Breaking and exciting news for all you (social) gamers and developers out there: The leading social gaming company, Zynga, is launching its own website under Zynga.com as a standalone gaming platform. Does the company going to break up with Facebook? Apparently, not quite yet…
Zynga has announced yesterday that later on this month it is expected to launch Zynga.com (in beta release at first) as a self social gaming platform to serve the company’s games and third-party developer’s games. Here’s a screenshot of how Zynga.com homepage would look like:
This is a pretty ballsy strategic move from Zynga. Right now, about 90% of the company’s revenue comes from Facebook alone and changing the status quo is certainly a big risk. However, a risk worth taking. Although (as I will explain next) this is far from a complete separation, it would still makes Zynga more independent and less reliable on Facebook.
But even though Zynga is taking its own journey, at least for the foreseen future its fate will be still very much connected with Facebook. Users will login to the new site using Facebook Connect and the games payment system will continue to be Facebook Credits (which Facebook taxing 30% on). As stated in Zynga’s press release:
“Zynga.com is one of the first sites to be totally integrated with Facebook as an extension of the companies strong and collaborative partnership. It will allow players to log in with their Facebook ID and easily play games with their existing Facebook friends, as well as other people who love to play the same games.”
Obviously that now Zynga has a better position to be completely independent if it will choose to do so. It can create its own social networking platform on the site instead of Facebook and it can replace Facebook Credits with its own (no-taxing) payment system. The disadvantages are that it will lose the benefit of Facebook’s gigantic community and familiar user environment.
If you are looking for signs for autonomy, in the beta release of the site Zynga will introduce some unique features which will exclusively operate over the site alone and NOT on Facebook:
Connecting with other people beyond the user Facebook’s friends (called zFriends).
- There will be third party developer’s games which will be exclusive to the site.
- Real-time social stream and live chat on the site platform.
- Unique player site’s profiles characteristics.
From Facebook’s side, it will surely be a big hit if Zynga will decide to leave the social network giant. Zynga’s 240 million monthly active users (according to Zynga’s stats) are generating 12% of Facebook’s total revenue (as disclosed in Facebook’s IPO documents).
One thing is for sure, the definite winners from this move is third-party game developers. Zynga will grant them the possibility to develop and publish their games on the new website which suppose to include advanced analytic and measurement tools, mostly driven from the social engagement metric that measures the player’s active social network (“ASN” as it called by Zynga).
In addition, Zynga put in place a strong server infrastructure for developers called zCloud (supposedly much faster than Facebook’s) which can support high demand games while later on this year it will release its API. At this point, Zynga didn’t disclosed the revenue split with third-party game developers and if Facebook will be a part of it.
Zynga’s investors were very enthusiastic about the announcement and the company’s shares (Zynga is a public company if you didn’t knew, symbol ZNGA) surged by nearly 10% yesterday.
For more information about Zynga’s new website and platform you can watch the following video: