Last week, we took some time to look at the growing tensions between Facebook and Zynga, the social platform’s largest game developer – better known to most of us as the developer of games like FarmVille and Cafe World. To put it simply, the “war” is being raged primarily over Facebook’s insistence on the use of Facebook Credits as the only virtual currency on the site.
For Facebook users, this means that using one far-reaching currency will allow them to make one purchase of Credits and then easily spend them across all games, but for developers, it means losing 30% of each transaction to Facebook, who takes said percentage for itself.
Of all of the game developers on Facebook, not only does Zynga have the most followers, but it also has the most to lose from the system. As reported by Tech Crunch, it appears that those potential lost profits haven’t set well with Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, who, according to anonymous (but apparently legitimate) sources, is planning a new site called Zynga Live, which would act as its own social network of sorts, allowing users to play all of Zynga’s games outside of Facebook, and for Zynga to maintain its own profits, without Facebook taking its cut.
According to one source, talks of the new platform began on Thursday of last week:
“Pincus announced at a 5pm meeting yesterday at Zynga that Zynga was going to launch a social game network called Zynga Live. The Zynga Live initiative was a social gaming network. Facebook and Zynga has been negotiating on Facebook Credits and the talks turned for the worst. In the negotiation process, Facebook shut off Zynga’s feeds and threatened to shut down games. Zynga in the process threatened to completely leave Facebook and prepared to do so in the previous upcoming weeks.”
According to Venture Beat, Zynga has chosen a “no comment” stance on the situation, while Facebook did release a statement:
“We have conversations with our large developers all the time and we don’t typically comment on specific discussions. But generally, our priority is to ensure a quality experience for Facebook users while fostering an innovative and dynamic environment that offers meaningful opportunities for all developers on Facebook Platform.”
If “ensuring a quality experience for Facebook users” means clearing their news feeds and notification inbox of clutter, then they have succeeded, but, on the other side of the token, the removal of third party notifications from the site back in March has alienated not only game developers from being able to have easy access to their users, but also the users themselves, who, more often than not, signed up to receive these notifications willingly, and are now left out of the proverbial information loop, if they’re not pinned to Facebook on a 24-hour basis.
The details concerning the actual launch of Zynga Live are still slim. When asked for a date, one source told Tech Crunch that “It could be tomorrow, it could be in six months.” Zynga has already proven that they are willing and able to provide gameplay experiences outside of Facebook proper, by releasing portals like FarmVille.com, which offers the same gameplay experience, and access to friends, just without the Facebook backdrop, meaning that if any developer could pull off leaving the social networking behemoth, it’s Zynga.
We’ve set up a poll for you below, to answer the top question on our minds. If Zynga does leave Facebook behind entirely, and you too must leave the site in order to play games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, YoVille or Cafe World (among others), would you? After you vote, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments section below – we’d love to hear your thoughts on this growing situation.