We’re live at the Zynga Unleashed event at Zynga headquarters in San Francisco. We’ll be liveblogging the event, so refresh the page for updates as they happen.
10:15: Still setting up for the event as the press filters in. LeVar Burton is here wearing a “friend” badge.
10:3o: The event starts right on time. Watching a promo video of real-life user testimonials showing why people like to play Zynga games.
10:32: Pincus takes the stage.
10:33: The entire San Francisco office is watching from the rafters.
10:34: He’s taking us through a retrospective of Zynga’s history. Zynga’s first game launched July 1, 2007. It was Zynga Poker. On March 7, 2008 it was the first time a consumer in the Western world bought a virtual good — a poker chip. In November 2008, Zynga launched the mobile version of Zynga Poker. When Steve Jobs saw the game he didn’t think it was working code.
10:36: Social gaming grows through 2010. In 2011, Zynga passes a billion in revenues. In 2012 social gaming becomes a mass market phenomenon.
10:37: 72 percent of Americans play games. In the last minute 64,000 words played in Words with Friends, and 38,000 hands of Poker were played. Over 5,700 chats were sent over Zynga’s network.
10:40: Pincus grew up in a game-playing household. He loved games, but stopped playing them as he grew older. He set out to make gaming free an accessible in 2007 — something his friends and family could play. Building games around the premise that friends could become virtual neighbours. Making play so small and snackable you can fit in in your life and pocket. They’re competing with email and text messaging.
10:44: We’re going to show you where we’re going. First up, our platform.
10:45: There’s two aspects to our platform. First up is Kostadis Roussos, Zynga’s chief engineer to talk about the technology behind the Zynga platform, specifically the infrastructure and the APIs.
10:47: Roussos is talking about the engineering, scale and analytics behind the casual games Zynga makes.
10:48: Zynga’s daily highs of concurrent players is equivalent to everyone in the city of Paris playing together at the same time. That happens every day. The games are always changing and the devices they’re played on change constantly. Zynga releases over 100 updates across all its games every day. The company once released more than 1000 updates in one week. Zynga players make a million actions per second.
10:50: Infrastructure consists of hardware and services. Hardware is zCloud. It’s the world’s largest hybrid cloud. Its how the company can launch a game and grow it to 10 million players in a week. CastleVille had 2.8 million player join on the first day. The zCloud is three times more efficient than public cloud servers.
10:52: Onto analytics. Zynga runs about 130 experiments in its games every day. After releasing a new feature Zynga can find out within minutes if players enjoyed them. Beyond fun is social — what matter is that friends and family continue to play. This is a player’s Active Social Network (ASN). It’s a true barometer of how social a game is.
10:56: The Zynga API means games no longer need backend servers to integrate Zynga services. Zynga Slots was the first game to use it and they’re rolling it out to other companies.
10:59: Now Manuel Bronstein, the general manager, Zynga.com is on the stage. He’s announced a consumer facing social network called Zynga With Friends.
11:00: This network will deliver better social engagement for players. All players on the network will have one thing in common — they’ll want to play together. This network will be a single platform and social lobby that provides a single cross-device experience.
11:01: The new social features and services on Zynga.com will be enabled for third party partners. These features are coming to Facebook and mobile.
11:02: Reed Shaffner, director of product for Zynga speaking now. Zynga.com launched in March. zFriends was an early innovation on Zynga.com. It allows players to find new friends who play the same games. 100 million new friendships have been made on Zynga.com. 70 percent of players engage through social stream. This is coming to more platforms. Zynga has revamped chat and is adding group chat.
11:05: Multiplayer is coming to Zynga.com and the number of games available will increase to 10.
11:06: Bubble Safari is getting synchronous multiplayer. They’re demoing it with four people on stage. A leaderboard service is coming to Zynga.com as well. Players can see which of their zFriends are online and invite them. They can also play with strangers. They have access to a group chat feature. All players play the same board. Players can chat while playing and see how other players are doing as fruit drops into their buckets.
11:09: All of these things are things developers can leverage to define prizes and features. This is an example of how Zynga can innovate on Zynga.com.
