Zynga took its first step in taking social gaming and gambling beyond Facebook last week with the launch of Zynga.com. The site launched with 5 games – Castleville, Words With Friends, CityVille, Hidden Chronicles and Zynga Poker.
“We wanted it to be as easy and seamless as possible for players,” said John Schappert, Zynga’s chief operating officer. “We think it’s complementary to Facebook.” Players on Zynga.com can “friend” other people without having to share their Facebook profile information. Those connections, called “Z Friends,” see only one another’s game activity and are able to help one another complete their game quests.
The relationship between Zynga and Facebook is symbiotic. Though the social network commands an audience of more than 850 million active members, it relied on Zynga for 12% of its revenue last year, according to documents Facebook filed in conjunction with its initial public offering.
“Our goal is to connect the world through play and to eventually have 1 billion people play,” Schappert said. The company currently counts 240 million active monthly players.
Expect to see more social gambling on Zynga.com. With their own website platform, Zynga can decide the rules. This lessens Zynga’s reliance on Facebook’s online gambling rules, whatever they will be in the future. Zynga will now have leverage with Facebook that no other social gaming entity currently has.