Zynga Steps Back From Facebook?

Well, sort of. Casual-gaming behemoth Zynga, which is now worth more than all the gold in the universe, has announced that its games will now appear in a portal other than Facebook. The new portal, which will be called “Zynga Direct”, will host the usual line-up of Zynga games, without you having to go to Zuckerberg’s House Of Wonders. That’s rendered a bit pointless by it still using Facebook Connect for the multiplayer sort of multiplayerness, allowing you to play on either Direct or Facebook without troubles. (I am guessing this is an advertising-related move?) Zynga also announced a casual medieval-themed MMO called CastleVille, because that name hadn’t been used yet and well someone had to. But that’s not all, they also announced Zynga Bingo, Dream Zoo, Hidden Chronicles and Mafia Wars II.

“Dream Zoo” is a lot more Lynchean in my imagination than I am betting it will be in reality. Shame. Shame.


  1. Stuk says:

    I think it’s obvious that Zynga were/are too dependent on Facebook, and I imagine this is only the first step towards making themselves more independent. I wonder if they might eventually become more like Kongregate and host other’s games for delicious ad revenue?

    • Milky1985 says:

      Oddly tho they need facebook for the social advertising bit of it, i would hazard a guess you coudl track a reduction in play time to go alongside the facebook enforced reduction of pester messages.

      Maybe this is why they want there own portal, so they can increase the pester mesages again

  2. DevilSShadoW says:

    They should just launch their own consoles and be done with it. Seeing how their “games” have practically no requirements they could price their hardware at basically nothing.

    OH GOD

    • Matt says:

      I don’t see their audience as shelling out any money for a specialized piece of hardware, regardless of how low the cost may be.

  3. Baka says:

    Is anybody actually playing some of those games and can comment on the quality of those games? Is their appeal all about trading stuff with your buddies while waiting for things to cool down or are there actual good games hidden inside those microtransactions?

    • Magnetude says:

      Tim Rogers explains the whole thing at great, great length here. (It was in the Sunday Papers a couple of weeks back) It’s terribly long but the first page does a good job of describing what perfect little Skinner boxes Zynga makes.

    • aerozol says:

      Don’t even start playing. It’s mind-numbingly ‘fun’, as your progress is meted out at a scientifically specified rate that makes your brain happy, but you will literally be wasting your time.
      At least WoW is actually MP.. In Zynga games you don’t share screenspace with others.

  4. Carra says:

    Seeing how Facebook otherwise gets 30% of the profits, this comes as no surprise.

  5. Bull0 says:

    Guess it’s Shit Decision Wednesday again. I’d better go put my hat on.

    • Magnetude says:

      That hat doesn’t suit you at all, that was a bad decision.

  6. c-Row says:

    The question is – are people playing these games willing to leave the familiar environment of Facebook to play them on an external website? In other words, are these games good enough to draw people away from FB, or does their huge amount of players come from simple convenience?

    • theleif says:

      To continue frightlevers association, their thinking is probably that facebook will act as their gateway drug. They’ll try to attract the heavy users to their site, hence bypass the 30% facebook tax.
      Probably not a stupid idea.

    • Bull0 says:

      And in the meantime, Zynga’s competitors muscle in on the gap on facebook left by their passing. I really don’t think it’s a good idea at all, but then in spite of the boom and the short-term financial success I’m generally not convinced casual-as-fuck facebook progress bar games are a good idea either.

    • theleif says:

      But as I understand it, they’re not leaving facebook at all, so there is no gap to be filled by competitors. The vast majority of their players will remain on facebook, spamming their friends with game invites, and the active players (heavy spenders) will move to their site. They will get the best of both worlds. Anyway, that’s what I think they are planning.

    • Bull0 says:

      Then it isn’t a news story because nothing is happening.

      I assumed that some part of launching their own portal would involve reallocating some resources away from developing and promoting their shit on facebook. They’ll wind up having less presence there, because they’ll be concentrating on promoting their new site, as it’s more profitable.

      Conjecture, but it’s a paper-thin piece of news to begin with, so sue me

    • aerozol says:

      Zynga doesn’t make bad decisions. They are directly guided by the hand of satan. But yeah, there’s no way this is going to diminish their stranglehold on shit FB games.

  7. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I’m somewhat disappointed they didn’t call it MediaeVille (MedieVille?) instead. Perhaps the name was taken.

  8. somini says:

    What’s the point of creating a sequel to a browser game? How in the hell…

  9. Nijuu says:

    Cityville & there poker game are pretty much the only ones i regularly play (at least for now since im not working), although i have tried many of their other games – many do seem to work on very similar formulae (gets repetitive). And no ive never paid for anything on any of their games:). One thing – the games do slow down (even slightly – but noticeable) once u built up a lot of stuff to display onscreen. I wouldnt go to their website to play the games. Games on FB = kill time while/and or chatting with friends.

  10. malkav11 says:

    Their games already had their own site (or at least, Mafia Wars did. I’ve thankfully never gotten into any of the others). What this probably means is that they’ve collected the lot of them on one non-Facebook site instead of maintaining separate external sites for everything. That’s my guess, anyway.

  11. Lambchops says:

    Cruella Deville-ville.

    Play as an evil fashion designer plotting her way to a swanky designer coat. Use your friends to help you kidnap puppies.

    It’s the next Facebook sensation , I’m telling you!

  12. BurningPet says:

    Anyone tried any of Kixeye’s games? they seem like a better minded company .

    • Provender says:

      Just started playing Kixeye’s Backyard Monsters through Kongregate, also available through Facebook I believe. Gameplay is something between a tower defence and an RTS, although levelling your base up is a big old time sink

      It is genuinely PvP, and the chat room you are automatically included in seems a fairly welcoming place. Can’t see myself playing it for all that long, but it’s easy to dip in and out.

  13. Silphatos says:

    They can’t do shit without Facebook imho.

  14. Bobtree says:

    A story about Zynga and Facebook on RPS? Two thumbs down.

  15. Sigvatr says:

    Honestly, Zynga has probably made a good decision. MySpace died and Facebook will very well die one day too. They are just bracing for the inevitable.

  16. amishmonster says:

    Is that a screenshot of CityVille? It’s directly activating the SimCity 2000 part of my brain and now I want to give it a try.