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Zynga finally caters to international audience with localized versions of next game

Zynga’s games on social networks already have a lot of international appeal. It seems the social game giant is finally catering to that market with the release of its next game.

Zynga today announced that it will launch (soon) several localized versions of its next game for Facebook, a sim-city like city building game called CityVille.

That means the games won’t have haphazard translations, but a complete conversion to other languages — including French, German, Italian and Spanish. In addition to a language conversion, Zynga is including other cultural quirks — such as the option to build an Eiffel Tower in the localized French version. Zynga’s games are already available internationally, but they aren’t localized to specific regions. The only other game Zynga has made a localized version of is its poker game, which it translated to Traditional Chinese a few months ago. This is the first out-the-gate launch that is geared toward international players in addition to English-speaking players.

Zynga is already one of the largest gaming companies in the world. Legendary investor John Doerr with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers said Zynga was easily the best investment that his firm has ever made. The social networking game maker is already the largest app developer on Facebook. And some recent valuations show that Zynga is actually larger than Electronic Arts, one of the largest video game publishers in the world. All that is after the company launched in 2007.

But for the most part, Zynga has focused on developing its games for English-speaking countries. Facebook has grown tremendously since Zynga originally launched its first game on the social network — from 50 million users in 2007 to around 500 million today. Zynga really took off in the middle of 2009 when it launched FarmVille, which is still the No. 1 game on Facebook with 57.4 million monthly active users, according to AppData. Overall, Zynga has 214.5 million users. Zynga’s clearly the dominant player in the social networking game space, so it wouldn’t be surprising if other social networking game makers like Playdom and Playfish will followed suit with international launches.

CityVille hasn’t launched yet — in fact, Zynga was mum as to when the game would finally come out. But the game does have a number of new features that Zynga’s games haven’t featured yet. The game is rendered with 3D polygons that allow players to rotate the map and see their city from multiple perspectives. It also has a guided tutorial that will teach new players the best way to play the game.

Like the rest of Zynga’s games, the fastest way to progress in the game is to buy CityVille cash with Facebook Credits. The second fastest is to partner up with other friends and open franchises in their cities to generate more money and experience points and progress faster. CityVille players can still play the game independent of other social connections, but it will progress much more slowly than others. That’s a little different from games like FarmVille, which required social connections to expand the size of a farm.

Much like FarmVille, Zynga expects the typical session in CityVille to last anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. The company wouldn’t say how many servers they are spinning up for the launch — or give any kind of estimates of how big they expect the game to be. The game is not going to be included in the initial set of games headed to Yahoo. Zynga wouldn’t say whether the company would retroactively localize its other popular social networking games — but it’s an idea that would certainly be passed around.


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