Today, Zynga is launching 10 products that the company has been working on for some time. Zynga realizes that people are busy and on the move, but at the same time it knows that gaming is something that its customers really like. Zynga doesn’t aim to make the next “hit game” (think BF3 – although they would “love to” says Mark Pincus, Zynga’s CEO), but Zynga tries to create “socialness” through games. The company spent a lot of time on the FTUI (First Time User Experience) because it believes that within the first 3 clicks, the users needs to know why he/she wants to play the game – “we sold you, or we didn’t” says Mark Pincus.
New technology, presented by Cadir Lee (CTO)
Zynga’s CTO has presented the new Social Game Engine, built from scratch with Adobe Flash 11 (= not on iPad anytime soon). Zynga has also built its own cloud called Zcloud, which has seen deployments of up to 1000 servers per week (they used Amazon S3 heavily back in the days). Zynga also works with HTML5 to create products on an “open web stack”. This is something that Zynga is very interested in because it lets people play on every device (including iOS), with the same code. Analytics are also very important to Zynga because it helps the company match players so that they have a better experience: “connecting the right player at the right time” is the company’s goal. Ok, now let’s check the games.
Zynga poker was a traditional Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, but this time, Zynga takes it to the next level and launches Zynga Casino, which will include the poker game, but also a social Bingo game in which it is possible to chat and interact with your friends. Zynga Casino does contain 4-5 games, but we did not have time to check them all.
This is Zynga’s latest “Ville” franchise, which is situated in a middle-age town. Just like in other “ville” games, you can create building, trade anything in a free market and of course work with your friends to defend against the beasts that lurk outside the city. “Players create their own story” by exploring the world around them and create or accept missions. You can think of it as a social massive online role multiplayer game. Here’s the cherry on the cake: the game’s music was recorded by an orchestra, and it does sound really cool. In my opinion, this is the best game that was shown today – and Mafia Wars 2 comes in at the second place.
Mafia Wars 2
Mafia Wars 2 is based around Franchise, Feel, Fighting and Friends. Just like the first Mafia Wars, the goal is to build the largest crime empire. There are many ways to work with your friends in the game: they can help on missions, and everybody gets cash. Friends can also help you in “boss fights”, and from the look of it, you’ll need all the help that you can get to defeat those bosses. Fighting is also a big aspect of the game, and in Mafia Wars 2, it is possible to fight, beat and steal from adversaries – who can then call their friends and get revenge on you. Oh, and did I mention that this is going to launch on Google+ as well?
Hidden Chronicles is a hidden objects and puzzle game. It’s a puzzle game in which players have to find objects that will help them to solve puzzles. It can be played cooperatively, but there’s also competition with other players. The game 2D graphics are well done, although I would probably not call them “photo realistic” as Zynga Did ;) – this has a cartoon flair, and I like it, but let’s call a cat, a cat.
While most games mentioned above run on Flash 11, some are also coming to mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android tablets/devices). Dream Zoo, Mafia ShakeDown, Farmville Express, Zynga Poker and a Scrabble game are coming to mobile devices tomorrow. Zynga has pledged to continue supporting mobile platforms. In fact, this is a “must do” as mobile growth is so huge.
Project Z is not a game, but it is a social gaming platform that will be the most connected social gaming site in the world, Zynga says. Today, it is possible to get a zTag (land grabbing!). Zynga isn’t saying much more about this, but this is enough to whet our appetite. In the meantime, you may want to get your favorite username at zynga.com/ztag