Zynga building social network, announces CastleVille

Zynga has announced a number of new projects, including CastleVille and Zynga Direct, the company's own gaming-oriented social network.

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Zynga is one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. Yet, its entire business rests upon the whims of one company: Facebook. In a move that will likely give Zynga a bit more flexibility, the company has announced Zynga Direct, aka "Project Z," its own gaming-oriented social network.

It's "a platform for a direct relationship with consumers," according to Zynga CEO Mark Pincus.

Zynga Direct appears to be stepping away from Facebook, but Pincus noted that the company's partnership with the social network was not being abandoned. While announcing the service, he called it "the deepest integration with Facebook Connect than any service on the web or mobile." (via Gamasutra)

It appears the company has already rolled out one part of the Direct experience: the zTag. Players can register a user name right now, which will then be used "to instantly connect with other Zynga players." Essentially, a zTag is the Zynga equivalent of an Xbox Live Gamertag. The full service is expected to rollout by the end of the year.

So what games can we eventually expect from Zynga Direct? Well, the company announced a string of new games today: CastleVille, Dream Zoo, Hidden Chronicles, Zynga Casino, and Zynga Bingo. Of note is CastleVille, which Zynga is proclaiming as its "most beautiful game to date." To emphasize the production values being poured into CastleVille, the company noted was "recorded by a 75-piece orchestra and full choir."

Who said social games can't be epic too?

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  • reply
    October 11, 2011 12:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Zynga announces CastleVille, Zynga Direct.

    Zynga has announced a number of new projects, including CastleVille and Zynga Direct, the company's own gaming-oriented social network.

    • reply
      October 11, 2011 12:01 PM

      Serious question: are these guys still actually relevant?

      • reply
        October 11, 2011 12:03 PM

        current valuation: $11 billion

        • reply
          October 11, 2011 12:04 PM

          Damn, I haven't heard anything about then in quite a while. No Farmville crap, nothing.

          • reply
            October 11, 2011 12:06 PM

            they are a wholly different industry. its like saying why havent i heard anything about video poker on kotaku. its just a different thing.

    • reply
      October 11, 2011 12:03 PM

      It seems weird to me that I've played video games for almost my entire life, and that I've never played a single Zynga game, even for just a couple of minutes. It seems like they're one of the biggest forces in gaming right now. I wonder if I'm missing out on something.

    • reply
      October 11, 2011 2:45 PM

      Just because they are not relevant to you they are highly relevant.
      Mkt cap of $11b is hardly a sniffle.
      They have invented a new sector of players and tapped in a new market.
      Console average player is a 40yr old man and the biggest buyer of games was a 47yr old man.
      Social game players average is a 36yr old woman. The games are free and 3% of all players spend money. 60% of all revenue comes from 5% of paying players so once you invest to tend to invest heavily - Dude are they relevant..... Of course they are. Just not to you but console games can learn a ton. Imagibe BF3 being free to all. Now for a ACOG scope for 1 month you spend 69c would you considering the game were free. I think their model has legs for the future whilst console games (6% drop yr on yr) could learn.... they might be more relevant to you in the future than you think.
      Peace out

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