Zynga Inc. plans to create a new social “lobby” through which players of Zynga’s titles can get together, play and create their own communities without being bound to any particular platform, reports The Verge.
Zynga With Friends, a social gaming network, will be available as a portal through Facebook on the web and on iOS and Android mobile platforms.
Zynga With Friends is “one network, one unified experience, and one social lobby that will for the first time connect all of our players, no matter where they’re playing,” Manuel Bronstein, a senior Zynga executive, explained at a press event in the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.
“The new social features and services are designed for the sole purpose of bringing more people to play together,” Bronstein added.
This means that now Zynga’s players will be able to play with people from iOS devices while using Facebook.
For example, users will be given the opportunity of sharing all of their data back and forth in order to see things like who won the last game. At least, the Zynga With Friends profiles will carry across all of its games.
Zynga said that new network is a good example of the next wave of social technology, moving beyond friendships to personal networks built around people’s interests.
According to the company, “activity within those networks tends to be higher than in a generalized setting, such as Facebook,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
It was also revealed that the company will provide programming tools to help third-party developers publish online and mobile games based on its own software.
The move is aimed to foster a Zynga “ecosystem” that will expand its slate of titles beyond mainstays such as “Farmville” and “Zynga Poker.”
Still, Zynga Inc. shares closed nearly 5 percent lower on Tuesday as investors didn’t see much in the announcement to drive strong long-term growth.
Moreover, they expressed concerns that Zynga is focusing too heavily on casual and casino-type games, while eschewing war simulation shooting games like Activision Blizzard Inc.’s popular “Call of Duty” franchise.
Mark Pincus, Zynga’s chief executive, explained that the company is interested in making games that reach the largest set of users, and that as the games get more advanced, they will inevitably begin to attract more discriminating players used to playing games on a videogame console.
“It’s not about diversifying,” Mr. Pincus said. “It’s about taking the path to get our games in front of the largest possible audience and then deepen the value.”
The company announced “FarmVille 2,” a sequel to its megahit, as well as “Matching with Friends,” an addition to a suite of smartphone games that includes the popular “Words with Friends,” writes Reuters.
“One of the worries is that the whole idea of social gaming seems to be waning somewhat,” said Paul Verna, a gaming analyst at eMarketer.
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of growth left, and the idea of unveiling another Ville game or FarmVille 2 – I don’t get the sense that’s very exciting to the financial investors.”