Social gaming company Zynga today unveiled Zynga Direct, its new online distribution service. Zynga Direct will give Zynga an alternative way to deliver its games to players on computers or mobile devices, without having to go through Facebook. Zynga semms to be securing its foothold in the casual games market, Should Facebook be worried?
“It’s a platform for a direct relationship with consumers whether on the web, or on mobile, to give you a whole sandbox and create socialness about the games and not just within the games,” Zynga chief executive Mark Pincus said today at the company’s Unleashed event in San Francisco.
Zynga has built its business on social games on Facebook, and it currently has more than 250 million monthly active users, according to AppData. The company has been so successful that it recently filed to go public and raise up to $1 billion, and it made $90 million in income last year.
As profitable and successful as Zynga is, the company is still heavily reliant on social networking giant Facebook. Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of each transaction made on Facebook through the use of Facebook credits. Because Zynga relies on virtual good sales in its games, it is essentially handing a large chunk of its revenue to Facebook. Zynga recently began adding its games to Google+, Google’s new social networking site.
Zynga Direct has been in development for two years, Pincus said. Last year, Zynga Direct was rumored to be a web portal that would go directly to Zynga games and bypass Facebook and other social networks.
CityVille is still the top social game on Facebook with more than 76 million monthly active users. But Electronic Arts has leapfrogged every other social game on Facebook with The Sims Social, which now has more than 66 million monthly active users. Zynga’s latest social game, Adventure World, now has more than 37 million monthly active users after launching early in September.
It’s not immediately clear whether Zynga Direct is a distribution service or a whole social network that Zynga is building independently of Facebook and Google+.