Zynga is crossing a bridge in its relationship with Facebook. The social game company will no longer require its users to sign into Facebook before they can play games on Zynga.com.
In the past, per Zynga’s old alliance with Facebook, users had to sign in on Facebook before they could play a game on Zynga.com, which is Zynga’s off-Facebook portal for people who want to play Zynga’s social games in an environment where everyone is there to play games, in contrast to Facebook.
But Zynga and Facebook altered their agreement, enabling each other to go their separate ways when necessary. Tim Catlin, the general manager of Zynga.com and developer experience, said in an interview with GamesBeat that many players requested that they be able to play without using their real names, as is required with Facebook log-ins. So Zynga will begin allowing players to create their own separate accounts on Zynga.com next week. With those, players can choose any name they wish, so they can play without revealing their true names to every other player.
“People want to communicate with just game friends,” Catlin said. “Players have wanted to have a choice about playing under a pseudonym. With a separate Zynga.com account, a player can now make up his or her own gamer name. Players can now control the way they interact with other players.”
It’s not anonymous player per se, as Zynga will know who the players are. But divulging a real name to other players is no longer the only option for people who want to enjoy multiplayer games. On top of that, Zynga.com’s single sign-in will eventually enable players to log into Zynga.com on any platform — mobile or PC — and get access to their games. If they want to play with friends on Facebook, they will have to continue to sign in using a Facebook log in.
It sounds like a simple change, but Catlin said it involves a lot of engineering work. Zynga will roll the option out to its player base over time. On top of that, the single sign-on will enable other things too for Zynga.com, which is now a year old. Players will be able to get into a game session in a much shorter time, with fewer hassles like signing up for Facebook if they’re not a member yet. And if you’re playing a social casino game during work hours, now you won’t run the risk of having your boss seeing you do that.
In a blog post today, Zynga executive Cadir Lee wrote, “What we saw with Zynga.com is a dedicated fan base around our biggest games. Fans who are excited to be connected to each other and form friends and communities around the games they share a passion for. Zynga.com enabled us to build new features that made play more fun and social such as real-time multiplayer, or the live Social Stream where you can tap into the community of players to help you progress in your game. What we’ve seen is that players like you engage with more people and come back to play again and again.”
“Starting next week, when you visit Zynga.com you will see a new streamlined sign-up that lets you create your own account just for playing games,” Lee wrote. “We also wanted to make sure that existing Zynga.com players continue to have the best experience possible so you don’t have to start from scratch. All players will have the option to connect with Facebook and keep your game friends and game progress, while deciding what you share with your gaming community.”
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!