11:10: Manuel is back to talk about partners. Majesco, 50 Cubes and Portalarium are joining as new partners.
11:12: Sava’s CEO is here to talk about its new game Rubber Tacos. It will launch soon on Zynga.com.
11:14: Manuel returns. The Zynga with Friends network will be one unified network that brings features from Zynga.com and makes it available to Zynga players and Zynga partners on iOS, Android, Zynga.com and Facebook. The Zynga message center gets over 750 million clicks a day. What doesn’t matter is where you play. What matters is the network. They’re showing a new sneak peak of the new lobby on Facebook. It has zFriends and the Social Stream.
11:17: You’ll be able to see what your friends are playing and connect you to new friends. It’s unlike any social network today it has 2.8 million social interactions every day. It will roll out “soon”.
11:20: Pincus returns to the stage to go over what new games Zynga will be announcing.
11:21: David Ko, chief mobile officer takes the stage. Mobile gaming is extremely competitive. Tens of thousands of apps are submitted each day. Zynga competes by making its games the most fun and most social. Zynga is now the largest mobile gaming company in the world.
11:24: The With Friends brand means a super fun, super social brand. New title is Matching With Friends. It’s a social puzzle game. Available on iOS right now.
11:26: Casino is another important mobile franchise. Two weeks ago the company launched Zynga slots. The game has 7,100 App Store comments.
11:28: Onto OMGPOP. Ko is outlining how Zynga improved the game based on user feedback, added new features and localized the game into 12 new languages. Draw Something is on the cusp of hitting its 10 billionth drawing.
11:29: Zynga mobile games have 22 million daily active users.
11:30: Zynga is opening its doors to mobile partnerships. They’re inviting developers to join the Zynga network.
11:31: Phosphor Games; Sava Transmedia; Fat Pebble; and Crash Lab are Zynga’s mobile partners. Atari is also joining with an unannounced game.
11:32: Jesse Janosov, vice president and general manager of Zynga is here to talk about casino games.
11:37: Taking a closer look at Zynga Poker. The game has 35 million players a month. 16 trillion chips change hands each day. It has 61 million likes on Facebook. Onto Bingo. It’s the No. 1 bingo game on Facebook. 10 million rounds are played a day.
11:38: The newest Zynga casino game is Zynga Elite Slots. It will be cross-platform. Players will have group payouts and will be able to engage in group chats. There are a variety of themed rooms — wild west, vampires, pets, fairytales… No launch date announced.
11:41: Jim Veevaert, GM of Zynga Seattle takes the stage. He has a long history in core, AAA games. He’s here to talk about arcade games.
11:43: Veevaert is talking about Zynga Slingo, highlighting the real-time leaderboards. Players have racked up 23 billion spins and earned 2.2 trillion coins. Bubble Safari players have popped 115 billion bubbles. More than six million people are playing it every day.
11:46: Now he’s talking about Ruby Blast. It was co-developed by Zynga Seattle and Zynga China. Competitive multiplayer is coming later in the year — the goal will be to make the most social match-three game available — setting sights on EA Popcap’s Bejeweled Blitz.
11:50: Ruby Blast is going cross-platform — coming to Android and iOS as well as Facebook. Date later in the year, but no firm date given.
11:51: Mark Skaggs, SVP of product development takes the stage. He created CityVille and FarmVille. He’s announcing The Ville. It’s a house and people game. Skaggs describes it as spiritual successor to YoVille. Players can check friends Facebook status live in the game. We’re currently watching a very involved demo of the game. Our full preview of the game will go live at noon. The game goes live tomorrow.
11:59: Jonathan Knight, GM, Chefville takes the stage. Zynga’s newest culinary game is ChefVille. We’re now watching a trailer, but no release date has been announced.
12:03: In ChefVille real friends will visit a player’s restaurant. Players will specialize in specific ingredients and will be able to trade them back and forth. Now watching a gameplay demo. As players master the game, they get real recipes. The game will have over 50 at launch.
12:06: Pincus is back again. He’s thanking the audience for coming. But he has one last game announcement. It’s a teaser trailer for what appears to be FarmVille 2.
12:08: Confirmed as FarmVille 2. They’re playing us out with some M83. That’s the show!