Once one of the tightest couples in Silicon Valley, Facebook and Zynga have decided to enter into a bit more of an open relationship. It’s not a breakup. But it does look as though the social network and the social gaming company are growing further apart.
Evidence of the weakening ties between the pair arrived in Zynga’s most recent filing with the SEC, which details its new contract with Facebook. According to the documents, Zynga will no longer be Facebook’s favorite game developer. Instead, the company will be treated like every other developer on the Facebook platform.
This change was likely a long time coming. Zynga’s business has tanked over the past year. And some believe that Zynga’s sour vibe had begun to take its toll of Facebook’s optimistic demeanor.
But don’t worry, this is something Zynga wanted for itself, too. The “Farmville” maker had already begun to move in its own direction with the launch of Zynga.com back in March. And the new contract changes make it easier for Zynga to do its own thing; no longer will the company have to use Facebook credits, nor will it have to launch games exclusively on Facebook, as it has for so long.
“Zynga’s mission is to connect the world through games,” said Zynga’s Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle in a statement. “In order to do this, Zynga is focused on building enduring relationships with consumers across all platforms from Facebook and Zynga.com on the web to tablets and mobile. Our amended agreement with Facebook continues our long and successful partnership while also allowing us the flexibility to ensure the universal availability of our products and services.”
So what does this mean for Facebook? Well, according to Mike Isaac at AllThingsD, it’s possible that Facebook could decide to get into game development itself – though a company spokesperson told him that Facebook has “no plans to do so.”
“We’re focused on being the platform where games and apps are built,” the spokesperson said.
Still, the changes mean Facebook could get into game-making if it so chooses. More likely, however, is that you’ll see other game developers rise in the Facebook ranks now that Zynga has lost its “favorite mistress” status.