It’s hard to break through to gamers on mobile platforms. Thousands of games crowd the market, and it can cost a lot for an independent studio to acquire players.
Last year, Zynga introduced a third-party publishing platform that directly addresses these issues. Smaller companies can build games and work with Zynga on monetization and marketing. Now, the company is looking to double-down on mobile publishing with new partners and better games.
“On the mobile publishing side, we’ve really been taking a curated approach to working with the best developers to bring into our network,” Zynga vice president of mobile publishing told GamesBeat.
Over the last 12 months, Zynga has worked with third-parties to launch games like Horn, Clay Jam, and Respawnables on iOS and Android.
“Those games all had very successful launches and were very well received critically,” said Jones.
Clay Jam, a casual physics game from developer Fat Pebble, has over one million downloads on Android alone. Meanwhile, The Respawnables, a third-person shooter from Digital Legends, has a four-star rating with thousands of reviews on iTunes’ App Store.
As successful as those titles are, they serve as a preamble to the next big third-party mobile release from Zynga.
Zynga is currently working with Inis, the studio that developed Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS in 2006. The developer is working on a tower-offense title called Eden To Green that features detailed 3D visuals and turn-based gameplay.
“We’re excited about Eden to Green,” said Jones. “It’s the first partner that encapsulates every step that we’re trying to do in mobile publishing, which is to make high-quality free-to-play social games. Inis is hitting every pillar that we look for in a company.”
Inis worked hand-in-hand with Zynga on every aspect of the project.
The developer had a basic design concept, but Zynga was always providing feedback to help maximize its free-to-play model. In return, Zynga is rewarding Inis with a major cross-game promotional campaign to drive players to the title, which is out now in Canada. The companies are preparing to launch globally soon.
Beyond Eden to Green, Zynga also has a handful of other “high end” partners in its pocket that it is waiting to announce.
“We want to marry our expertise with the best game developers in the world,” said Jones. “It could be simple 2D or complex 3D games, but if they’re free-to-play and social, I want to see them. I want to work with those developers and bring them into our network. We don’t want to put ourselves in a box.”