Photo: Matt Rosoff Business Insider
We’re here at the Zynga Unleashed event in the company’s brand new headquarters in San Francisco, and the company is planning to announce 10 new products.Among the announcements is a new Zynga-specific social gaming platform called code-named Project Z and three new mobile games that integrate with Facebook’s new mobile platform, which was announced yesterday.
Project Z won’t launch until next month, but users can sign up for a Zynga-specific handle that ties into their Facebook account. So for instance, I could sign up for a name like “MattyDread” and it would be automatically tied to my Facebook account, with all my friends available for play.
Eventually, the idea is that users will be able to play Zynga games between multiple platforms — you could log in on Facebook, then later pick up the game on Google+ or a mobile phone. This is part of a larger direct-to-consumer strategy that CEO Mark Pincus is calling Zynga Direct.
The ambiguity is probably because this is a sensitive issue — Zynga wants to be seen as not being too dependent on Facebook, but also doesn’t want to anger its main distributor.
Some of the event seemed like an effort to make Zynga seem more “serious” and address the criticism that most of its revenue comes from very few users.
For instance, CEO Mark Pincus explained that Zynga wants people like the assembled reporters — busy people — to play more games. Chief technical officer Cadir Lee explained how the company is one of the biggest users of public-private cloud computing, often bringing 1,000 new severs online in a single week when a new game goes online, and said that Zynga has a lot of analytics data from tracking more than 4 billion person-to-person connections that go through its games.
The new games included Castleville — the next game in its “-ville” series — Mafia Wars 2 (which is live on Google+ as well as Facebook right now) and Hidden Chronicles, the first “hidden object” game from Zynga. The company also announced five new mobile games, including DreamZoo (where you collect animals to put in a zoo) and Mafia Shakedown, the first extension of the Mafia Wars franchise to mobile.
Update: A spokesperson clarified that Project Z is the codename for the new social gaming authentication platform being built by Zynga. It is part of Zynga Direct, which is the company’s broader direct-to-consumer strategy.