga play service will be available in 16 languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Thai. In addition to inviting developers to promote their games to its 240 million monthly active users, Zynga will enable partners to tap into channels and features that increase social engagement, analytics that measure and drive social, and back end technology that ensures scalability and availability.
Rob Dyer, head of platform partners at Zynga and former senior vice president of Publisher Relations at Sony Computer Entertainment, said, “We’re committed to creating an environment that’s a win, win for everyone involved. We know the challenges of being a game developer, and want to build the best destination for play – not just for players – but for the entire ecosystem as well.”
Over the last year, Zynga has bolstered its own private infrastructure, called zCloud, enabling game studios to quickly scale their games. Zynga will soon enable Platform partners to leverage the technology that Zynga built specifically for creating and scaling social games.
“Zynga.com was created based on listening to players and understanding what they want and need to make their play time more fun and meaningful,” said Manuel Bronstein, general manager of Zynga.com. “We are excited to give players a way to connect with other people who love to play the same games in a destination that is all and only about games. We will continue to listen to player feedback and provide even better ways for them to connect and play together.”
Press release – http://tinyurl.com/7dmsvo5
Marc Pincus blog post – http://tinyurl.com/7j8yt8q