Zynga to Detail Game Plans for Facebook Apps at “Unleashed” Event

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus

Zynga is planning to unveil “brand-spankin’ new play” at a press event tomorrow in San Francisco, where it is now expected to share its plans for leveraging Facebook’s new HTML5 mobile platform.

Facebook’s platform, which was announced this afternoon, will run on Apple’s iOS devices and across the mobile Web. It will allow game developers to connect versions of the same application on PCs and mobile devices.

To do so, developers will build the applications in HTML5, which is an emerging common Web language, rather than the more commonly used Adobe Flash technology.

In addition to “selected titles” from Zynga, game developers EA, Moblyng, Storm8 and Wooga are expected to launch games on the platform. A Zynga spokesperson declined to say too much about tomorrow’s event, but confirmed it “will have HTML5 games coming soon to Facebook’s mobile apps site.” The event is likely to include other announcements, as well.

CJ Prober, SVP at EA Interactive, said, “HTML 5 is going to allow us to bring our Facebook social games to mobile users while addressing recent fragmentation challenges faced by the industry. While Flash has worked great for us in a PC environment, it is not supported on iOS and it performs inconsistently on Android, rendering most of our Facebook games unplayable in mobile browsers.”

The Sims Social will be playable immediately on the new iPad app, and the Sim’s mobile app for Facebook’s platform is coming later this fall.

Storm8 CEO Perry Tam is looking forward to all the new eyeballs for the three games that are already live on Facebook’s mobile apps. “Facebook has created a viral channel where millions of people can encounter our games,” he said. “That definitely makes us more interested in developing for Facebook.”

Zynga’s event tomorrow is called “Zynga Unleashed,” hinting at how its games will work on mobile or without wires.

But the struggle to make one cohesive game play across multiple devices has not been totally fixed. Apple does not want to relinquish its lucrative relationships with game players, where it collects 30 percent of all in-app purchases. Facebook, meanwhile, takes the same cut on the Web.

On the new mobile platform, Apple’s payments will take precedence on iOS devices. As Liz Gannes wrote in her story today:

On the downside, there’s one place Facebook wasn’t able to negotiate a consistent experience for users: payments. This was a major sticking point in ongoing discussions with Apple, as I’d written last week.

Facebook Credits can’t be used to pay for virtual goods within native iOS apps or mobile Web apps running within a Facebook app on iOS. Instead, users will have to buy separate in-app currency through Apple’s own in-app payment system.

And this after Facebook just required all of its game developers to switch to exclusive use of Credits earlier this year.

“We realize there’s some inconsistency,” [Facebook CTO Bret] Taylor admitted. He wouldn’t say if Facebook gets a share of revenue for in-app purchases it refers to Apple.


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