Game developers Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd., Playdemic and Rebellion will be the first third-party developers to use the Zynga Platform and tap into the 240 million monthly active users who currently play Zynga games.
Before this announcement, Zynga brought on three developers: Row Sham Bow, Mobscience and Sava Transmedia.
The partnership with Zynga and access to the platform means that the developers will have access to theplayer audience, channel that increase social engamenet with the Zynga Social Center, Zynga back-end technology and the Zynga analytics.
Prior to this week, Zynga players had to go to Facebook or mobile apps to play the company's popular Words with Friends, Zynga Poker or CityVille social games and now are able to access these games and a handful of others by going directly to Zynga.com.
This new platform was a move for Zynga to start asserting its independence from Facebook and offer a way for social gamers to communicate and play with other social gamers.
Part of this platform design was to also license access to the Zynga Platform so that smaller developers and gaming companies can get published and promoted in the Zynga network.
Zynga will also enable partners to tap into channels and features that increase social engagement, analytics that measure and drive social, and back end technology that ensures scalability and availability.
This new partnership is focused on accelerating the growth that Konami, Playdemic and Rebellion will experience -- because if Zynga knows anything, its how to create accelerated growth.
Zynga originally announced its intent to launch an independent platform filled with the virtual world-building, poker, and word games that built Zynga back in October and then last week reminded the public that the new platform was imminent and now it is here.
Even the anticipation of this new platform caused Zynga shares to spike on Friday to $15.41, up 7%. That was the highest its traded since its IPO debut on December 16, and extends its rocket-ship ride of 11% in trading last week, on news the company's stand-alone platform is around the corner.
As Friday morning, pre market trading was inching the company up about 1% to $13.79.
"It's our hope that our Platform partners, and eventually anyone in the industry, can extend the reach of their games and connect to even more players on Zynga.com. Later this year we'll make our platform available for all social game developers through a Zynga Platform," wrote boss Mark Pincus in a blog post last week.
Konami is known for its Simpson Arcade game, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, Frogger 3D, and X-Men arcade game (which has a modest 2,000 monthly average users). Playdemic is most known for the Facebook social game Gourmet Ranch (a RockYou owned game) that boasts 590,000 monthly average users. And Rebellion which is known for its game Sniper Elite.
When Zynga went public in December, we all learned that more than 90% of Zynga's $828.9 million revenue (in 2011) was coming from Facebook. That means the company could have made $1.15 billion if it wasn't cutting Facebook in on its credits. But then you would have to see how many people would play Zynga games if they had to create all new profiles and manually search fro people they know -- probably only a fraction.
And Facebook proved just how much it needs the Zynga dollars when it released some of its financials at the start of 2012 with its IPO papers. Zynga accounted for 12% of the Facebook revenue. Yikes. So maybe neither company wants to live too far apart in this symbiotic relationship.
But this doesn't mean that the new platform lacks new revenue opportunities.
Zynga is hoping that it can boast new revenue as a licenser and host of third-party apps in order to show continued opportunities for growth -- especially outside the Facebook system.
Zynga will also use a function called zCloud to help the games from smaller developers skyrocket based on demand, rather than being held back by infrastructure (which many have criticized Facebook for). Developers that have already signed up for as Zynga Platform partners including Mob Science and Row Sham Bow.
The games currently available on the platform are: CastleVille, Words With Friends, CityVille, Hidden Chronicles and Zynga Poker. More third-party games will also be available soon.
Zynga has engineered the game site for speed, so those that have criticized the Facebook gaming speed will enjoy how quickly they level-up and move through challenges.
The play service will be available in 16 languages, including: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Thai.
The platform is open to anyone and is currently considered to be in beta -- so expect some glitches to pop up, but also expect a far better gaming ecosphere than you experienced on Facebook or on your mobile devices.