Zynga and GetJar Bring HTML5-based Mafia Wars To Open Web

By Azam Khan Comment

There has been a flurry of announcements from Zynga recently as it continues to steal the spotlight with its recent skyrocketing success CityVille. The social gaming giant has spread far beyond the walls of Facebook, and continues to launch titles on iOS, Android and now on the open web with HTML5. More after the jump.

Earlier this month, Zynga revealed its plans to port FarmVille and Mafia Wars on Android. Although Android users with Froyo 2.2 can already play these games through the smartphone’s browser, dedicated apps that can be downloaded through the market place should provide a more streamlined experience. FarmVille is currently available on iPad and a localized Japanese version, FarmVillage, is also set to launch on Mixi. It also has launched Zynga Poker on Android, its first launch on Google’s platform.

What about Mafia Wars? Zynga hasn’t forgotten about its third biggest title and has made the game’s latest release, Mafia Wars Atlantic City, available for users on many platforms, including iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, WebOS and Blackberry devices. Mafia Wars remains the 5th most popular game on Facebook with around 19 MMAUs and MDAUs. Mafia War’s success has also attracted outside attention as Zynga signed a deal with Dr. Dre to promote his latest album Detox within the game. The deal involves releasing Dre’s video of his latest single called Kush accompanied with limited edition in-game content. This deals not surprising after the fact Snoop Dogg and Zynga gathered near Las Vegas to blow up an armored car as part of the Mafia Wars Las Vegas promotion. Mafia Wars first left the realm of Facebook in April of 2009 last year as it became available for the iPhone, so it’s good to see it be universally available now in HTML5.

The game can be accessed by visiting http://m.mafiawars.com. It offers Facebook functionality right away to let users sign on using their social identity. Once you login, you see the original energy levels you had in the Facebook version, creating a cross-platform experience. The UI is a perfect for mobile browsers and users can do jobs and fight without lag. There are no Godfather points nor the ability to purchase them, which suggests that the open web will have trouble monetizing compared to existing app stores.

Notice that other flash intensive games by Zynga are not yet available on HTML5. Mafia Wars, primarily coded in PHP and AJAX, makes a nice port to the open web using HTML5 specifications as HTML5 has not yet reached the maturation point to develop intensive games for. Nonetheless this does signify the significant role that HTML5 will play moving forward as it will allow Zynga to publish games that can be accessible from any device without worrying about modifying games for diff. platforms. Zynga’s acquisition of Dextrose AG may also play a role in developing its future browser game technology which could very well coincide with the advent of HTML5.

Zynga’s strategy for aggressively expanding on mobile has been made clear from its acquisitions of companies like Newtoy, Unoh and Aves engine for mobile browser games. HTML5 may just be the standard Zynga goes for as the number of devices ranging from 7 inch connected devices to a plethora of smartphones and internet-TV’s hit the market in the coming years.