Have you noticed the new “Like” buttons that have appeared under every user’s farm in FarmVille? Zynga added them around the same time that their dispute with Facebook over the company’s reliance on Facebook Credits came to a very public head. Coincidence? Perhaps – however, there’s one big difference here that sets these buttons apart.
While almost every game or company on Facebook has their own “fan page,” which users can “Like,” thus publicly proclaiming their appreciation of a product, game, service and the like, these buttons in FarmVille don’t actually have any connection to Facebook at all. It’s the same logo you find on all other pages, and when you click it, everything appears to be normal. However, find the post in your news feed notifying your friends of you “liking” a neighbor’s farm, and you’ll notice something very peculiar.
Not only does the wording state that “X user likes Z user’s farm on FarmVille.com,” but if you try to click the button to be sent to that user’s farm, you’re automatically taken away from Facebook and directly to FarmVille.com. Sure, you get to load your friend’s farm, which would, in theory, be why you clicked on the link in the first place, but you probably didn’t expect to leave Facebook in order to do it.
This is just one of the many ways Zynga appears to be continuing to distance itself from the social networking giant. Regardless of the two companies signing a five-year deal that will keep games like FarmVille playable on Facebook, this seems like a pretty basic attempt by Zynga to drive more traffic away from Facebook and to their own website.
Adding more fuel to this “speculatory” fire is the fact that Zynga just signed a new game integration deal with Yahoo!, which will allow FarmVille games to be playable across Yahoo!’s network of services, including Yahoo! Games and Yahoo! Messenger.
Zynga’s status as both an independent entity and its relationship with Facebook continues to be an interesting source of news in the social and casual games space – with Zynga being the largest Facebook game developer around, it’s likely that any sweeping changes they make may be carried out by other gaming companies in the future, if those changes turn out to be successful.
We’ll be sure to continue covering this topic in the weeks and months to come, and you’ll be the first to know when and if a new development arises.
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