Zynga’s All-New CityVille for Mobile Has Few Links to Facebook

Today, Zynga is rolling out a mobile version of CityVille, the most popular game on Facebook.

But it has fews ties to the social network version, which is being played by more than 18 million people a day.

In fact, CityVille Hometown is a standalone game for iPhone and the iPad. It will launch in Canada as soon as this week, and then become available later globally in four additional languages.

Justin Cinicolo, Zynga’s General Manager of Mobility, said the game will be familiar to those who already play, but there will be a couple of key differences.

For example, the mobile version will be used to build a small town vs. a large metropolis on Facebook. Players will also have their choice of choosing computer-generated people to live in their buildings, instead of real-life friends.

One area where there will be some overlap between the games is in gifting and sharing resources. Mobile players will be able to swap energy and send and receive special limited edition items to players on Facebook.

The free game will be monetized through virtual goods, which users will be able to purchase through in-app payments on the iPhone.

In an earlier interview, Zynga’s SVP of Mobile David Ko told me the company is taking two approaches to the market: building games first for mobile that are not on the PC, and developing applications that are an extension of mobile.

Last week, it launched Hanging With Friends on iPhone, a hangman game that closely follows the popular Scrabble-like game Words With Friends. Ko said it will soon be on pace to release one game every quarter.

Many social game companies are looking at mobile as a way to diversify, given the dominance of Facebook.

Ko said using mobile to hedge their bets on Facebook “is the wrong way to think about it. … Where are people going today to be social? It’s on Facebook. But mobile has the opportunity to be larger than the PC.”


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