Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Zynga Chooses Facebook, Yet Again, for Exclusive Launch of Next Game: CityVille

Zynga may make “social games,” but they do not foster much in the way of complex or rewarding social interaction. The company is trying to change that, and today is announcing its next game, CityVille, which it calls its most social offering to date. CityVille (of course) is a cutesy simulation game in which users work to turn a small town into a big city.

What’s different is that rather than playing in their own siloed version of the game, friends can place businesses in each other’s cities, and benefit from the success of these franchises. CityVille also uses 3-D rendered buildings and characters and will be released in five languages, both things Zynga has never done before.

But for all those firsts, the game will only be released on Facebook. Zynga is of course working to diversify its platforms, adding iPhone, iPad, Android and Yahoo. But as a matter of priorities, said CityVille general manager Sean Kelly, “We feel like Facebook is the best partner to prove out.”

Kelly, who previously was GM of Zynga’s FishVille, declined to say how long Zynga had been developing CityVille, or how many people were on his team. However, he said this was the “first job ever” for half of his developers, and that his team also included game industry veterans from places like Blizzard, as well as longer-term employees of Zynga. Plus, one CityVille product manager came from Harvard Business School, so he helped the team create its in-game franchising arrangements. And an architect advised on how to properly build structures within the game.

This is only Zynga’s third game launch this year, after Treasure Isle and FrontierVille. The actual release of CityVille will be sometime over the next few days Update: weeks, based on the alignment of the stars and other factors.

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