UPDATE 1-Zynga plans to build a gamers' social network
* "Zynga with Friends" to roll out "soon"
* Can connect nearly 300 million users (Adds executive comments, details on network launch)
By Gerry Shih and Malathi Nayak
SAN FRANCISCO, June 26 (Reuters) - Zynga Inc unveiled interactive features and a gamers' social network dubbed "Zynga with Friends" on Tuesday, as it aims to reduce its reliance on Facebook as a platform and seeks to connect hundreds of millions of its users across the Internet.
The company founded by Mark Pincus also plans to provide programming tools to help third-party developers devise online and mobile games based on its own software, to expand its slate of games beyond mainstays such as "Farmville" and "Mafia Wars" on Facebook Inc's network.
"We're opening our doors today and opening Zynga Partners for Mobile. We are inviting developers from all over the world to come and join our network," said David Ko, chief mobile officer.
Zynga wants to create an ecosystem with "best-in-class mobile developers and best-in-class mobile games," Ko said.
Investors worry about Zynga's dependence on Facebook for a large chunk of revenue. On Tuesday, executives took the stage at their San Francisco headquarters to unveil a bevy of interactive features for its Zynga.com website, as it tries to develop a stand-alone network that can hook existing gamers.
The company is launching "Zynga with Friends" soon on the Internet and for mobile users, hoping to connect players across its entire game portfolio, which also includes "Cityville".
Zynga General Manager Manuel Bronstein said the platform could have as many as 290 million users with some 2.8 billion daily social interactions eventually once its rolled out, but he did not specify a timeframe.
The company is also trying to boost mobile usage, targeting a small but faster-growing wireless device gaming market that is quickly becoming a crucial battleground for so-called casual or social gaming.
Zynga also announced a new title, "Matching with Friends" to boost its offerings for mobile phones.
The company said it will also team up with Atari to develop games, but did not elaborate.
Zynga executives said they will provide developers a set of "application programming interfaces" - APIs - to make it easier for them to craft games using Zynga's software. (Editing by Edwin Chan and Tim Dobbyn)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this