By Cameron Scott, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau) | Jun 28, 2012
Called Zynga with Friends, the network will allow people to play games against each other across the different platforms, even if one is on the Facebook website and the other on an iPhone, for instance.
They'll also have access to the same set of social features. They include group chat and the ability to find new friends -- or zFriends, as Zynga calls them -- and challenge them to play.
Outside developers will also be able to use the features with a new, streamlined set of APIs (application programming interfaces), Zynga's chief engineer Kostadis Roussos said, during Zynga's Unleashed event in San Francisco.
The company also announced a new crop of games, including two additions to its "ville" franchise that are coming soon: "The Ville," where players can build a home and host social activities, and "ChefVille," in which users set up and run their own restaurant.
It also launched "Matching With Friends," which is available for iOS devices Tuesday, and "Zynga Elite Slots," a casino game that's coming soon.
Zynga is also introducing multiplayer gaming, starting with the game Bubble Safari. It will extend the multiplayer feature to other games, including those outside developers host on the platform.
The Zynga With Friends network builds on early success of the gaming experience it has offered on Zynga.com since March, the company said. The features available to players on the Zynga.com website will now be expanded to players on Facebook or Android or iOS mobile apps. Developers will be able to access the features through the new Zynga API, the company said.
Zynga.com customized social streams for gaming, proposing new "zFriends," for example, based on similar gaming activity rather than shared social connections. The company says 70 percent of visitors to Zynga.com access the social stream it offers, which documents a user's gaming interactions. The stream will "soon" be available as part of Zynga With Friends, to game players on any device or platform, according to Manuel Bronstein, Zynga's general manager.