Zynga May Talk About Leaving, But It's Still Playing Games With Facebook

The Atlantic
Zynga May Talk About Leaving, But It's Still Playing Games With Facebook
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Zynga May Talk About Leaving, But It's Still Playing Games With Facebook

It's tantalizing to tease a split between Zynga and Facebook, but based on the game-maker's and the social network's intense codependence, that's probably not happening any time soon.

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A report in The Wall Street Journal that suggeats Zynga's CEO Mark Pincus made "Hints at Facebook Independence" makes it sound like Pincus is getting ready to sever the game-maker's relationship with Facebook, which serves as a major platform for its addictive "stupid games" like Farmville and Draw Something. But as the story makes clear, Zynga probably isn't going anywhere. (It's worth noting that Zynga already has a standalone site.)

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According to the WSJ, the company brought in 92 percent of its revenue from Facebook in March. Compare that with the 12 percent of Facebook's revenue that Zynga provides (per Facebook's IPO documents), and the slant of the relationship becomes pretty clear: Zynga needs Facebook a lot more than Facebook needs Zynga. Still, it can't hurt Pincus to start planning some options for Zynga to operate independent of the mothership, as his comments Wednesday at the D: All Things Digital conference made clear he was doing. "There's nothing stopping us from putting games in all kinds of places, as we find opportunities," he said. "We're just seeing Android and iOS having the potential to be there," he said, speaking of alternative platforms for Zynga's games. That kind of language does sound a little like pre-breakup talk, but Zynga just can't afford to move out all on its own just yet.

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