Zynga is launching its own website where users can play its social games without having to go through Facebook, in a move that could have a noticeable effect on Facebook’s bottom line.
Facebook currently gets around 12 percent of its revenue from Zynga.
The launch isn’t unexpected: Zynga has always been deeply dependent on Facebook, through which it gets more than 90 percent of its revenues, and the launch of its own platform will give it far greater independence.
The beta will launch in the next few days, with an initial group of games including Words with Friends, CastleVille, Zynga Poker, Hidden Chronicles and CityVille.
“Zynga.com is designed to make it easier for you to play with friends. We’re excited to offer new features like the live Social Stream which will enable you to play in real time with your friends and find new ones,” says founder and CEO Mark Pincus.
“Player profiles will let you check your friends’ helpfulness score to see who’s most likely to help you back. And you’ll be able to chat and play live with your friends and a community of players interested in the same games as you.”
The company’s also working to enable third party developers to create and publish games on the Zynga Platform, and has already signed up Mob Science, Row Sham Bow and Sava Transmedia.
“Publishing on the Zynga Platform will allow developers to tap into a captive audience of players who love to play social games,” says Rob Dyer, head of platform partners at Zynga and former senior vice president of Publisher Relations at Sony Computer Entertainment.
“What’s more, we’re committed to creating an environment that’s a win, win for everyone involved. We know the challenges of being a game developer, and want to build the best destination for play – not just for players – but for the entire ecosystem as well.”
Zynga’s keen to stress that its existing relationship with Facebook will continue, and that Facebook Credits will still be used. But the launch removes the company’s near-total dependence on Facebook; hosting games form other companies will bring in revenue, and having a site of its own should help it attract advertisers.