Zynga Teams Up With Konami, Other Platform Partners

Less than two weeks after launching its games platform Zynga.com, leading social game services provider Zynga announced three more platform partners: Konami, Playdemic and Rebellion. Zynga unveiled its games platform and partners MobScience, Sava Transmedia and Row Sham Bow last March 1. Zynga also announced zCloud, its own cloud infrastructure platform for social game developers.

Zynga launches gaming and development platform: zynga.com and Zcloud, expands its developer team base with Konami, Playdemic and Rebellion

Zynga expands its developer team base with Konami, Playdemic and Rebellion. MobScience, Sava Transmedia and Row Sham Bow are already in the stables. (Image: Zynga)

Optimism All Around

Zynga’s platform partners will develop and publish games on the Zynga Platform, gaining access to 240 million monthly active users who currently play Zynga games. Rob Dyer, head of platform partners at Zynga expressed his enthusiasm for the latest additions to the team.

From Konami, one of the most esteemed game creators of our time, to the talented teams at Playdemic and Rebellion – we’re honored to welcome these new Zynga Platform partners. All three represent some of the best game development talent in the industry. Zynga Platform is about bringing great games to a captive audience that loves to play, and we’re dedicated to creating the best destination for social games for players and developers alike.

Mr. Kazuhiko Uehara, corporate officer and senior vice president of Konami Digital Entertainment, Co. Ltd., looks forward to working with Zynga.

We are thrilled to partner with Zynga to bring Konami games to the heart of the gaming audience on Zynga.com and Facebook. This new partnership accelerates Konami’s continued success as a top global social games developer and underscores our commitment to provide high quality gaming experiences to the ever-growing social space. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with Zynga to create the best environment possible for playing social games.

Playdemic founder and CEO Paul Gouge sees a good future with its former rival in Facebook.

Our partnership with Zynga is not only a fantastic opportunity to grow the audience of Gourmet Ranch and Crossword Buddies, but also to work hand-in-hand with social gaming experts at the undisputed market leader. We have incredible talent at Playdemic and have already been successful on Facebook, but we know that working with Zynga will rapidly accelerate our growth and bring our games to more players.

Rebellion CEO and creative director Jason Kingsley is optimistic at expanding with — and because of Zynga.

We’re very excited to be working with a company of Zynga’s caliber. Our goal is to bring Rebellion games to a broader audience while learning from Zynga’s mastery of the social gaming space. Through the Zynga Platform, we’ll release our first-ever social game. We can’t wait to show players what we’ve been working on.

Short History of Zynga

Zynga was established in 2007 and the following year bought a large virtual world social network game, YoVille. The company came into the fore as the popular games provider for social networking titan Facebook. The relationship was not all wine and roses, however. In May 2010 Facebook required Zynga to use Facebook Credits for monetization in its games. The social network giant also demanded that Zynga only host its games on Facebook, but this deal spluttered and died. Zynga wanted out, and hinted at creating its own gaming and development platform. That same month, both parties settled down and signed a five-year deal expanding the use of Facebook Credits in Zynga games.

The company went public (NASDAQ: ZNGA) in December last year after raising up to $1 billion in an initial public offering in July. Zynga reported 59 percent increased revenues from advertising and the sale of virtual goods (compared to 2010). The company also reported a net loss of $435 million due to a one-time $510 million employee stock compensation expense. The stock is currently trading in the $13 to $14 range, peaking at $14.7 after the company announced the team-up with developers for Zynga.com and zCloud on March 1.

Analogy and Thoughts on Zynga and Facebook

It’s a profitable, but rocky marriage at best, where Zynga benefits from over 800 million Facebook users, and Facebook’s balance sheet last year showed it made 12% of its revenues from Zynga. The game developer’s expansion into platform and cloud games development reminds one of a wife’s attempt to distance herself from an overbearing husband by joining the church choir or a ladies’ book club.

One can call Zynga’s games as Facebook’s adopted children — CityVille, CastleVille,Texas HoldEm Poker, FarmVille, and Empires & Allies — among others, and CityVille as their poster child (having over 54 million monthly active users as of December last year). In July last year, the two companies agreed to an exclusivity clause to their existing 2010 agreement, where all of Zynga’s “kids” will stay with Facebook until the end of the contract (2015), and Zynga isn’t allowed to sleep around with other social network sites. Zynga is also supposed to tell Facebook when she’s pregnant (a new game) one week before giving birth (product release).

That means either Zynga has really let herself go (even a pregnancy isn’t obvious anymore) or Facebook is just too busy (or obtuse) to notice. I think both companies are looking forward to 2015 with excitement and trepidation. Excitement at getting rid of each other, and trepidation because they know they will miss one another terribly.