Online social gaming developer Zynga held its second annual Zynga Unleashed event on Tuesday at its HQ in San Francisco, where CEO Mark Pincus did his best to impersonate the late Steve Jobs’ iconic presentations of all that was new and wonderful in Apple world. Difference being, Apple’s stock usually went up after Jobs stopped talking. Zynga stock, on the other hand, closed down nearly 5% on the day after a 3% rise pre-event, suggesting analysts and investors were expecting something more.
Among Tuesday’s Unleashed highlights was the latest release under the Zynga Casino banner: Zynga Elite Slots, an adventure-themed game in which friends share in each other’s winnings. Jesse Janosov, VP/GM of Zynga Casino, said he expects the social casino gaming universe to double over the next year. Zynga Poker – which has received 60m ‘likes’ on Facebook, more than any other company except Facebook itself – already deals 38k hands/minute and 16 trillion chips change hands every day. Zynga Bingo calls out 10 million rounds/day.
In non-casino game news, making its Facebook debut on Wednesday is TheVille, a ‘build your dream home’ game that some are likening to a carbon copy of EA’s The Sims Social. Coming ‘soon’ is ChefVille, in which you can build your dream restaurant. (We’re curious as to the absence of StockVille, in which Zynga investors can build their dream stock, you know, one that actually goes up.) The new games roster concluded with a tease for Farmville 2, which is apparently a 3D update of Zynga’s early hit Farmville.
Zynga announced the launch of a unified platform, Zynga With Friends, which will be accessible via Facebook and the iOS and Android mobile platforms and will facilitate live multiplayer action. Zynga GM Manuel Bronstein described it as “a familiar, consistent social lobby … that will for the first time connect all our players no matter where they’re playing.” Zynga also announced a bunch of new partners developing mobile games, including Atari, Konami and Phosphor. To ease third-party developers’ integration of their products with Zynga’s backend, Zynga is introducing Zynga API, which will enable developers to add group chat, live social activity stream and a ‘zFriends’ list to their offering.