With its new proprietary game platform, social game giant Zynga has at least partially moved away from Facebook to independently distribute first- and third-party games. It's a significant move for a company that has historically relied on the major social network, and Zynga's CEO says that he's looking at services like Microsoft's Xbox Live to shape the future of the platform.
Speaking at AllThingsD's D10 event, Pincus explained that the newly-launched Zynga.com isn't just a distribution platform, it will also help the company establish its own independently-operated game network.
"[With Zynga.com], we would be more than a games distributor," said Pincus. "We need more aggregated channels, we need more ways for people to find and discover new apps, and find their way back to the apps. We want to be a game network, a lot like Xbox Live." Despite the comparison to consoles, Pincus noted that Zynga plans to stick to the web and mobile.
Of course, Zynga's critics often note that the company relies too much on Facebook for its success, and establishing its brand new platform is a tall order when so much of the company's well-being relies on another network.
D10's moderator probed Pincus about the issue, and the CEO pointed out that Zynga isn't the only company that benefits from the major social network.
"They’re really important not just to us," Pincus said, according to TechCrunch. “Facebook is providing a new part of [the ecosystem's] stack, there is now a social stack and an app stack... On the web they’ve been really important with regards to distribution."
Later during his presentation, an audience member further pushed the issue, and asked again how Zynga plans to detach itself from Facebook.
"We’ve never thought in terms of attachment or detachment," the CEO said. "We have a 90 to 10m rule, which means that if a platform can bring us 10m daily active users in 90 days then we invest at scale. Facebook met that rule and Android and iOS have the potential."
"I think of it like the evolution of TV," Pincus explained. "People wanted to watch TV but our desire to watch TV wasn’t created by the networks, it was a relationship between us and content. People have a latent interest in playing independent of the platform and we are willing go anywhere."
While he may not have addressed Zynga's relationship to Facebook outright, Pincus is bullish about the company's prospects with Zynga.com, and noted the company is willing to leverage multiple platforms if it means it can grow its overall audience.