Zynga is taking the first step in distancing itself from Facebook, the platform on which it first rose to greatness, in an effort to convince investors that it won’t always be dependent on the social network for users and revenues.
On its blog, Zynga just announced that it will allow users to sign up for game accounts on Zynga.com without linking them to Facebook. That, in turn, will allow users to play games like FarmVille 2 under any identity they like. (Logging in with Facebook will continue to be an option.)
In November, Facebook and Zynga revealed that they’d revised a longstanding agreement under which Zynga gave preference to developing games on Facebook in exchange for special privileges on the Facebook platform. (Facebook and Zynga also dropped a provision forbidding Facebook from developing its own games, but Facebook has made it very clear that it has no plans to do so.)
For Zynga, it’s crucial to have user accounts that can move between mobile and desktop games, and the reliance on Facebook has been limiting in that regard.
But it’s not clear that Zynga’s own website will be as effective in encouraging users to sign up for games that their friends play as the status updates and ads Zynga placed on Facebook were in the heyday of social gaming.
Facebook, in turn, has been trying to make money by charging app developers like Zynga for ads that prompt mobile users to download an app.
So the companies will continue to be intertwined for a while, even as Zynga tries to stake out a more independent path.
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