Facebook seems to be shafting its long-term business partner Zynga – media reports confirm that the social network is rolling out a pilot program for small and medium game developers. Facebook is going to work with select game developers and offer promotional support for their games through ads in mobile applications.
Facebook is planning to provide game developers access to its 800 million monthly mobile users. In addition, the tech giant will offer a variety of analytics instruments to measure their games’ success and a “targeting ability” to find the proper audiences and share a cut of the games’ revenue with them. If Facebook likes some developers, the company promises to help cultivate high-quality, long-term players for their games.
Everything is all right with that, but those are the sort of things that granted Zynga its privileged status on Facebook. In its day, the company’s “FarmVille” franchise made the social network a pile of cash, but when it found its userbase and revenues falling, the company had to shut down games and initiate punishing rounds of layoffs.
Not so long ago, Xbox executive Don Mattrick took over as CEO of the company, but it seems that he really will have his work cut out turning the outfit around. It will be much harder now because Zynga’s relationship with Facebook is demoted. In the meantime, other developers have already understood how they can use many of Zynga’s tricks and the social network’s audience for their own ends. In case Facebook encourages more small and medium developers to pay their attention to social gaming, the company could fill the arena with even more competitors.