Train2Game news: Zynga building own social games site

Train2Game students will no doubt be aware that Zynga’s games are heavily tied to Facebook, with the Train2Game blog previously reporting that at its peak Cityville had over 100 million users.

Allies & Empires also reached over 50 million users within weeks of launching, thanks to the Facebook platform.

Now however, Zynga wants to reduce their reliance on the social network, after the introduction of Facebook Credits saw a 95% drop in profits during the last financial quarter, and will start delivering games directly to consumers online or on mobile phones.

The social game developer has therefore revealed ‘Project Z,’ on Zynga.com, a gaming hub that’ll allow players to connect to games such as Farmville through their own portal rather than Facebook.

Games can be played across Project Z and Facebook as players will be allowed to use the same username and will feature familiar social features.

“Project Z is a Facebook connect platform that leverages your Facebook friends to play in an environment tailored with just your friends,” said Zynga COO John Schappert said at the Zynga Unleashed event in San Francisco.

“We learn a lot more about our players, not just from stats but from talking to them, and this is what they wanted.”

“It’s a platform for a direct relationship with consumers, whether on the web or on mobile, to give you a whole sandbox and create socialness about the games and not just within the games,” Zynga chief executive Mark Pincus added.

The news comes the day after Facebook launched its iPad App, and as reported by the Train2Game blog, it means Facebook games can now be played on mobile devices.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Zynga’s move? What does it say about Facebook gaming? And what is the future of social media games?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum

[Source:  WSJ]

Allies & Empires gains more users than Farmville

Just last week, the Train2Game blog reported that Zynga’s Empires & Allies had reached 33 million users. Now the game has passed 41 million players, meaning that more people are playing Empires & Allies than are playing Farmville.

It provides a reminder to Train2Game students as to how big a phenomenon social media gaming has become.

Empires & Allies is free-to-play, but like many other Zynga and social media games, players can spend money to help them progress faster. And as noted by Venture Beat:

“If the game continues to get users, it could reach a much bigger audience than a hardcore game would typically get.”

“The combat strategy element will address the tastes of hardcore gamers as well as many mainstream gamers who have complained that there isn’t enough game play in Zynga’s other games, such as FarmVille.”

As the Train2Game blog reported earlier this year, a survey suggested that 70% of internet users play casual games. Social games are therefore potentially a lucrative market forTrain2Game students to be involved in.

Indeed, the Train2Game blog also reported that Game Design  is the most important aspect of a social game, and that Game Designers behind them much larger roles than those who help produce console titles.

If the popularity of Empires & Allies keeps growing, could it reach the 100 million player peak that the Train2Game blog reported Cityville had?

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Empires & Allies? Have you played it? Could it potentially appeal to a more hardcore audience then previous Zynga games?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Venture Beat]