Zynga – the leading developer of Facebook Applications and the company with 230 million Monthly Active Users – announced a partnership with MSN Games that allows users to play Farmville on the site using Facebook Connect. Farmville, Zynga’s largest game with 75 million Montly Active Users, will be playable through the MSN Games area of the MSN network, and its use of Facebook Connect means that gamers will be able to interact with all 75 million other players no matter which site they log into. This is the first time that Farmville will be available anywhere other than Facebook and the FarmVille site itself.
Zynga also announced that additional Zynga games will be made available on MSN Games and Windows Live Messenger. Mike Verdu, a former EA GM, explained the release.
“Social gaming has gone mainstream,” said Mike Verdu, senior vice president of games at Zynga. “People love to connect with their friends through our games, which are broadly accessible and have universal themes. Bringing FarmVille to a major site like MSN Games is a great way to expand the reach of social games and is a logical next step in how we deliver them to consumers.”
The implications of this on Social Gaming are huge. If gamers are able to play Facebook games seamlessly from MSN Games, this could be the start of Facebook Applications spreading to other popular game destinations like Yahoo and more. Other game developers could also jump on board, like Playfish and Crowdstar, and the Facebook games that were once just a small diversion will begin to eat into the casual gaming market, which is massive as well.
Microsoft has been making moves to work with Facebook for a while, recently partnering with Facebook to enable Bing-search from within Facebook, and now this. This was expected after they invested $240 million into Facebook in 2007. Rumors about about the future partnerships and potentials between the two companies, and this type of integration follows suite. Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra, general manager for Windows Gaming stated “As hundreds of millions of customers continue to enjoy social gaming, we’re excited to partner with Zynga to add FarmVille to our broad portfolio of games on MSN Games”.
A question that remains unanswered here is what type of Live Messenger integration are we going to see? Does this mean that Messenger users will be able to play the game from within their Messenger chat windows? If so, this could lead to a more integrated experience for MSN Messenger users who access Facebook. It’s feasible that perhaps Microsoft intends to centralize Live IDs with Facebook IDs, which would be a very far-reaching identification, and could help them in their web battle against Google and Apple.