• Zynga building hub for mobile gadget game play

    SAN FRANCISCO, June 26, 2012 (AFP) – Social games star Zynga on Tuesday celebrated its fifth birthday a week early with a peek at a platform designed to let people play with each other no matter what gadgets they use.

    Zynga With Friends Network is being built as a common play ground for users of rival smartphones, tablets, or websites and is being infused with features such as live chat,Zynga.com‘s social stream, and real-time multiplayer capabilities.

    The move extends Zynga’s strategy of reducing its dependence on Facebook, where it rose to prominence, and becoming a destination for mobile gamers.

    “Zynga With Friends will be your social lobby where ever you are on the Web or on mobile,” Zynga general manager Manuel Bronstein said at an ‘Unleashed’ press event at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

    “It will also allow you to see what your friends are playing and will connect you with new players.”

    Partners working with Zynga in advance of the network launch included game makers Konami, Majesco, Playdemic, 50 Cubes, and Sava Transmedia.

    Montreal-based developer Sava used the Unleashed stage to introduce a “Rubber Tacos” game that challenges players at Facebook, Zynga.com, or on Apple or Android mobile devices to retrieve virtual peppers snatched by “a crazy pinata.”

    “We are thrilled to be an early partner of Zynga, who’s clearly the leader in social gaming,” said Sava chief executive Alain Tascan.

    “Their expertise and platform will allow us to deliver the best possible gaming experience to a worldwide audience.”

    Zynga didn’t announce a launch date for the new network.

    Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter was impressed by the number of developers signed onto Zynga With Friends, which he believed could fill a need for a place where people can easily find games for smartphones or tablets.

    A prime attraction of the network will be the promotion or game applications across the array of gadgets people love, according to Pachter.

    “I think this whole thing with cross-platform — the same game on mobile, table or PC (personal computer) — that is going to work,” the analyst said.

    “The problem with mobile apps is there is no aggregator, and Zynga is going to try to be that aggregator.”

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